No, Jessica James Isn’t Anyone’s Sidekick, Thank You Very Much


With her new film making its Netflix debut on July 28, actor Jessica Williams has been doing promotional interviews. And in a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, she explained how her character in The Incredible Jessica James is a departure from the roles usually offered to women of color in Hollywood. Pridefully speaking of the leading gig, Williams details the importance of this part, and it sounds exactly like what the movie industry needs to help improve its ongoing issues regarding diversity and intersectionality. In the movie, she's the star of her narrative — not a supporting role in someone else's.

Williams, who's known for her time as a senior correspondent for The Daily Show, described her Jessica James character to THR as a "honest, funny, forthright complicated, and dynamic women." The 27-year-old comedian elaborated on the beauty of her leading part, saying,

"Oftentimes as women and women of color, we are put as supporting characters in other people's narratives. So in Jessica James, it's really exciting because she is the star of her own narrative."

Williams' point touches on an issue that has long been the topic of discussions within the film industry. Women, and particularly women of color, are constantly overlooked for leading roles that depict strong figures, and Jessica James proves to challenge that underrepresentation.

The undeniably feminist dramedy, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, offers a fresh take on the modern world of romance and heartbreak. The lead character, 20-something Brooklyn playwright Jessica James, is undoubtedly a spot-on representation of the many remarkably strong and talented women in the world.

On the surface, both Williams and her outstanding character feel incredibly relatable, a quality that lends to the movie's outstanding feeling of authenticity. It seems to only make sense that Hollywood would seek to offer more roles to actors that feel credible and identifiable to women. Hopefully The Incredible Jessica James will have a ripple effect in helping improve diversity and intersectional feminism in Hollywood.