HARLEM — The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem got quite the surprise this afternoon when they received a visit from the stars of the CW hit show “Black Lightning.”
Cress Williams, who plays the superhero title character and Marvin Jones III, who plays villain Tobias Whale were in town to launch a special partnership between the show, the CW Network and the Boys and Girls Club of America.
They’re implementing a Local Heroes program which will support BGCA’s Youth Development Professionals, who play the role of everyday superheroes for the millions of kids and teens they serve.
“The message of our show is community, affecting our community, taking on the responsibility of trying to affect change, positively affect the community,” said Williams. “So it just seemed like a natural fit .”
“Harlem, a community being much like the fictitious community on our show, Freeland, where you have a lot of diversity as well as social and economic issues that come up all the time,” adds Jones.
The duo spent time with about 50 children. They signed books, spoke to them one-on-one and even shot hoops.
“I never thought id be able to meet an actual superhero so that was cool,” said 8-year-old Autumn Highsmith. “It was a really good experience for us and I’m happy they took the time to put this together.”
“When we came from school, I didn’t know this was all here,” said 7-year-old Ajani Furlonge. “It was cool, I really liked it, it was really fun to have him sign his name on our comic book.”
“First, just his presence here is a way of reaching out, kids definitely want to see folks that look like them on the screen particularly those that represent positive attributes,” said Dominique Jones, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. “The second thing is that they’re actually going to see and engage with them and ask questions and that’s always important. I want them to know that they’re special and I want them to know that this visit today is about how special they are.”
The visit today also special becomes it comes during Black History Month.
“They can see on television these art-like characters that come from where they come from and represent them and to see them in person just solidifies that even more,” said WIlliams. “Hopefully, it encourages them to push through any obstacles to make their dreams come true.”
“Black Lightning” has just been renewed for a third season and you can catch it here on Monday nights before our 10pm newscast.