What I’m Watching: She’s Gotta Have It

I’m old enough to remember the original Spike Lee Joint, the movie She’s Gotta Have It. It was ahead of it’s time. It pushed buttons. It was filmed in black and white. It was about a woman, Nola Darling, who had 3 lovers and was unapologetic about her sexuality. That movie aired in 1986.

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Fast forward 30 years and Spike Lee teams up with Netflix to turn the groundbreaking movie into a TV show. My first thought was, how can they make a 2 hour movie into 10 episodes? And then if the buzz is good, then another 10 episodes if the show gets picked up for a second season? When the cast was revealed I did an internal fist pump. Why? Because the men in this reboot are WAY more attractive than the men in the original. Sorry not sorry. I mean I need a little bit of sumthin’, sumthin’ to look at. They’re not on Idris Elba’s level of sexiness but they are definitely an upgrade from 1986.

She’s Gotta Have It dropped November 24th. Perfect timing since a lot of folks were off work and home for the Thanksgiving holidays. I had to work but I managed to watch all 10 episodes in the span of 2 days. I went into it with zero expectations. I barely remember the movie and I’m glad because then I wouldn’t be comparing the show to the movie.

She’s Gotta Have It the TV show is definitely a Spike Lee production. It’s traditionally Spike Lee from the music, to breaking the 4th wall and characters talking to the audience, monologues. It’s filmed and takes place in Brooklyn, New York. The show’s theme song reminds you every episode with “Where Brooklyn at! Where Brooklyn at!” that it takes place in Brooklyn. She’s Gotta Have It touches on everything that black America is dealing with today: gentrification of black and brown neighborhoods, the election of D*nald T*ump, street harassment, trying to pursue your dreams while also having to survive and pay bills, relationships, ownership of ones body and self, feminism. A lot of issues are addressed and tackled during the 10 episodes but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

They did a great job of casting DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling. I wasn’t familiar with the actress but I think she did justice to the role. My favorite casting was of Anthony Ramos (of Hamilton fame) as Mars Blackmon. Those are some big shoes to fill but I think he was a better Mars than Spike Lee. His character brought much humor and heart to the show.

I loved She’s Gotta Have It and hope that it returns for a second season. The show wasn’t perfect but the imperfections did not ruin it for me. If you haven’t watched it I suggest definitely checking it out. And you haven’t seen the movie, I say watch the Netflix show first then go back and watch the movie and do your comparisons then.

Rating: B

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