by Tiye Bradley
On November 23, Netflix premiered one of its newest original series She’s Gotta’ Have It. The series, which tells the story of one woman and her three lovers, is based on the career launching film by Spike Lee.
Lee is the first to direct all 10 episodes of a season for a Netflix original series. Like a classic Spike Lee “joint,” the series focuses on one major theme while simultaneously addressing issues that people of color face and referencing aspects of black culture through art, humor, music, and dialogue. The show takes place in Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York in 2016.
Many are praising the series for being a cleverly crafted reboot and an ode to Brooklyn. Classic sounds of Bruce Hornsby play as the intro takes viewers on a visual tour of the streets of Brooklyn.
He captures the beauty of the architecture and the presence of art and Hip-Hop in neighborhoods that are now much different than how they appeared in 1986. Lee seamlessly nods to the city’s history throughout the series, while highlighting current gentrification.
Nola Darling, played by DeWanda Wise, is a struggling Brooklyn native in her late twenties whose journey to self-realization is depicted through her romantic relationships, friendships, artwork, and struggle to find balance.
In an age of woman empowerment, Nola Darling provides a necessary representation of power in female sexuality and strength in defining oneself. Because each of her lovers possess different personalities, they each fulfill her in different ways.
While juggling intimate relationships with the cultured model, Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), the mature Investment Banker, Jamie Overstreet (Lydia Bent) and the fun-loving sneaker head , Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos) can sometimes cause her strife, Darling displays empowerment in her control over her sexual encounters and self-set limitations.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes describe the series as “fun, fascinating and feminist.” The series brings color and a modern touch to the original. Feminists criticized the original for depicting the protagonist,Nola Darling, through the male gaze. For the tv adaptation Lee has enlisted his wife, Tonya Lee, and five female writers to ensure the 10 episodes included the female perspective.
Lee shot the 1986 film She’s Gotta’ Have It at the age of 29, shortly after graduating from NYU Film School.
Now, 31 years later, She’s Gotta’ Have It marks an electrifying transition from film to television.
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