Nafessa Williams

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Nafessa Williams
Nafessa Williams at ClexaCon in 2018
Williams in 2018
Alma materWest Chester University
Years active2011–present
Known forBlack Lightning

Nafessa Williams is an American actress. She is most known for her 2011 role as Nicole Gordon in the Meek Mill film Streets, her 2011 role as Deanna Forbes on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, and her 2016 role as Dr. Charlotte Piel on the CBS drama Code Black. From 2018 to 2021, she has played Anissa Pierce in The CW's Black Lightning. Williams portrayed Robyn Crawford in the 2022 Whitney Houston biopic Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Williams was raised in West Philadelphia. She attended Robert E. Lamberton High School. Williams studied criminal justice at West Chester University and interned in the homicide unit of the District Attorney's Office.[2]


In 2010, Williams was cast opposite Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill in Streets. The film was released in 2012.[2] In March 2011, it was announced that Williams would join the cast of ABC's One Life to Live in the contract role of Deanna.[3] When Williams auditioned, the character was only supposed to appear in three episodes. However by the time of her debut, Williams had signed a four-year contract.[2] Only a month into her stint, it was announced that ABC had decided to cancel the series.[4] Williams was released from her contract early and last appeared in July 2011.[5]

In March 2012, Williams announced that she would be appearing on the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.[6] Williams made her debut on May 8, 2012.[7] However, the role was short lived and Williams only appeared in two episodes. In 2015, Williams appeared in the Queen Latifah executive produced feature film, Brotherly Love, opposite Keke Palmer.[8] In April 2016, Williams was cast in the Showtime continuation of the 1990s ABC drama Twin Peaks.[9] In July 2016, Williams was cast in the recurring role of Charlotte on the CBS prime time drama, Code Black.[10] In 2017, Williams was cast as Anissa Pierce in the 2018 Mara Brock Akil/Greg Berlanti series Black Lightning.[11]

In May and June 2019, Williams, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, writer Tom King, and fellow CW series actresses Candice Patton and Danielle Panabaker toured five U.S. military bases in Kuwait with the United Service Organizations (USO), where they visited the approximately 12,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in that country as part of DC's 80th anniversary of Batman celebration.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 Streets Nicole Gordon
2013 Dumb Girls Female Co-Ed #1 TV movie
2014 The Dirty 30 Samantha Kimm
2015 Whitney Kim TV movie
Brotherly Love Simone
The Man in 3B Krystal
2016 Restored Me Monica Berry
Asterisk Angela Short
2017 Burning Sands Toya
True to the Game Sahirah
2019 Black and Blue Missy
2021 A Holiday Chance Noel Chance
2022 Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody Robyn Crawford


Year Title Role Notes
2011 One Life to Live Deanna Forbes Regular Cast
2012 The Bold and the Beautiful Margo Ivey Episode: "Episode #1.6316" & "#1.6323"
2014 Survivor's Remorse Adina Parker Episode: "Six"
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Eboni Episode: "Hart Medication"
2016 Code Black Dr. Charlotte Piel Recurring cast: season 2
2017 Twin Peaks Jade Recurring cast: season 3
Tales Jenny Episode: "F*ck the Police"
2018–21 Black Lightning Anissa Pierce/Thunder Main cast
TBA The Spook Who Sat by the Door TBA
TBA Rivals Cameron Cook In-production[13]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 NBA 2K17 Tiffany Rasberry (voice)


  1. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 4, 2021). "Nafessa Williams Joins Whitney Houston Biopic 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'". Deadline. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Gross, Dan (March 22, 2011). "Dan Gross: She's starting 'One Life' job". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Fairman, Michael (February 16, 2011). "Nafessa Williams joins cast of OLTL in new role of Deanna!". On-Air On-Soaps. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "Interview: Nafessa Williams On One Life To Live Cancellation". April 18, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "One Life To Live's Nafessa Williams Exits". August 18, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Bowe, Jillian (March 14, 2012). "One Life to Live Alum Nafessa Williams to Play a Model on The Bold and The Beautiful". Daytime Confidential. Confidential Media, Inc. (SAY Media). Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ex-One Life To Live's Nafessa Williams to the Bold and the Beautiful. (UPDATED.)". May 7, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Zumberge, Marianne (April 14, 2015). "Jamie Foxx, Diddy Show Support of 'Brotherly Love' Premiere". Variety. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 25, 2016). "'Twin Peaks': Here Is the Full Cast Of David Lynch's Showtime Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  10. ^ Ausiello, Michael (July 1, 2016). "Code Black Season 2: Heroes Vet Among 3 New Doctors Checking In". TVLine. TVLine Media, LLC. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 2, 2017). "'Black Lightning': Nafessa Williams & China Anne McClain To Star As Jefferson's Daughters in the CW Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Arrant, Chris (June 2, 2019). "JIM LEE, TOM KING, DC-CW Stars Make Surprise USO Trip To KUWAIT". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 3, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Victoria Smurfit and Aidan Turner star in adaptation of racy Jilly Cooper novel". March 21, 2023.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]