Richmond native’s superhero series set to debut on The CW

Richmond native’s superhero series set to debut on The CW
Cress Williams as Black Lightning -- Photo: Guy D'Alema/The CW

The East Bay Times is one of many publications across the nation to cover Salim Akil’s new superhero drama series “Black Lightning” airing on The CW.

But the local newspaper had the local angle: Akil was raised in Richmond, and “originally wanted to call the city in [Black Lightning] Richmond,” the EBT reported. Read the full EBT report here.

Instead, the city in the show is called Freeland, which is “a constant reminder when I’m writing that this is a story about me and about the people that I know. And I want to show them respect,” Akil told EBT.

The show debuts on Jan. 16. In a review of the series, the New York Times said Black Lightening “takes on issues of race and social justice directly and unambiguously.”

“The confrontation between Pierce and the police officer is not just a metaphor for the experience of black people in contemporary America; it is drawn from the real life of Salim Akil, the show runner and an executive producer of ‘Black Lightning,” the Times wrote.

In previous works, Akil directed the film “Jumping the Broom,” co-wrote the film Drylongso, and was a writer, director and producer of TV shows including “Girlfriends,” “The Game” and “Being Mary Jane,” which were created by his wife, Mara Brock Akil. He got his start as a staff writer for Showtime’s “Soulfood,” of which he quickly became Executive Producer, according to his IMDb biography.