by T. Mack
OMG, you guys! You guys… O.M.G! Luke Cage is SO GOOD!!! But…
Before I tell you the “but,” let me do a quick summary:
Luke Cage is an honorable man with incredible gifts that he could use to do a lot of good, but that would bring a lot of attention. The problem is that Luke is also a man with a mysterious past that necessitates he remain unnoticed. So when he has the opportunity to step up and be a hero, he’s reluctant to do so. Then the growing violence in Harlem hits too close to home and Luke can no longer simply stand by and watch. Suddenly, he finds himself going to war with gangsters while the city around them tries to figure out who’s the hero and who’s the villain.
That’s the simple breakdown. Other pertinent information to know is that the show is part of the Marvel/Netflix team-up. It’s a direct spin-off of Jessica Jones and fully connects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As with all Netflix series, the show is well-made and filled with superb acting from the entire cast. Because of my massive woman-crush, I especially enjoyed any and all time that Rosario Dawson graced the screen. And I’m happy to report that her screen time was more extensive in this series than it has been in the previous Marvel Netflix shows.
The show has an intriguing plot, engaging characters portrayed by a stellar cast, and does a wonderful job of continuing the Marvel/Netflix standard of excellence.
Here’s where the “but” comes in…
If you are not a black person in America or someone who is connected with the current state of being a black person in America, you might find it a little difficult to connect with this show. Luke Cage is a black man. He lives in a community that is largely dominated by black people and other minorities. The hardships he and those around him face have a lot to do with the fact that they’re black. And the show is unapologetic about it! It celebrates the music, language, history, and culture of black America while also highlighting many of the hardships. It shines a light on some darker realities of our culture while also showing the desire of so many to wipe out that darkness. A lot of the show is about being black. And that means it won’t be for everyone.
As a black woman living in America, my reality is that I’m afraid my husband will get pulled over for a routine traffic stop and be shot in the street. I’m uncertain how to explain to my son to trust police and have a very healthy distrust of them at the same time. This show spoke to me. It spoke to my culture, my history, my current fears and concerns, as well as my struggles.
For example, there is a subtle debate within the show on the use of the word n****r, which I can relate to. I don’t use “the n-word.” It has a traditionally negative connotation in regards to my people. However, my favorite uncle has always used it as a term of endearment for me and almost everyone else in the family. And even for me, there have been times when it was simply the right word to use in a moment. So while I don’t use it and can’t remember the last time I did, I know I definitely have. And that is a small but significant thing about this show that touched me personally. There are a hundred or more little things like that throughout Luke Cage that will make it so rich for some and completely un-relatable for others.
There are those who are currently on the internet screaming that the show is racist because the white people they are used to seeing front and center are not featured. Those people are wrong. The show isn’t racist. It just isn’t about them (the way almost everything else out of Hollywood is) and they’re not sure how to handle that. But just as I enjoy movies and TV that have not a drop of brown anywhere in the cast, other people can enjoy this show. Not everyone will, but everyone can. Because it’s a really good show.
I can’t tell you whether or not you can relate to the world of Luke Cage or whether you will enjoy the experience of watching it. However, I do feel confident saying that it is an extremely high quality series. And I highly recommend you at least give it a try, no matter what skin color you happen to have.
Rating: 5 SHIELDS
Have you watched Luke Cage? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.