Luke Cage: Unapologetically Triggering, Black, Bold & Bulletproof
Millions went black this weekend and broke the internet on a #LukeCage binge that even Netflix servers weren’t ready for. It was confirmation that Black Twitter wasn’t the only ones thanking God for therapy and that Disney money. The Marvel street-level saga of Luke Cage is half Black-America history lesson, half superhero subscription. The Harlem hero for hire is just in time for the rest of the superhuman fall line up but this supe’d up Shaft is more than a Netflix blaxploitation on viagra. Cage is unleashing 50 shades of chocolate courage, the most female characters in any MCU series and a few skeletons from the revolving closet doors of minorities who dodged therapy like the plague.
****No Spoiler alert but maybe some trigger warnings.***
When I first met Luke Cage in 96 I was just a boy pondering his “blackness”. I dismissed the comic book and laughed at the terrible nickname “power man… he ain’t even got no powers, ha”. But 2 decades and several hundred black mattering murders later, the idea of being bulletproof is just the surface of my joy. 5 Minutes deep into the show and we’re already gifted with a Bustelo can turn swear jar.
The show explores how even powers don’t improve the black experience. These characters face issues of generational wealth/curses, are victims of environmental circumstances, rape, religion, infidelity, black masculinity, poverty pimping and anything else you could find in the casting tapes of “Iyanla: Fix My Life”.
In fact, aside from the occasional jive-turkey jargon and the negro-nod to BLM, the series is full of moments that make you wonder if Cage even needs powers or Rosario Dawson. But it does and so much more. Why?
Ex-con Carl Lucas aka Luke Cage is a walking metaphor from his “hole-y hoodie” to his healing factor. The series attempts transparency of how a police department handles minority areas and themselves. A positive portrayal people of color in lead and supporting roles. A good looking bald brother soul searching to be a better man even if it means sounding corny. Plus showing how repressed traumatic experiences really ain’t all that secret. But why be bulletproof?
Nothing scares a cop more than a Black man who is bulletproof — Det. Misty Knight
Well how many stories were cut short because they weren’t? So if you weren’t watching the news, Jessica Jones or Daredevil… at least watch Luke Cage take a swing at mixing fact and fiction. Only problem I have with it is that it’s too black in comparison to the rest of the marvel universe. So if you’re easily triggered by guilt trips, the complete ignorance of gentrification and black people wearing their dirt on their sleeve… don’t watch.
Maybe I’m falling in love with fact that each episode is named after a Gang Starr song. Or maybe it’s the name dropping of colleges, glossing of black greek organizations and diaspora heroes. Or it’s simply seeing characters who are black and unafraid. Whether that means standing up to real threats or fictional ones, there’s still vulnerability to overcome for the hero in a hoodie. I’m encouraged that I have the superpower to endure even if I don’t have the will to fight.
Because like Method Man said in his cameo “being bulletproof only comes 2nd to being black”.
So watch and keep the love for our heroes bulletproof until the Black Panther comes in theaters. And promise me you won’t wear a holey hoodie for Halloween, because we all are already Luke Cage without it!