-- Mahershala Ali is ready for the conversation about "Luke Cage" to be bigger than just race and is working to make sure the masses know that the series is also an honest reflection of today.
Ali, who plays the lead villain in the Marvel superhero series, brings confidence mixed with a touch of vulnerability to his character of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. To Ali, the character is more significant than just a bad guy; he's a representation of the real world.
"Come on, we would be foolish to say that there's never been African-American leads in some capacity, people of color in some capacity, leading shows or what have you," Ali, 42, told ABC News. "But it hasn't happened enough and in a manner that is an accurate reflection of the world that we live in."
The series humanizes the black experience so it resonates with the everyday man, according to Ali, who was born in Oakland, California.
"So what this does is, it points the camera on a community and on a group of people who haven't traditionally had that type of space and that type of time to have these emotional experiences to exhibit a certain degree of emotional intelligence, to be masculine and heroic, and the leaders of the fight and the story," he said.
While race is often the initial conversation with such a ground-breaking series, Ali hopes that the show will help to change the landscape so it's not always about color.
"I want it not to be a big deal,” he said. “I would love to be able to do an interview at some point, and we're not at that point yet, but it would be great to do an interview at some point and only talk about the work and the character.”
Marvel is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.