Entertainment & Culture
Five Black Superheroes Netflix Should Make A Series About

Everybody’s talking about Luke Cage, Netflix’s new Black superhero series. I haven’t sen it yet, but, then again, I never see anything. I am  the only Black person in America who hasn’t watched Scandal, Power, Empire or The Get Down. Shit, I have only seen 2 or three episodes of Sanford and Son! And I’m not one of those people who only watch highbrow TV and use dijon mustard. I just haven’t made the time. I actually save these shows to my DVR, but I never get around to them. Plus, I am physically incapable of binge-watching anything. I can’t concentrate on anything that long. If Jesus came to my door and wanted to reveal the meaning of life and the key to happiness, he’d better get to it in the first seven minutes or I’ll start tuning out.

Anyway, I haven’t seen Luke Cage, but there are some Black superheroes I think Netflix, HBO or some other network should take a look at producing series about.

1. Captain Shady Every neighborhood has a dude who has been shady all his life. When he was in high school he developed a super-secret spying technology that somehow got the answers to the Social Studies test. He worked his way through college by working at Circuit City, where he instituted a complicated system where he got all the open-box Blu-Ray players and flat screen TVs to sell on the street (which is why the company went bankrupt). You know this hero. He is not the guy who sells the bootleg DVDs at the barbershop, he is the guy who somehow acquires the director’s cut of the movie before it is even released and mass produces copies for his henchmen to sell at the barber shop. He always has the best weed, wears the freshest clothes, (they’re all boosted), and all his women carry Michael Kors bags (straight from China). Even though he is not a hero, Captain Shady isn’t  a villain. He doesn’t use his powers for good, but he doesn’t use them for evil. He uses them for money. He uses them for the hood.

2. Ziryab Listen, if you don’t know the historical figure responsible for inventing the three course meal (soup entree, dessert), Spanish music and numerous dyes and makeup, prepare to have your mind blown. Around the 700-800’s (no I didn’t leave off the “1”), the Islamic culture was the center of learning, civilization and art. It was a combination of Manhattan, Paris and Amsterdam, while all of Europe was like that part of Alabama where they hold KKK rallies, backyard “rasslin’ ” matches and sister-kissing contests (I think it’s called “Alabama.”)

That’s when the baddest motherfucker who ever lived was born.

Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘ (now you see why they call him “Ziryab”) was an African slave who started off singing and playing a 12-stringed instrument called the “oud.” He was so good, he was like, “fuck this, add another pair of strings to mine.” He was also a polymath–a master of astronomy, biology, geography, cosmetics, fashion, botany, mathematics and culinary arts. (I bet he would’ve killed on Jeopardy!) He started the trend of wearing different fashions for different seasons. He also created the first deodorant for underarms and a toothpaste that cleaned teeth, freshened breath and was pleasant to the taste. He popularized shaving and washing hair with fragrant oils and salt as a conditioner. He was a renowned chef and was the first person to use crystal and glass as a container for drinking.

Basically, Ziryab was the man every woman is searching for–a guy who dresses impeccably, smells good, will wash her hair, sings to her, knows what he’s talking about and has a good job as a teacher and entertainer in the Sultan’s court. He was perfect, except for the fact that he never married and had eight sons and two daughters from 9 women. Yes, Ziryab was a superho.

But still super.

3. Black McGyver You know who I’m talking about. The guy who can fix your car’s alternator, your air conditioner and the leak under your kitchen sink. Everyone knows a Black McGyver because who the hell else you gonna call… Ghostbusters? I know guys with degrees in electrical engineering and industrial sciences who couldn’t fuck with Black McGyver on his worst day. When someone finally invents a time machine, it won’t be built by a team of scientists at Bell Labs. It will be in a garage on Frederick Douglas Boulevard by a dude who has nothing but a monkey wrench, a ratchet set and a pair of pliers. He won’t do anything noble like go back into time and kill Hitler or stop slavery.

He’s going back to the 700’s to go to da club with Ziryab.

4. My mama  No, not your mama. My mama. Seriously, my mama is a superhero, dude. My mama raised four kids by herself. She home-schooled them. She taught them Biblical philosophy, literature, mathematics and how to cook. She put all of them plus herself through college. She wrote two books. She was an astronomer. She was an accountant for the entire neighborhood. She was a civil rights activist. She took in and raised other people’s kids like some people do stray cats.

Oh, did I mention that when she was 19 year old she lost her eyes and got two eye transplants and is legally blind?

Your mama ain’t that dope. That’s why my mama needs to be on Hulu or something.

5. Harriet Tubman Every time I think about this I lose my shit. HOW THE FUCK IS THERE NOT A SERIES ABOUT HARRIET TUBMAN? 

At least a miniseries. You mean to tell me that we could make that dry-ass five-part epic about John Adams or Olive Kitteridge, but we can’t get a season of a woman who was born a slave, escaped, then helped other slaves escape, and then  became a civil war spy?  I envision a lush, visual thriller with supernatural dream sequences (Harriet had visions all her life), chase scenes, espionage and tense melodrama beneath the floorboards of churches on the Underground Railroad.

They made a miniseries about Sarah Palin.
Soulja Boy had a TV series.
Donald trump had fourteen seasons of The Apprentice.

Bruh, we really need this Harriet Tubman thing. Somebody call Ava Duvernay. I know just what it should be called:

Leh’ Go: The Harriet Tubman Story


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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