Can I tell you how much I enjoyed Spike Lee’s remake of “She’s Gotta Have it,” showing on Netflix? I watched it in one sitting, despite having tons of other things I should have been doing. Nola Darling played by Dewanda Wise is my new favorite person, hands down! If you haven’t seen it, find it on Netflix and make it a fun day Sunday. Let me tell you what I love about it, the few things that had my head titled and some takeaways.
First, the things that had me head tilted
The style of the show, which I later found is similar to the movie, was off putting at first. I wasn’t feeling how all the characters spoke to me, the audience. Aside from reality TV, usually there is one character, the lead, speaking to the audience. They all had access to us, even the therapist. However, it grew on me and as a component of the entire creative piece I understand it more after watching the whole season. Basically, everyone in her life thought they knew her and compartmentalized their version of Nola Darling. How true is this in life? Right?
At times, the music seemed out of place and random, but what I loved was the display of the single cover and the variety of music. I can tell that it was important that the audience was fed some history, while at times it seemed force fed, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Spike Lee’s personal playlist of his favorites. There were several songs I remember hearing while growing up. There were many songs that I thought were dope, but the “Set it off” by Strafe, when it came on… I wished it played longer. Sidenote : Listening to “Set it off” as I write this blog post.
Random ass dance
Okay, the dance scene wtf was that? Like really? That just looked a hot mess. None of these dudes could really dance and Mars was trying to make it Hip Hop while channeling all the Prince vibes. That was one part I would have dropped or a least made it a much shorter. I didn’t get it and damn sure didn’t like it. I guess that was as close to a threesome we were going to get. Which I’m glad they didn’t take it there, a threesome would have been cheap, tasteless.
Remixing of Characters:
At first, I was like “Oh, no why is Mars a Puerto Rican dude.” Now, when I watch this series, I hadn’t yet seen the original movie, but I am familiar with Spike Lee and his likeness from “Do the Right Thing.” So I was expecting a skinny little black guy playing the Mars character. Nonetheless, the new Mars is dope. In fact, he killed it.
I love Nola Darling!
Nola, played by Dewanda Wise is yet another breath of fresh-air. She is a working artist, strong minded, passionate, and very determined to live life on her own terms. The number one thing I appreciate about this character is her raw authenticity, whether it’s her outburst or her brutal honesty at all times, she doesn’t feel the need to compromise her identity. She exemplifies the black girl magic.
The art artwork!! If you didn’t know Nola’s paintings were painted by Brooklyn’s Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
Rightfully, Nola is not the Issa Rae’s character of “Insecure,” Jessica James of “The Incredible Life of Jessica James” and Samantha White of “Dear White People,” but fundamentally all these women are very much alike, they’re all striving for more in their pursuits, trying to balance relationships, owning their identity and each demonstrate the complexities of being a millennial woman, particularly black women. Like with all of these women, many of us might be privy to know a person like Nola in our lives- hell you might even be her, but we have not seen her on screen.
I also really liked when Nola visited the cemetery. We got visit the grave stones of many great creators, which I didn’t even know or thought was an option. That was so cool.
In one episode, Nola takes the blame for graffiti in the neighborhood to protect a member of the community, a homeless veteran, friend and artist. That was hella brave, and or stupid, but also got me thinking about how there are people who stand up for someone or something other than themselves at the expense or determent to their selves. I like that she moved through fear to do what was in her mind the right thing to do and that speaks to her character, the kind of person she is in and something that anyone stifled by fear can learn from. This can be applied to anything in life, but for this site, I would like you to think of it in the context of your art, your business ideas, your goals and dreams.
This series hit on numerous important subjects, art politics, history, male & female dynamics, sexuality, treatment of our vets, our homeless, black men.
For me, obviously, “She’s Gotta Have it” is another win in the genre of content that further champions and caters to the millennial women. And after watching the original film “She’s got to have it” we can see that Spike Lee was a head of his time with Nola Darling.
Let’s just say Ms. Nola is one BOLD chick! In the end of this season there is a lesson, the over arching message for me is that, the world will bend to your authenticity.
Finally, the message
The final message is real adult communication and that comes from unapologetic authenticity. Living with authenticity means defining and living life on their own terms. So #justdekit dammit!
What did you think about Spike Lee’s remake of his original film “She’s Gotta Have?”