‘She’s Gotta Have It’ again: But with Netflix’s reboot, through the lens of Black women
She’s Gotta Have It, Spike Lee’s television reimagining of the film that made his career, is coming to Netflix on Thanksgiving Day. The concept of a free and sexual Black woman was groundbreaking when Lee introduced us to Nola Darling in 1986, and it is still groundbreaking in 2017, because there still aren’t many depictions of free, sexual, dark-skinned Black women who do not exist for the company or pleasure of men.
Spike Lee did something he rarely does for this project, he relinquished some control to Black women: his wife and executive producer Tonya Lewis Lee and a writers room that is almost exclusively Black women, such as Eisa Davis. The resulting depth of character and poignancy is something that we haven’t yet seen, even from Insecure.
Similar to the HBO series, there will be copious amounts of visual shout-outs to Black writers and artists, including one to a real-life anti-street harassment campaign. Lee saw the art of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on Instagram and decided to use the artwork in her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” campaign as Nola’s paintings in an arc which is both a reimagining of a rape scene which Lee regrets including in the original movie and an opportunity to pay homage to a necessary social movement against toxic masculinity.
Dewanda Wise, who portrays Nola Darling in the series, captures the radicalism of the character and the series extraordinarily well in this quote from the Netflix premiere: “Women are still policed a lot… There are still a whole lotta conversations about what we can and cannot do. Even in bringing this forward people were like ‘We don’t need women to see that.'”
Watch the trailer: