Playwright, screenwriter, and producer Nathan Louis Jackson, known for his work on the Netflix series Luke Cage, has passed away at the age of 44. Jackson died at his home in Lenexa, Kansas on August 22. His wife, Megan Mascorro-Jackson, stated that he had heart issues and had undergone an aortic dissection in 2019. The family has chosen not to conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
In addition to his work on Luke Cage, Jackson had an impressive career in television, writing and producing for shows such as Southland, Shameless, Resurrection, 13 Reasons Why, Genius, and S.W.A.T. His talent and creativity shone through in his various roles within the television industry.
During his time on Luke Cage, Jackson wrote two episodes of the two-season series. He also served as a co-producer and executive story editor. The show, created by Cheo Hodari Coker, explored the Black experience and made a powerful statement about African American men. In an interview with The Kansas City Star, Jackson expressed how the show tackled similar themes as other superhero shows, but from a different standpoint that represented the Black community.
Born on December 4, 1978, in Lawrence, Kansas, Jackson discovered his passion for writing while attending Washington High School, Kansas City Kansas Community College, and Kansas State. As one of the few Black individuals pursuing a career in playwriting in the Midwest, he often found himself performing the works of August Wilson. Determined to have his voice heard, Jackson began writing his own plays to represent his experiences and perspective.
He later moved to New York to attend Juilliard and made his mark in the theatre world with his play Broke-ology. The play premiered in 2008 at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts before opening at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in 2009. Starring Wendell Pierce, the play told the story of a poor Kansas City family and garnered critical acclaim.
In response to Jackson’s passing, Wendell Pierce paid tribute to his friend, describing him as authentic, Black, insightful, and soulful. Their friendship had grown so deep that Pierce saw Jackson as a brother. Their connection was a testament to Jackson’s ability to touch the hearts of those around him.
Throughout his career, Jackson received several awards for his work, including two Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Awards, the Kennedy Center’s Gold Medallion, and the Mark Twain Comedy Playwriting Award. His plays, which included The Last Black Play, The Mancherios, Sticky Traps, Brother Toad, and When I Come to Die, showcased his talent and passion for the craft.
From 2013 to 2019, Jackson served as the playwright in residence at the Kansas City Repertory Theater. During this time, he continued to create works that celebrated his love for his hometown. His family emphasized his dedication to the Kansas City arts community and his love for Kansas City barbeque and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jackson’s warmth, kindness, and preference for voice-to-voice communication endeared him to his loved ones. He is survived by his wife Megan, his mother Bessie, his children Amaya and Savion, and his siblings Ebony and Wardell.
A celebration of Jackson’s life is currently being planned, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family with expenses. His legacy as a talented playwright, screenwriter, and producer will continue to be remembered and cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing him and experiencing his work.