Now, this article is going to upset a lot of people, perhaps for the good, perhaps not.
Luke Cage is the third installment in the Netflix entries to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It takes place after Jessica Jones and the second season of Daredevil (If you haven’t checked these out, I suggest you change that.)
Now, firstly? I would like to point out how well the Marvel cinematic Netflix Universe is doing compared to its movie counterparts so far.
The movies while set in the same continuity seem to follow the classic entertainment formula of these heroic white guys and their black friends.
Now, are we saying white people are a bad thing to have in movies? No, are we saying that it is not good to keep black people, women, and *laughs* androids to token roles to a mostly white guy cast? Yes.
But Luke Cage turns this white-based entertainment paradigm on its head, it takes you into an area of NYC that isn’t glorious full of rich, white party-goers, and it doesn’t send you flying over the skies to ignore the problems of the city in favor of a plot that is bigger than you and me which results in something that could have been avoided if Tony Stark had never built the DANG ANDROID IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
Sorry, lost focus there! ^^;
Marvel’s Luke Cage is black, there are no two ways about it. It has the barber shop, the struggle, the music, the art, even the city of Harlem where black culture made a name for itself in American history.
Now, Luke Cage explores many issues and is literally built in symbolism upon symbolism.
Luke Cage by all means is A well-educated black male with a troubled history of depth that you probably will not guess at the first throw of the dice.
He is not “hood” he speaks clearly, calmly, precise as a scalpel, and has an aversion to curse words, guns, and the word “nigga”.
Luke outward is what America would perceive black people as. Tall, imposing, menacing, angry.
Luke Inward is well-spoken, well-meaning, and intelligent, how it does not perceive black people.
Luke having just gotten over the Killgrave incident retreats back to Harlem to avoid police attention. For reasons we do not fully understand yet, Luke works menial jobs and is satisfied with just laying low with A half-decent apartment and dead-end jobs.
Now, why would a man with bulletproof skin be afraid of the police and want dead end jobs?
The Villain(s)(?)(Who may or may not have something to do with Luke’s past probably. . . . .)
Cornell Stokes aka Cottonmouth.
Classy gangSTAR who runs the seedy underbelly of Harlem.
Cornell is a complicated man who takes enjoyment from the finer things in life, a criminal in every sense of the word. Brash, arrogant, crude, disrespectful, smug, and REeeeeeally gonna need you to pay attention to this last one : Black.
Some people would ask: “Well, why does it matter that he’s black?” To the truly progressive mind, it wouldn’t. But this show has shown me that even I am not “truly progressive.”
People in America have a tendency to judge minorities when they become analogized with a crime, or god forbid involved.
Those traits I mentioned earlier? Look bad on most people, on black people they are perceived as demonic. Luke Cage does not hide these traits, or paint a 2-dimensional picture with them on any of its characters.
Rather, it takes these vices and takes the time to show you that there is more to the man. A gangster who may be a ruthless killer, but he has a music box in his soul. A man who upholds ethics of the honor among thieves and even at his worst? You somehow cannot bring yourself to hate this guy, much like Wilson Fisk and admittedly *giggles* “Kevin”. XD
I was astounded by how little I managed to dislike Cornell. He acted like the punk-kids(niggas) I dealt with in High school at times. He acted like what people on social media thought Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin were before they were killed(punks, thugs, hoods).
Yet, I shouldn’t be surprised, should I ? I wasn’t just shown an idea of a villain that did some shit like a movie that should kill itself. But, I was shown a man with depths and goals whose hands did wicked deeds, but had a heart holding a different dream.
I cannot go into more about the characters, spoilers are heavy. But I can tell you about the impact of this show.
As a black male who grew up in a white neighborhood surrounded by white culture, white shops and white people? This show had an unsettling effect on me.
I did not force myself to watch it, but as I was watching it, I felt my mind craving something. I wanted to see Matt Murdoch and Wilson Fisk again. I felt like Luke needed to take a back seat to my eyes, and yet I kept watching. I was fully aware of the feeling, and while it caused no discomfort in me, I must admit that it is unsettling. How even now, watching A show that represents black people of all types, people like me and not like me at the same time?
I felt like I wanted to see something I was used to seeing. Something whiter, something of fairer skin. I think the show’s creators knew this would happen too. We don’t get many shows like Luke Cage, and we probably won’t get more for awhile. But, I think it’s clear to say we need to. it’s a bitter pill to swallow, to not want to see people like me and simultaneously want to see them at the same time. Compelled by an admittedly simultaneous aversion and loyalty to black culture, I fought down the urge to take a break from Cage, but then I stopped fighting and realized. . . I didn’t need to. The show had its hooks in me, and I loved it for what it was, culture and all. It was beautiful, but why was there even a fight or at the very least a struggle in my mind to begin with?
Luke Cage has shown me as a young black male why they approach the movie formula of white guys and their black friends. It’s tradition, and people don’t want to break from it, people love what they see as normalcy. They will rationalize it, call different things wrong, resist the break from normalcy, dehumanize the break from normalcy, and white dominated media isn’t just objectively prettier, it’s just normalcy. I believe the break away is long overdue and necessary as history has shown us that tradition does not always lead to the glamorous skies it promised.
I don’t for a second believe that white people are objectively prettier, but we are shown white faces many more times over than we are shown black faces, and as much as nobody would like to admit it? Our media consumption bleeds into our minds, how we approach things, how we deal with them, how we see things and appreciate them.
People who read will fancy intelligent conversation and sapient lovers.
People who like daytime television will usually go for something simpler.
People who like Dragon Ball Z will believe in their heart of hearts that people can become Super Saiyans. (I am once Guilty of this.)
People who like Naruto or Kung-Fu movies will go to a Karate class thinking they will learn to fight like Jet-Li or Jason Bourne.
Needless to say, this affects the world around us and how we deal with people.
People who feel insulted by a white personality may feel the need to say some things to him.
People who feel insulted by a white female personality may feel the need to have curses involving her womanhood.
Nobody is bad for being white, but they are not better either. There has been a proliferated white default in this country, and it is long time that this default be gone.
There are many other communities besides white, and time and time again they have been overshadowed and overlooked because of tradition and my at first aversion to the show’s style has shown me this needs to stop.
Luke Cage was tradition breaking in media personified, and I want more.