Actress China Anne McClain took to her Instagram this week to let her fans know that she was leaving her hit CW show Black Lightning early as news spread that the series is ending with its upcoming fourth season. The 22-year-old revealed that she made her decision before finding out the show was concluding its run.
“This was gonna be my last season, regardless of if it went on or not,” she said. “For different reasons that to be honest, I don’t want to go into. I just want y’all to trust me on it.”
She said she only agreed to appear in a few episodes in the fourth season, though she’s been a constant presence as Jennifer Pierce in every episode since the show started in 2018. She then got introspective and tearful talking about all that’s happened amidst the pandemic that has informed her decision.
“All this is an illusion. It’s an illusion. This industry for what it is and everything people look to and praise, it’s not important,” she said. “God is moving me in more than one way than just this show. It’s bigger than just this show. I’m doing God’s work now and I’m not doing anything else. I’m just gon’ put it plainly.”
“I’m not leaving because I had a terrible time working at the CW,” she added, naming off those who work for the network that she appreciates, as well as showrunner Salim Akil. “People that know me, they know why I make the decisions I make. They also know I never make a single one of them to hurt anyone or to affect anyone negatively. But I am doing God’s work now and that is all I’m doing. I don’t know why I was wasting time before.”
She is working on launching her own production company, and the actress and singer said she hopes to shine a light on positive, Godly things. And though she’s enjoyed Black Lightning, she said staying would be a hindrance in her walk.
“I have not played the game well when it comes to the standards of this industry. God is the only reason why I am where I am right now. He leads me where He wants me to go and I follow him. And at times I resist him, and those are the times I regret. Not now. Not right now,” she said.
“I’m not crying because I regret leaving. Really not. I would have regretted staying, because He’s moving me, and when He calls, I’m gon’ follow,” she added. “I don’t care where he leads me. I don’t care if it’s in the middle of Timbuktu somewhere living off a couple of pennies and a dime for the rest of my life with my family doing missionary work. I don’t care where it is. I would leave all of this behind, and I’ve just made it to this point in my life, now. I’ve just made it here during this quarantine. Everything I learned and everything he taught me, all the spiritual journeys he led me on, it brought me to this decision.”
McClain, who entered the industry with her older sisters Sierra and Lauryn, is not only leaving behind the show but also a few personal relationships as well. What’s next is still working in the entertainment business, but working on and making projects that will “teach y’all something or to show you new avenues that entertainment doesn’t show you” regarding faith and God.
“Movies are great. TV is great. Representation is important. But we need the spirit again in these projects. I don’t know where it’s gone. I can only pinpoint a few now, and the rest hurt me to watch,” she said.
“A lot of people be saying they want change, but I really, I’m ready for change. I’m ready for things to change and I want to help. I’m done teeny-boppin’ around here,” she added. “It’s not about me. I don’t even care about that anymore. I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of the good. And if I’m not currently really a part of it, not just kind of sitting in one place but helping push it forward, I don’t know what I’m doing here. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
After shedding tears, McClain assured everyone that she’s fine. In fact, she said she’s seeing clearer than ever.
“I’ve never felt more awake in my life. And when you’re wide awake, you’re more aware that things hurt you more. But you know, that’s okay. Because I’d rather be awake,” she said. “I’d rather live my life awake and understanding what the truth is, ’cause there’s only one. There’s only one truth. I’m going to live in it for the rest my life, however long I have. And nobody’s going to stop me at this point. I’ve made my decision.”
McClain didn’t share what her plans were in regards to her reprised role as Jazmine Payne on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, currently airing on BET. It sounds like she’s fine with sticking with that series.