During an early episode of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, the titular hero takes on a building full of bad guys without anything like Iron Man’s armor or Black Widow’s guns. Instead, he dons a set of everyday clothes, rips a car door off its hinges to use as a temporary battering ram, and bludgeons his way through the stronghold’s defenses without taking a single hit or killing a single soul. Oh yeah, he also wears a bullet hole-ridden hoodie throughout the entire sequence.
The symbolism of Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker’s costume choice for actor Mike Colter isn’t lost on him, as revealed by a recent interview with Rolling Stone. In fact, he was apparently thinking about The Terminator instead of Trayvon Martin‘s infamous garment when he picked it out:
“It’s certainly not a coincidence,” Coker admits when the garment is mentioned. “You know that by doing this, you are saying: A black man in a hoodie is not just a hoodlum, as depicted by the media. He’s also a hero. But I think I was being a little naive, to be honest, because I hadn’t realized what sort of impact that imagery would have until that first trailer got that reaction. The shot of Mike walking down the hallway as bullets are bouncing off of him — I’m mostly thinking I’m making a funky-ass riff on that scene in The Terminator. Everyone else who’s watching it? They’re thinking of a bulletproof Trayvon Martin first and foremost. It wasn’t until we put things together that we realized how much this would resonate, especially since things have not gotten better. If anything, things have gotten much worse.”
Coker goes on to claim he “didn’t have an agenda going in.” Besides, he adds, “the Black Lives Matter movement had not nearly reached the fever pitch that it’s at now” when Luke Cage was in the midst of production.
Yet a show about an African-American superhero whose skin is literally powerful enough to repel gunfire can’t be made today without acknowledging Martin’s death — let alone the country’s ongoing police brutality epidemic. “You can’t be a black superhero show, in an urban setting, without being in touch with what folks are going through,” Coker explains in the interview.
(Via Rolling Stone)