Last week on Black Lightning, the Pierce family was dealt some major blows. Jefferson's (Cress Williams) legal woes having been set up on bogus embezzlement charges by Tobias Whale (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) resulted in Lynn (Christine Adams) being locked out of her lab and her research taken. Then, Jen/Lightning (Laura Kariuki) is nearly captured in a setup by police chief Lopez (Melissa De Sousa). And, on top of that, the metahumans soon lose their abilities mysteriously. It's a lot, but perhaps the most difficult and unsettling moment of the episode was when Lynn was arrested and jailed on a violating civil rights charge. The scene showed Lynn subjected to a strip search and a body cavity search as part of her jail intake that can only be described as degrading and it's a difficult scene to watch. Now, Adams is speaking out about that shocking scene.
The scene, which takes place near the end of the episode, has been divisive among fans. Some praised the Black Lightning for going there with its realism and not shying away from the brutal moment while others felt it was a step too far, calling it triggering and exploitative. Adams explained to TVLine that she herself hasn't yet watched the episode due to not being ready and that she understands the response.
"Full disclosure, I haven't watched Episode 9 because I'm not ready," Adams said. "I will, but I'm not ready because I shot it and it was hard to shoot. To pull that scene off, I had to be naked in every sense. But I've read all the comments and I know a lot of people were really triggered by it and I understand that, especially now."
Adams continued, "Every day America, particularly these last two weeks, have forced us to find a whole new set of words to explain the insanity of systemic racism. And the phrase 'Black trauma porn' has emerged a lot. It's bubbled up because Black people are so tired of seeing themselves being beaten, denigrated, and assaulted, and so I actually understand why people were triggered by it."
Adams also explained that while she understands why people were triggered, Black Lightning has been taking on the difficult stories and issues from the very first episode of The CW series and it is important that the series not back down now.
"It would be wrong for us at this juncture, even though everything in the outside world is absolutely crazy, to suddenly censor what we do because that's not what we've done," Adams said. "We have stayed true and honest, and there's a reason that scene was so graphic and hard to watch and raw and we all agreed that it needed to be that way."0comments
She continued, "I think it was necessary. We don't have to look for storylines at all because these kinds of things happen and they keep happening. To have a show with a Black family and not explore that would be a disservice."
Black Lightning airs Mondays at 9/8c on The CW.