Neema Barnette Directs Marvel/Netflix Action Series Luke Cage

In an effort to improve on diversity after Luke Cage’s first season there has been change for season 2.   Six women have been added to the roster of directors: Lucy Liu,  Millicent Shelton, Kasi Lemmons, Steph Green and Salli Richardson-Whitfield and BHMD’s very own Neema Barnette.  This is in stark contrast to the Netflix series' first season where none of the episodes were directed by women. The new season which debut on Friday, June 22, 2018 on Netflix stars Mike Colter as the bulletproof Harlem superhero and the award winning actress Alfre Woodard as Luke Cage’ s number one nemesis. The new season has already received critical acclaim, so I guess the inclusion of Women Directors have proved successful. Executive producer Cheo Hodari Coker believes the show is like a “Trojan horse” that allows them to explore black culture in new and exciting ways.  Barnette describes her experience directing the popular Netflix show as exhilarating. “Having been born and raised in Harlem and still living there means I love my roots! The chance to direct a series about a Harlem Hero is everything  to me! We have a lot of heroes who come from Harlem but LUKE CAGE is a hero that bullets can’t stop. That means he bypasses all the bad folks who shoot Black men in hoodies, ha ha!” “I’m honored to be one of the Black female directors on the show.”

Barnette on the set with the cast of  Netflix/Marvel’s “Luke Cage”.

Fame Play and Screenwriter, Richard Wesley (The Talented Tenth, Let's Do It Again) offered this amazing critique about Neema’s directing technique: Viewing this particular episode reminded me, once again, of what a fine, fine director Neema truly is. Her gift is in how she chooses to move her camera, how she uses light and where she places her actors in each shot. She is so subtle that you might watch a scene and never notice what she has done. But you will be aware of how emotionally engaged you were, depending on the requirements of the scene, and you may wonder how that happened, or why it happened even though you have been used to similar scenes in a hundred other shows and they never hit you quite the same as this one time. It's because of what Neema does. She manipulates the camera in such a way as to highlight or reflect the emotion inherent in the scene, bringing us in closer as the moment intensifies, moving us further away at times when the intensity recedes. There is a moment between Mariah and Shades that involves rage, menace, grief and vulnerability and has to be played amid the rubble of a destroyed home. Here, the lighting is reflective of the inner turmoil of both characters and again Neema's camera work and the blocking are combined perfectly to highlight the power and emotion in the writing. You will understand what I mean when you see the episode.  I have seen a couple of shows, now, that feature episodes Neema has directed, and she never fails to deliver. She is a show-runner's dream because she serves the writing with every shot.”

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Neema barnette’s episode is number 8 and you can watch it anytime streaming on NETFLIX.

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