A Response to Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It"
BY: AMANDA NYANG'ORO
First of all, I just want y'all to know that “She’s Gotta Have It” is the quintessential meaning of art. When I saw the trailer for this show, I was excited to step into the world of a (relatively) new black female character. I had fallen in love with other leading ladies like "Insecure’s" Issa Dee and "Chewing Gum’s" Tracey Gordon, so I knew I would be just as captivated by Spike Lee’s character, Nola Darling.
I have always admired Lee's work, his directing choices, his soundtracks and how his storylines always instill valuable lessons about navigating life as a person of color. Lee dauntlessly explores issues that aren’t openly discussed in mainstream media and for that, I respect him. In his latest work, "She's Gotta Have It" an original Netflix series and remake of his 1986 film, Lee does just that, re-introducing a character that is unapologetically authentic. Ladies and Gentlemen, Nola Darling.
Darling, played by DeWanda Wise, is a prime example of a multifaceted character. Each mistake she makes is welcomed instead of shamed. She allows herself to fully feel all of her emotions and proudly accepts the fact that she is a work in progress. She lets no one, other than herself, define who she is and is never afraid to live her truth.
The directing and editing techniques used for this show creates a bold, but playful, take on the original black-and-white film of the same name. Intimate moments are captured in extreme close-ups, while colors flow vibrantly through the screen as we eat up each word the characters say. The series, set in 2016, seems more defiant and a lot less dreamy than its movie counterpart.
Lee also presents a beautifully diverse collection of music for the series. From Miles Davis to Floetry, KRS-One and Solange to Frank Sinatra and Prince, Lee goes all out with what can only be considered as the ultimate playlist.
Each episode is more unexpected than the last as we find out more about Nola’s intricate relationships with her lovers, friends and, most importantly, herself. Issues such as sexual harassment, gentrification and even body image within the exotic dance industry are explored in the series that will definitely spark conversations amongst viewers. If you haven’t already binged-watched the entire series, I suggest that you take this next holiday break to vicariously live through Nola’s trials and tribulations. Trust me, you won’t regret it.