|The Cast of ‘She’s Gotta Have It’|
By Mwabi Kaira
I was 10 years old when Spike Lee’s movie She’s Gotta Have It was released. I obviously didn’t see it. When it was announced that Spike was recreating the movie as a Netflix TV series, I was excited to have something of melanin to watch. After hearing the cast on the Breakfast Club early last week, I decided to watch the movie to refresh my memory because I seriously couldn’t remember if I’d seen it. I got acquainted with Nola Darling and instantly fell in love and wondered what the reviews were back in 1986 because Nola was not one to be played with! I began my binge Thursday (just one episode before I headed out for Thanksgiving festivities), paced myself to episode 5 on Friday and finished episode 10 Saturday. I was not disappointed and haven’t stopped talking about it since. Spike did an amazing job of bringing 2017 to the series. If you haven’t binged the series yet, here are 8 reasons why you should:
|Tracy Camilla Johns and Spike Lee from ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ the movie|
The entire cast is so beautiful. Nola rocks the natural hair unapologetically. The three men in her life Jamie Overstreet, Mars Blackmon, and Greer Childs are three gorgeous shades of melanin and have amazing bodies. Everywhere you look there are black people represented in their own light doing their thing from the Therapist, to the landlord, to people on the street to her parents. It feels good to be inserted into a world we are so familiar with.
Nola Darling is a black woman in control of everything in her life. She refuses to be boxed in. Her art is on her terms. She picks her men as she pleases and sees them when it is convenient for her; Nola is not sitting around twiddling her thumbs waiting on things to happen. She’s living her life in full and refuses to let anyone stop her. Her best friend is doing the same with her gallery, as is her boss at the school Nola teaches. It is refreshing to see black women doing their thing so well.
|DeWanda Wise as ‘Nola Darling’|
Owning Your Sexuality and the Steaminess of it all
Nola Darling makes her own sex rules. She is all about feeling good and gets satisfaction in different ways from each of her lovers. She refuses to be made to feel bad about her choices and owns them. She is not a freak, not a sex addict, and there is certainly nothing wrong with her. She enjoys making love in her loving bed and anyone not with it need not slow Nola down. Nola belongs to herself. The way Nola moves in her loving bed with Jamie Overstreet is different from the way she interacts with Mars Blackmon and completely different from her encounters with Greer Childs. There may even be some gentler loving with another lover and believe me when I tell you that there is no shortage of nudity at all in this series.
The importance of friendship
We see the ups and downs of friendship between Nola and her girlfriends Clorinda and Shameka. Once roommates, Clorinda chooses their friendship over her sanity with the different suitors in and out of their space. Clorinda doesn’t understand it but chooses not to judge Nola and let her do her in her own space. Shameka has body issues and Nola stands by her as she makes choices that not everyone agrees with. Through their ups and downs, it is evident that they will always have each other’s backs because what is life without your girls?
|Chyna Lane, Margot Bingham, and DeWanda Wise|
Sexual harassment – No Means No
Unfortunately catcalling is something Nola experiences regularly just walking down the street. Like many women, Nola has to fend unwanted attention and one incident shakes her. We see how she handles the situation. Sexual harassment is currently a topic much discussed in 2017 so it was good to see it played out on the small screen.
Black New York
Not since ‘Living Single’ have we had our girls living and loving in New York. And unlike ‘Sex and The City’ where black people were even absent on the street, we see New York as the vibrant multicultural City it is. We see restaurants and parks and Fort Greene living. We see brownstones and feel like that’s where we need to be.
Gentrification, Homelessness, White Privilege and Black Lives Matter
This is a Spike Lee joint so he leaves no stone unturned on issues the black community are currently facing. Where do the people displaced by gentrification go when they can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods they have known their entire lives? How do white people moving into our neighborhoods view the blacks already living there? Spike explores it all and leaves us thinking.
She’s Gotta Have It is streaming on Netflix now.
She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.
Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on
the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy. She has been an avid
runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.
Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/