Meet Javicia Leslie, TV’s First Black Batwoman

By Kayti Burt

Batwoman Season 2 just premiered, with a new star donning the cape.

Javicia Leslie plays Ryan Wilder, the person who finds the Batsuit in the wreckage of Kate Kane’s plane in the Batwoman Season 2 premiere.

If you’ve been following the CWverse news, then you know the Black, bisexual actress is assuming the title role in the superhero series following Ruby Rose’s post-Season 1 exit.

Who is Javicia Leslie?

Leslie is a 33-year-old American actress from Maryland.

You may recognize Leslie from her role as Ali Finer in two seasons of CBS dramedy God Friended Me.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the Season 2 premiere about her past interest in comic books, Leslie said...

I grew up watching movies based off of comic books. My brother was a huge comic book collector, so I played and dabbled in his comic books, but for me it really was the screen adaptations.

And so when you're talking about anything bat-related—Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Robin, all of them—I'm a huge fan.


What did it feel like to put on the Batsuit?

When I first put the suit on and I saw that bat across my chest, it felt surreal ... It's like your childhood dreams come true, so it doesn't feel real. 

It almost feels like make-believe until you actually start playing, and then you realize this is, this is your reality, and this will be your reality for a while.”


Representing as a queer, Black superhero.

In GLAAD’s recent “Where We Are on TV” report, the organization listed Batwoman as the only broadcast TV show currently airing to feature a queer lead.

When asked what it feels like to be a Black, queer role model for so many, Leslie said...

It's an honor.  It's frustrating that this is the first. You know, it really shows, man, we have so much work to do … I think that representation is so important.

When I was growing up, I didn't see versions of myself on the screen, especially in superhero movies and television shows … 

So, yeah, it's an honor. I'm really blessed to be a part in the beginning of this journey for us.