As the first black superhero on TV, “Marvel’s Luke Cage” star Mike Colter knows some viewers may expect the show to have something to say about current race relations in America.
But the actor says the Netflix series, which premieres Friday, isn’t trying to make a statement about hot-button issues like #BlackLivesMatter.
“We don’t have an agenda,” Colter, 40, told Business Insider recently. “I happen to be a black man. I happen to have the lead in the show. I happen to have superpowers. I happen to be bulletproof. I happen to also wear a hoodie.”
Well, not so fast. After saying that, Colter had to backtrack a bit. He admitted that the hoodie Luke Cage wears was inspired by the hoodies worn by shooting victims Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in photos featured in the HBO documentary, “3 1/2 Minutes.”
“That was a symbolic thing,” he said of the hoodie, which has become emblematic of certain negative assumptions made on black men who wear them.
On “Luke Cage,” the title character Marvel fans met previously on “Jessica Jones,” Luke is laying low. He’d rather not be using his super powers for any reason at all. But he’s forced into the superhero work when trouble finds Luke in the form of local gangster Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali).
As far as intentions to comment on current race issues, the hoodie is where that stops. But Colter says he would be game if the show did want to make a more pointed statement about issues facing black Americans, or if viewers found their own messages in the series.
“We have a lot of black people on our show,” the actor said. “We’re in Harlem. We have a musicality, a vibe, and all that says to people that we probably are in a better position to speak on that topic than most people and to bring up things of that nature than most shows. And if we do, I’m all for it and I’m not going to shy away from that.”
Watch a trailer for “Marvel’s Luke Cage” below:
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