This weekend I binge watched Netflix new series Luke Cage, if you haven’t seen it don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you, this isn’t that type of party. On the surface Luke Cage is the story of a wrongfully accused man looking for redemption. My friends it’s so much more than that. Shit, there is a reason I call this show the blackest show to ever be on television, the reason? Because in thirteen sometimes uneven episodes Luke Cage’s creator, Cheo Hordari Coker, has crafted an epic journey of the black experience from all angles the good, the bad some misunderstood, the rest just fucking Evil. The main players, obviously my main Luke Cage (Mike Colter), a quiet man whose rage bubbles just beneath the surface. You also have Misty Knight (Simone Missick), a cocky police detective, who’s edge for staying alive is to always be in control. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Strokes (Mahershala Ali), the cool, smart and ruthless kingpin of Harlem; a gunrunner with the soul of the Harlem Renaissance running through his veins. Don’t get it twisted, Cornell is gangster through and through, (you can check the trailers for proof). Next up we have Mariah “Black Mariah” Strokes (Alfre Woodard), Cornell city councilwoman cousin. She’s gangster too but she got her power in another arena, through the political machine. The most gangster mutherfuckas you ever want to meet, have you ever tried to get a stop sign on your corner? Shit! The things they put you through just to stop a bunch kids from being killed crossing the street. Over the next thirteen the four main players in this drama mix it up with surprising results for the viewers.
I have to give Marvel credit this time. Of all the television shows and movies they have come up with, this is the most fully realized world. This show is filled with people and places I know and I love that, (let’s keep it real the Captain America of the movies keeps saying he’s from Brooklyn I’ve met old school Brooklyn cats from Brooklyn they didn’t act like Steve Rogers). In the first twenty minutes we are introduced to the neighborhood Barber shop where some of the realist conversation can be heard, the nightclub where the music is jumping but the danger always lurks in the VIP section I know these places, I’ve been in these places, can you say The Tunnel anyone?
When the show starts every one of the of the main characters, with the exception of Luke, claims to represent what Harlem needs. Maybe in their own self way they do, the problem is they forgot to ask its residents what they wanted. In the end, the people wanted a hero not a ruler. Do you know Webster’s defines a hero as: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities, No one person represents that quality more than Luke Cage, (not even Misty Knight), despite every time he helps a person in trouble it brings him closer to his painful past. Luke does it anyway because he’s a true hero. It just takes some convincing. Of course thanks to Netflix we don’t have to wait as long as Luke to see it happen.
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