Cress Williams stars as Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning in The CW’s highly anticipated new drama Black Lightning. As the father of Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain), and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe-haven for young people in a neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero in his community, and a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning, but he left the Superhero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought.
Williams was born in Heidelberg, Germany and shortly after his birth, moved to Chicago. He then relocated with his mother to California at the age of 3 and spent most of his childhood in Orange County. He attended Fullerton Community College where he received his theater and acting foundation and later completed his theater degree at UCLA. While attending college, Williams performed in over 20 plays such as Othello, The Elephant Man, Extremities and Red Noses, to name a few. His film and television career began toward the end of his college years.
Audiences may recognize Williams from his recurring role during the final season of the critically acclaimed series Friday Night Lights and his starring role as Mayor Lavon Hayes on Hart of Dixie. Additional television credits include Cold Case, Prison Break, Close to Home, The West Wing, Veronica Mars, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, E.R., NYPD Blue, Grey’s Anatomy and Living Single. Notable film credits include 2 Days in the Valley and Never Been Kissed, starring Drew Barrymore.