Over Thanksgiving weekend, women gathered around their smart TV's to binge watch Netflix's newest original series, She's Gotta Have It (written by Spike Lee). The original film was amazing and critics were worried that the series would be an injustice to the original movie. To the surprise of many, the series was excellent!
Nola Darling, played by Dewanda Wise, was a beautiful catalyst to number of topics centered around sexuality, negative cultural norms placed on Black women, and or course, relationships. Spike Lee did a great job incorporating up to date topics into a pre existing storyline.
One topic that emerged throughout the duration of the series was the topic of sexual assault and what it does to the psyche of a woman. For whatever reason, sexual assault is not openly discussed within the Black community. Watching Nola be verbally and physically assaulted forced viewers to acknowledge the ways being attacked shaped her personality moving forward. Regardless of how comfortable she was with her sexuality before the attack, things changed once someone infringed upon her personal space.
Showcasing Nolas strife through her art and her political pro women's campaign was powerful. Watching how men lashed out at her after her campaign posters were made visible was raw and insightful. Hearing Nola voice her views on sexual freedom, politics, and a womans right to choose was refreshing.
Another topic that carried a storyline was the topic of self love. SPOILER ALERT: During the series Nolas friend Shemekka (played by Chyna Lane) came an inch away from death after her butt injections exploded. Shamekka made the decision to get black market butt injections after being turned down for a position as a dancer at a local club because of her lack of curves. Whether society wants to admit it or not, Black women who aren't "thick" enough with body types glorified by guys like Drake, struggle with body image. They struggle with not being accepted and not being desired. Women who can't afford proper surgical procedures that enhance their curves are making themselves ill resorting to black market beauty alternatives. The fact that this topic was tied to a storyline is nothing short of amazing.
Spike Lee also did a great job covering a queer storyline. In episode four, Nola's lady lover, Opal, is introduced to viewers. She's beautiful, smart, successful, great in bed, and completely against the idea of settling for Nola Darlings lack of desire to commit. Interestingly enough, Opal is the one who walks away from their steamy hot love affair even after Nola expresses her desire to commit. At one point in the episode, Nola tells her therapist that she feels "safe" with Opal. This begs the question, why? Was it the fact that she was a woman, she was stable, or that a small part of her was unattainable?
She's Gotta Have It did a wonderful job encouraging women to take control of their sexuality while speaking on feminism and societal norms. A woman's choice to have sex freely and date more than one person at a time is just that, her choice. Women are encouraged to be "ladies" because male egos are fragile and if women really acknowledged their sexuality, the dynamics of love, relationships and family life would change completely. Imagine a world where women aren't groomed to have kids, get married and stay at home. Imagine if women really understood the power rooted in their brains, as well as their sexuality.
TFF MAG is giving the She's Gotta Have It remake five Fab Femme stars. Not only was the show well produced and well put together, but the topics used to create storylines were thought provoking and meaningful. Everything was beautifully orchestrated. great soundtrack, great visuals, great cast. Kudos to Netflix and the entire team behind this amazing series. Thank you for creating a visual representation women can relate to.