This year, we’re celebrating an extended Black History Month by highlighting a variety of rising forces who are creating history before our very eyes. As The Daily Show's first black female correspondent, Jessica Williams not only brings smart comedy to the Comedy Central staple, but does it with a fresh and necessary viewpoint.
Some of her most famous sketches (like tackling the racism of stop-and-frisk in "Frisky Business," or calling out all the anti-feminism in this year's election via "Breaking Down the Vagina Vote") bring a point of view that is importantly black, young and female. The 26-year-old brings that mindset with universal humor and delivery, along with an unshakable commitment to her roles and viewpoints.
But perhaps most importantly, Williams understands her role in the comedic world and how she specifically can present injustice and new perspectives. She talked about this in a 2014 interview:
"There's truth in comedy, and that resonates with people of all races. You don't have to be African American to really enjoy 'Frisky Business.' But as far as being black, a lot of people in New York have been stopped and frisked, so that hits home for them. A lot of this stuff just pisses me off and makes me so mad that there's something behind the eyes—the delivery is a bit more biting, and I think people can tell."
Williams is still a correspondent for the Daily Show, now led by fellow Future Black History Honoree Trevor Noah, but the L.A. native has expressed interest in more acting work and writing a book. Daily Show alum Samantha Bee now hosts Full Frontal on TBS, who's to say there isn't another spot for Williams to be the first to fill?