A bulletproof black man in a hoodie is not only a powerful image, but a tribute to Trayvon Martin. Luke Cage, Netflix’s latest gift to Marvel lovers, is taking a political stand by paying tribute to the black lives lost to police shootings.
On Friday (Sept. 30), lead actor Mike Colter opened up to The Huffington Post on the importance of a black superhero and how the current political climate shaped his character, Luke Cage. Known as Marvel’s first black superhero, Cage’s appearance was updated for the times, exchanging his sunny yellow shirt for a hoodie or a hooded sweatshirt.
The keen change fits Cage’s low profile nature was a direct connection to Trayvon Martin. “It’s a nod to Trayvon, no question,” Colter said. “Trayvon Martin and people like him. People like Jordan Davis, a kid who was shot because of the perception that he was a danger. When you’re a black man in a hoodie all of a sudden you’re a criminal. That’s something we shouldn’t have to deal with, but we do. It’s a double standard. We can’t cover our head when it’s cold and raining because God forbid someone sees us and puts our life in danger. We wanted to pay homage to that — it’s not something we were shying away from.”
Filmed in 2014, Colter says the show’s writers didn’t ignore the non-indictment of NYPD officer Daniel Panateleo in the Eric Garner case and constant police shootings. The well-timed series premiered last night as protesters demanded justice for Alfred Olango. A cop fatally shot the 30-year-old in El Cajon, California last week.
“When we were filming this, there were different things going on,” Colter said. “Eric Garner, the policemen were acquitted. No one was brought to justice. There was no handing out of any sentence. There are a couple of other things that happened during the time we were filming. We were watching the news, and it was always someone being shot who was unarmed, and there is no justification for it. It’s mind-boggling.”
Colter hopes the series will continue Marvel’s original mission–to make conversations on political and culture turmoil easier. Cage was first introduced as Jessica Jones’ love interest in 2015 and will later reunite with the character and Daredevil for the upcoming mini-series, The Defenders on the streaming service.