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New Luke Cage featurette explores the importance of Harlem and poverty

How the neighborhood made the superhero

One of the most important features of Marvel and Netflix’s newest superhero series, Luke Cage, is Harlem’s role in the making of the show’s villains and titular hero.

In a new featurette, showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, producers and members of the show’s music supervision team talk about why it’s important that Harlem is finally getting a show focused on the Manhattan neighborhood. Harlem, seen by many as a cultural capital for the black community in America , hasn’t had a superhero on television or film represent the people that live there and Luke Cage is looking to change that.

At one point in the video, Method Man, the Wu-Tang Clan artist and one of the series' music supervisors, mentions the importance of superheroes representing New York neighborhoods that often go unnoticed or aren't portrayed in the best light

"But you wouldn’t see Captain America or Iron Man or Thor in the projects, in Hell’s Kitchen," he says. "Places of that nature where you’d find a Daredevil or a Jessica Jones or Luke Cage."

Coker added that one of the things they were trying to accomplish was showing off the harsh realities of what Harlem can be like while also showing off the culture that exists within the neighborhood. Harlem isn’t just a setting for the show, Coker said, but it’s instrumental in the story of Luke Cage becoming the person that he is.

"It’s all these things wrapped up into one," Coker said. "Black culture, politics and crime."

Luke Cage’s first season explores themes like gentrification and the specific culture that exists within Harlem. It was part of Coker’s vision to make one of the most authentic superhero shows that he could and bring to light the neighborhood.

Luke Cage debuts on Netflix in full on Sept. 30.

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