From the moment the Prince/ Notorious B.I.G. opening track rings out from the television screen, Spike Lee’s electric new Netflix joint She’s Gotta Have It springs to life. After much critique about his “woman problem” in some of his past work — Lee has gotten with the program. Tracy Camilla Johns’ 1986 Nola Darling, which was set against a crisp black and white Brooklyn background will always remain glued in my memory, but the film was ruined for me when our protagonist was viscously raped by her suitor Jamie Overstreet (Tommy Redmond Hicks). I haven’t gotten over it, and neither has Lee.In a 2014 interview with Deadline, he said, “It was just totally…stupid. I was immature.” We are in an age where women – especially Black women are laying themselves bare, and unapologetically demanding to be heard. With guidance from his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee who also serves as an executive producer on the Netflix TV adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It — Lee presents an image of a Black woman who is as refreshing as she is enticing.
Shots Fired and Underground alum DeWanda Wise is center stage this time, delivering a brown-skinned Nola Darling whose the homegirl you love, envy, and are sometimes exasperated with. Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It is a complicated and multi-angled portrait of a millennial Black woman trying to make in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Nola’s got her men — Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), Jaime Overstreet (Lyriq Bent), and Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos) all return in vibrant color with new layers and subtle personality changes. However, she’s also got her girlfriends Shemekka Epps (Chayna Lane) and Clorinda Bradford (Margot Bingham), a lady lover (Ilfenesh Hadera) and a bomb ass therapist (Heather Headley). Gentrification is rampant, money is tight, but Nola is living — and how she lives, who she makes love with, and the art that she creates is going to be on her terms.
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