I resisted watching Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix. There was no concrete reason why I passed – all reviews touted this series as must watch. I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Jones and Daredevil, and absolutely adored the reboot of Spider-Man. When I finally queued it up,I did so with the intention of the show as background noise while I completed another project. That plan was out the window as soon as the opening theme bumped from the TV. Luke Cage demands full attention.
Luke Cage is my mother and father hosting a Saturday night card party, the smell of marijuana mingling with sweat and liquor, my sister and I banished to upstairs but dangling Barbie dolls downstairs to spy on the partygoers.
Luke Cage is frozen juice in a styrofoam cup, a plastic spoon scraping the extra layer of sugary goo and sending it to my mouth for a burst of sweetness.
Luke Cage is Saturday at my grandmother's house, my uncle demanding cups of water and calling me in to watch a fight scene on the poorly dubbed Kung Fu movies he favored.
Luke Cage is my father's affinity for Blaxploitation movies, excitedly recalling the theater he had originally viewed the film, and his annoyance at the way network television spliced out the best parts in favor of commercials.
Luke Cage is the thunk thunk of basketballs as a group of girl friends and I dare to parade by in our cutest outfits, feigning outrage at the catcalls from boys.
Luke Cage is the comradery of every barbershop I have stepped into, men morphing into kings, the barber chair their throne, clippers and wisecracks their weapons.
Luke Cage is my mother teaching my sister and I the words to Stevie Wonder's "Black Man" and having us perform the lyrics for her friends as she proudly beamed.
Luke Cage is my mother's insistence that my sister and I read Ebony Jr and give a written report on what we learned.
Luke Cage is me with huge headphones on, replacing the needle to the record player repeatedly so I could learn the words to Chaka Khan.
Luke Cage is me loving Mrs. Muntu's third grade class, her unabashedly in your face African culture on display.
Luke Cage is me discovering the novel Ludell in her husband, Mr. Muntu's fourth grade class. The first time I realized a book could be about a girl that looked like me.
Luke Cage is me listening to Public Enemy initially because I had a crush on the guy who lent me the tape, but finding I could relate to the lyrics on a different level.
Luke Cage is me listening to my aunt and her college friend debate novels, then my sister and I sharing a copy of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" that we surreptitiously borrowed.
Luke Cage is me chasing my husband down the street as he made his way to the bus stop because I wanted to feel his arms around me one last time before he left.
Luke Cage is The Boy donning a hoodie, as an armor to the elements, and taunts that he is different.
Luke Cage is The Daughter, stubborn, intelligent, observant, decisive. My fear that all my lessons went in one ear and out the other abated.
Luke Cage speaks to me. It spoke to a whole bunch of people because it broke Netflix the day it premiered. Luke Cage is my 2017 rage, the headlines, a word that can be uttered as both a slur and one of love and packaged into 48 minute parts of life. Parts I dampened down to fit in, blend in, disappear.
I told my sister that I was not ready for Luke Cage. I was not ready to receive the message. She laughed.
Blacker than every person I know sobbing over the election of Barack Obama. Blacker than my husband's glistening eyes when our children were born. Blacker than any Maxine Waters meme to pass my screen. Blacker than Kool-aid, cookouts, Frankie Beverly and Maze.
Luke Cage is the Blackest thing I have ever seen.