She’s Gotta Have It is a 1986 classic by Spike Lee. He has called in Eisa Davis, Joie Lee and Radha Blank to retell the story of Nola Darling, a Brooklyn based artist, who is in full control of her life and career or so she thinks.
This is Lee’s debut feature film which he used his college friends and even cast himself in the film, JUST to tell the story. The film’s budget was $175 000 and it grossed over $7million, which is a big deal considering the time in which it came out.
In the remake, there have been some additions about Nola to make the story more contemporary. “Dogwalker” has been added to her character starter pack for her “make ends meet,” persona as an artist in a journey of self-discovery in the art industry. Her story is told with much-needed candour and cadence, with direct-to-camera monologues over soothing jazz tones that draw you in as she explicitly tells her story. It is where we get to understand some of the thinking behind the decisions Nola Darling makes.
“I am not a freak,” she says in the comfort of her bed. Here is a beautiful brown skin woman, taking charge of her sexuality, “I don’t like labels”. She is a woman seeing three distinct men. Jamie Overstreet, a married investment banker who loves taking care of her. Greer Childs, a narcissist but cultured photographer and the goofy and playful Mars Blackmon, who was portrayed by Spike Lee in the original.
The show is a dramedy, you will watch with LOL’s here and there because when they cover social issues, they put a clown nose at, making it easier to consume. Like Shamekka, Nola’s best friend, who almost lost her life after a experiment with illegal butt injections or Miss Raqueletta Moss who speaks in the third person because that’s what she needed to do as a coping mechanism when she was sexually assaulted by the men in her mothers’ life.
Just a casual reminder Nola is “sex-positive, polyamorous, pansexual” if you want to put a label on it, but she will tell you she hates labels. This is when we are introduced to Opal her fourth love interest but one woman we know her to be very much in love with.
With all of this happening, the part I really enjoyed during our heroine’s journey was the music. You cannot watch the show without the urge to Shazaam songs and add to your playlist for later. Lee was able to tell the complete story with music. I really appreciated that he brought in black women to work on telling Nola’s story.
This can even be seen in the way love scenes were showcased, especially between Nola & Opal. Those were tasteful, beautiful and raging with passion and satisfaction. I might even say that all the love scenes were my fave if you catch my drift, watch out for Mr. Overstreets’ bum!
If you haven’t added She’s Gotta Have It on the list after this, here’s another reason: It’s at an intersection where the gender that has been deprived of sexual freedom meets the race that has been deprived of sexual expression, that is where you will find Nola Darling, painting and living in all her womanhood.