by G. Brown
Superman has his Lex Luthor, “Black Panther” has his Killmonger and
“The Avengers” will square off against Thanos. Every hero is only as good as the villain he has to take down.
The CW’s latest addition to its DC lineup of weekly warriors is “Black Ligthtning”. Cress Williams in the title role has won over both critics and viewers in the show’s freshman season. Metacritic.com reviews calls the show “positive…victorious…and badass“(Collider). The Boston Herald noted,” “Black Lightning” lights its own path–by being a story about the debt we owe to our community and the importance of inspiration.” And the Daily Beast commented, “The series juggles police brutality, systemic racism, black youth culture, gang violence, and black parenting with aplomb…”
With accolades like that, it’s little wonder “Black Lightning” was renewed midway through its first season. The show revolves around school principal Jefferson Pierce(Williams) defends his fictional hometown of Freeland from the notorious 100 gang. While the heroes played by Williams, Nafessa Williams (Anissa “Thunder” Pierce) and China Anne McClain (Jennifer “Lightning” Pierce) deliver electrifying performances, they’re almost eclipsed by the villain of the story.
The black-hearted Tobias Whale is deviously and deliciously played by actor Marvin “Krondon” Jones III. Tobias is everything a super-villain should be–corrupt, power hungry, heartless and relentless. While his alter ego is the man you just can’t help but hate, the actor who plays him is the complete antithesis.
The former rapper is as gentle in person as his onscreen persona is diabolical. In a recent interview with radio show “Sway in the Morning” Jones humbly refused to take credit when the host applauded him for “killing it” in the role of Tobias. Jones says for the biggest role he’s ever landed on film, all the credit goes to a higher power. He says he never could have imagined the journey God had in store for him. The actor/rapper says, “God has things that are planned for us that we know not at the time but in truth he is preparing us for them“.
One of the ways Jones says God prepared him was in his childhood. Growing up in South Central L.A. as an Albino, the rapper turned actor admits he had to face a lot of adversity. But the very thing that he was taunted and teased about growing up is the very thing that God used to help him land the role of Tobias who is a super-powered Albino.
Jones is aware of the exposure his new role is giving him and he seems determined to use his celebrity for good. Jones encourages young people seeking success in their chosen fields to have role models and “mentors”. He’s found inspiration from artists like Mos Def, Common and Mahershala Ali–the latter of whom has become a trusted friend. Another one of his mentors who Jones says he recently had the chance to meet was “Wrinkle in Time” and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. Jones says he “loves what she [DuVernay] is doing and who she is and what she represents in the world right now”.
Even though his life’s journey has him on a path to acting, Jones still has deep love for his origins in hip hop and rap. He says rap has evolved from its earlier roots of “braggadocio” to people like Childish Gambino(Donald Glover and who aren’t weighed down by self imposed glass ceilings,but believe they can accomplish what they make up their minds to accomplish.
You can catch Jones’ full interview below. “Black Lightning” wraps up season 1 Tuesday with its finale on the CW.