Saturday, October 1, 2016

A bullet-proof BLACK superhero in a hoodie! Why we need #MikeColter's #LukeCage! [details]



In light of today's HEIGHTEND racial tensions and police brutality and unarmed BLACK men being GUNNED down in the streets by police, we need CHANGE now.

We need a BLACK, bulletproof superhero like Mike Colter's 'Luke Cage'! 

Every day I look in the paper – always someone getting gunned down, unarmed,” says Mike Colter. “It’s too close to home for me because it doesn’t seem as though it’s getting any better … As much as we like to think we are helping, I don’t know how much our series can really change the narrative of America.”



The 40-year-old actor is discussing the significance of playing an African-American man with bulletproof skin in the age of Black Lives Matter. It was Luke Cage’s showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker, who first hinted at the heavy symbolism in the latest Netflix show about “street-level” superheroes, when he announced at Comic-Con that “the world is ready for a bulletproof black man”. It’s no coincidence that Marvel’s latest TV superhero wears a plain old hoodie, just as Trayvon Martin did, rather than a colourful cape, nor that the show is set in Harlem, often considered the heartland of black America.

In 1972, Cage became Marvel’s first black superhero to get his own comic-book. Back then he was classic Blaxploitation – all open-chested yellow jacket, chain belt and steel tiara (its purpose never explained). Now he’s the first African-American superhero with his own show, after appearing as the paramour of Jessica Jones in last year’s hit Netflix series of the same name.

And the 2016 Luke Cage may just be the most subversive TV superhero yet. He’s a warm-hearted symbol of black power, a public rebuke to those who judge by skin colour. When we first meet him, Cage is struggling to pay the rent in menial jobs at his local barbershop and a nightclub, living hand-to-mouth in gentrifying Harlem. But the death of an innocent loved one, the avuncular barbershop owner Pops, sees him find his inner hero. Soon, he becomes the scourge of the district’s dealers, thugs and crooked politicians.

Colter, whose big break came in 2004 as the boxer “Big” Willie Little alongside Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, says he was initially suspicious of the role. Having won praise for humanising Chicago drug lord Lemond Bishop in The Good Wife, he was concerned the character was no more than a stereotype. “I understood from the history of Luke Cage that he was going to talk jive and be something more cliched. But when I saw in Jessica Jones how he was soft-spoken, thoughtful, vulnerable emotionally, that was something I could identify with.”

It’s not until several episodes in that we see how Cage picked up his powers (he has super-strength and super-endurance as well as unbreakable skin). But the show’s strength lies in that slow-burn intrigue, as well as its soulful vision of African-American culture. Every time the camera visits villain Cottonmouth’s slick nightclub, Paradise, there’s another legend on stage, from Charles Bradley and Faith Evans to Raphael Saadiq. [source]


Similar to other revised Marvel adapted television shows, “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” Coker ― who is known for his work on “Notorious,” “Ray Donovan,” and “Southland”― said it was imperative for him to take a modern-day approach to the story by incorporating current social themes, while maintaining entertaining elements from the original comic.

”We were able to do a hip-hop, Blaxploitation lesson in ‘Luke Cage’ that has social themes, but never stops being fun,” Coker said during an interview with The Huffington Post. “I think what’s gonna surprise people is the levity. Because of what’s happening and the bullet-proof blackness of it all, they’re gonna expect the politics… but at the same time it’s as much of a celebration as it is polemic.”

Perhaps one of the most noticeable social references in the show is Cage’s bullet-proof black hoodie, a nod to the fatal 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Similar to other revised Marvel adapted television shows, “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” Coker ― who is known for his work on “Notorious,” “Ray Donovan,” and “Southland”― said it was imperative for him to take a modern-day approach to the story by incorporating current social themes, while maintaining entertaining elements from the original comic.

”We were able to do a hip-hop, Blaxploitation lesson in ‘Luke Cage’ that has social themes, but never stops being fun,” Coker said during an interview with The Huffington Post. “I think what’s gonna surprise people is the levity. Because of what’s happening and the bullet-proof blackness of it all, they’re gonna expect the politics… but at the same time it’s as much of a celebration as it is polemic.”

Perhaps one of the most noticeable social references in the show is Cage’s bullet-proof black hoodie, a nod to the fatal 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin


“That stuff inspires me and it gets a fire burning in me. So I hold on [to the feeling]. There’s no accident that I’m wearing a hoody because of Trayvon Martin,” he told HuffPost. “I hold on to certain things that I know are injustices and people can’t actually do anything about it, and so I put myself in their shoes and try to reimagine the feeling that they would have.”

Colter, who said he’s faced a few personal incidents dealing with discrimination while growing up in South Carolina, went on to add that drawing inspiration from the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Mike Brown was initially unexpected for him during the show’s filming. [source:HuffPost]


It’s this mix of comic-book silliness and crime drama that makes Luke Cage must-view TV. But Coker has also woven a deeper sense of history into the show’s architecture. Poke your head inside Pop’s barbershop and you might find yourself party to conversations about local luminaries like Geoffrey Canada or Percy Sutton, civil-rights activist heroes who lifted up Harlem long before Luke Cage came to town.

The show also features a largely black cast, which is a rarity for comic book-based material. And while Colter may be reticent about the idea his bulletproof black hero can bring societal change, Missick who plays Misty is more optimistic.“If you look at the civil rights movement in the 1960s and Black Lives Matter right now, the discussion going on about police brutality in America … change came from people outside that community identifying it was a problem and creating legislation,” she says. “This show highlights a lot of the issues in the black community, and it will, perhaps, enact change in unlikely places. It plants a seed.”

I am so happy that we have this type of content available especially now when we REALLY need it.  I am also proud of my friend Mike Colter.  We went to high school together and I always knew he would be that next BIG THING in Hollywood!  Kudos to Colter and the team that brought this story and this character to light for 2016!

www.TheGamutt.com

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