This Thanksgiving we got an extra serving of Blackness with the release of the 10 episode Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It. Directed by Spike Lee and based off of his 1986 break out movie by the same name.
There’s something that feeds your soul about watching a show where the characters are IMMEDIATELY familiar to you. The people, the music, the fashion. Representation matters. The funny thing is, I had seen some promotion for the Netflix series but didn’t give it much thought at first. I just happened to be looking for something to watch and realized that I hadn’t ever really watched the original movie, so I did. Watching it made me want more!
Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) is a talented artist from Fort Green Brooklyn who is unapologetic-ally juggling her four lovers Jaime Overstreet (Lyriq Bent) the most stable one who as Nola says takes very good care of her. He’s in love with Nola but unfortunately his wife and child make it impossible for them to be a real couple. Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony) he may be more in love with himself than he is with Nola but they have amazing sex and that makes her overlook his egotistical and male thot ways (sound familiar ladies?). Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos) he’s the life of the party who seems to be better suited as Nola’s best friend rather than a lover. He makes her laugh til her sides hurt but he’s pretty much a broke boy and has alot of growing up to do. And Opal Gilstrap (Ilfenesh Hadera) let me say her name again, Opal. She is absolutely gorgeous! Her and Nola have a special relationship that seems to be based on Nola’s need to have a lover that’s not trying to possess her. Nola considers settling down with Opal (I would too) but Nola is way too impulsive and inconsistent and Opal is not having it! Very early on you notice that Nola is adding them all up to create a whole (the blueprint to be honest). She gets something different from each one but doesn’t seem to give much in return. She’s still trying to find herself and between the lovers, her friends, her art teaching job and trying to sell her art, she does’t have much time to.
Everything is not all peaches and cream though. Nola has a jarring encounter with a street harasser that leaves her feeling very vulnerable and launches a street poster campaign for women’s empowerment. We also get a glimpse of others in her life, her parents, her therapist, an apprehensive mentor Raqelleta Moss, the beloved neighborhood Mayor and her friends ShaMekka a single Mom who’s a lil on the hood side but still very lovable. I literally screamed at her dance scene in Episode 6 my Gawd! And Clorinda, Nola’s former roommate who’s past relationship with Mars is somewhat shady.
But the real other stars in this series are the amazing pieces of art by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, the music and the cinematography. The thing I appreciated the most was that they gave you the reference to the tracks right after they played. I definitely found myself downloading a few tracks. And if you didn’t know before, you definitely get an idea of how much Spike Lee loves Brooklyn. They also tackle very current social issues like gentrification, and the election of Donald Trump.
All in all I really enjoyed this series and would not be mad if there was a season two. It was very refreshing to see a beautiful woman owning her sexuality and not letting others (especially her male partners) define it for her. I wasn’t joking about the blueprint thing. I think more women should consider being more open and fluid when it comes to dating. Men do it with no judgement, no explanations and no apologies.
“If I didn’t define myself for myself I would be crunched into other peoples fantasies for me and eaten alive” -Nola Darling