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‘The Breaks’ Star Afton Williamson Is Playing The Most “Unreasonable” Woman On TV & That’s Why We Love Her

From the moment we meet Nikki Jones in Seith Mann’s ’90s era music drama The Breaks, she breaking down doors and putting men in their places.

Portrayed by breakout star Afton Williamson, Nikki is unreasonable from the jump, and that’s why we love her. During a time when hip-hop was being suppressed in the mainstream, Nikki spits in the face of misogyny and tradition, borrowing head first onto the New York City music scene determined to make a name for herself.

Williamson’s personal story isn’t all that different. Arriving in NYC in 2008, with only her degree and an air mattress in hand, the Toledo-born actress told The Wrap, “I had gone straight through school, no breaks, and ended up here … I did it my way, and have been pretty successful. I really know what it means to pave the hard ground in New York, and if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. I had no clue that that was the tagline from the posters until they came out.”

Still, Nikki is more than just persistent; she’s a force to be reckoned with, and one of the main reasons why The Breaks has become a must-watch series. It is not often that we see a young Black woman who is driven to succeed without regard for likeability. Aja Naomi King’s Michaela Pratt on How To Get Away With Murder may be the single comparison on present-day set television. Though the characters on The Breaks are fictional, inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ book, The Big Payback, Williamson has stated that she’s inspired most by the women on the series. In a recent interview with Complex she said, “We’re all in the industry. I feel like these women would have been the women that would have started all of this.”

What stands out most about Nikki is that fact that she’s vulnerable without having to give away any parts of herself. Her drive is embedded in hip-hop, and anything else she might reveal to you is a bonus. Before landing her role on The Breaks, Williamson had recurring roles on The Night Of, Nashville, Banshee, and A Gifted Man, but with The Breaks, it’s obvious that she’s found her stride.

The Breaks airs on VH1 on Mondays at 10 PM ET.