Harlem will be an important piece of Luke Cage, the next Netflix show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though the series isn’t available until September 30, the show’s introduction was released on Twitter the day before, and it is exactly what we expected. It pays direct homage to Harlem, Luke Cage’s birthplace, with imagery that even the most unexperienced New Yorker knows to be central to Harlem, like the George Washington Bridge, Apollo Theater, and Central Park.
However, there are little gems throughout the trailer that are reserved for Harlem residents that hold a special place in not only their hearts, but in the hearts of many New Yorkers who have grown up around the area. The introduction shows the street signs for some of Harlem’s most notable streets, including Lenox Ave, Malcolm X. Blvd, and the 125th St. train stop on the 1 train. Also, even though Brooklyn has developed a reputation for their brownstones, Harlem brownstones are equally important as they were home to many of Harlem’s Black residents, which is also reflected in the intro. For those who really know Harlem and Black neighborhoods in New York, the producers placed a highlighted image of a Crown Fried Chicken, one of the best and most low-key places to get the most bang for your buck in the city.
The intro is accompanied by music that feels jazz-like in nature, but still has the quintessential superhero feel underneath. Jazz music was a staple in Harlem as many of the biggest jazz names, including Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, created music from their Harlem residences. The producers have effectively found a way to encompass both new and old Harlem, with both historical references and jazz music to the boom-bap hip-hop that is set to be a part of every episode.
As if the show could not get any greater, we were delivered this wonderful surprise by the Luke Cage producers. It only sucks because most of us will binge-watch the show within the first few days.