Happy Black Lightning day, friends! After a winter hiatus, the CW drama returns tonight on a new night at 9 p.m. ET. One of my favorite things about this show is its commitment to diversity of all kinds. Not only does Black Lightning center around a family of Black superheroes, but it features the first Black lesbian superhero on television, AND her Asian bisexual sometimes girlfriend, Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy). What a sentence, right? We are truly blessed.
The last time we were here, Jen (China Anne McClain) and Khalil (Jordan Calloway) were back on the run after besting Cutter (Kearran Giovanni), and saw a mysterious new character on his way to Freeland. One of the most intriguing mysteries so far though, has been Grace’s seeming manifestion of powers. We’ve seen her develop cheetah-esque skin spots that appear during times of stress or high emotion, but so far she’s kept this to herself rather than telling her girlfriend, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) who also happens to have powers.
And speaking of blessed, Thuy was kind enough to share her time with The TV Junkies and answer some questions about her character (like what’s with those spots?!) and what else she’s been working on.
The TV Junkies: In the Black Lightning comics, Grace Choi is a fierce part-Amazonian with meta human powers who ends up joining The Outsiders. How much did you know about Grace and the comics before accepting the role? Did you do any research?
Chantal Thuy: I did research on Grace when I first auditioned for the role. I was very excited about the potential this part offered and Grace’s incredible backstory and her relationship with Anissa, so I was thrilled to get to play her.
TTVJ: Fans have been incredibly excited to see a queer relationship on television that involves two women of color. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the importance of that positive LGBTQ representation for you.
CT: It’s important to me that television and film start reflecting the world we live in, and so a queer relationship with two WOC is extremely valuable. It’s important to me that everyone feels valued, seen and represented.
TTVJ: The last time we saw Grace, she was acting quite strangely (glowing eyes, cheetah spotting skin) and hiding this development from Anissa. What do you think about the fact that she hasn’t shared this with her girlfriend? Would you like to see them have a “Hey, we both have powers!” conversation?
CT: Oh yes, communication is key to relationship health. But we are human beings — we all have our flaws and we’re all just doing our best to work through our fears, so there’s definitely a journey there for Anissa and Grace to get on the same page and be in perfect sync, but I think that’s part of the fun!
TTVJ: Speaking of Anissa, you and Nafessa have incredible on-screen chemistry! What’s it been like working with her as half of #ThunderGrace?
CT: Nafessa is a joy, she’s fun and she’s easy to spark chemistry with because she’s open, available and so talented. I am a proud co-captain.
TTVJ: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask if there were any teasers you can give us about what Grace will be up to during the second half of this season of Black Lightning?
CT: You’re going to find out so soon! Let’s just get the pizza ready!!
TTVJ: You’ve spoken on social media about your passion for social activism, what causes are particularly near and dear to your heart?
CT: Representation in the media for LGBTQ, Asian American and women are particularly important to me. I am just trying to be as informed and compassionate as I can be in order to lend my voice or time to issues that I can speak on or help change.
TTVJ: Aside from Black Lightning, what other projects are you working on right now?
CT: I am currently doing a play called ‘Linda Vista’, written by Tracy Letts, with all the original Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble cast members, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. It’s an edgy, comedic play that opens on January 16. Come join us! TTVJ: Since you’re Canadian, and we love Canadian television at The TV Junkies, are there any current Canadian TV shows you love or would like to guest on?
CT: Kim’s Convenience if the Koreans would have a Viet sister come visit them! I am so proud to have an Asian Canadian based TV show do so well in Canada. And Killing Eve is not Canadian but there’s the Canadian Sandra Oh, so I just have to mention that in there too.
Excited about the return of Black Lightning? Sound off below!
Black Lightning airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW and is available Tuesdays on Netflix in Canada.
Nic is a Digital Product Manager who lives in Queens, NY. She spends way too much time thinking about queer fictional characters, Tessa Thompson, and Janelle Monae. When she's not busy consuming every form of fiction, you can find her cosplaying as Valkyrie. You can find Nic on Twitter and Instagram.