Why I Love Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It

A few days ago, it was revealed that Spike Lee’s classic 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It would find new life as 10-episode Netflix series set for a Thanksgiving 2017 release. I’m pretty excited for it since I am a huge fan of the original movie and I’m hopeful that will be a standout show. But there’s something special about that Spike Lee joint and 31 years later, it’s still relevant. The characters and the storyline in which they find life are so relatable that it’s hard to separate fiction from reality.

She’s Gotta Have It was more than just a film about gender role reversals and
love triangles (maybe squares would be more accurate). The film stars Nola Darling, a liberated young woman in every sense of the word, that finds herself being courted by three somewhat eligible bachelors: Mars Blackmon, the comic relief; Greer Childs, the playboy; and Jamie Overstreet, who appeared to be the most well rounded of the trio. We, as mere observers in this black and white world sculpted by Lee, are shown the climaxes and declines of each of Nola’s unconventional relationships. While each of the leading men try their hardest to gain her affections, we also take notice of how she, as a liberated soul, is attempting to gain clarity in her own life. Sure Nola has “freedom” but at what price? Is she truly happy?

There’s so much to love about the film. Besides Nola, Mars and Greer are two of my favorite characters. Mars Blackmon with the iconic “Please baby, please baby, please baby, baby please” as he begs Nola Darling to keep him around and Greer, who swears that he’s god’s gift to women, reminds me A LOT of the guys that grew up knowing through time. What made the movie special to me is that I always saw portrayals of men being the players with infinite women on speed dial but never had I once saw a woman in position of power like Nola Darling. Monogamy felt like bondage to her and though she tries it out for a while with the most square of the guys (Jamie’s whole style annoyed me) she eventually breaks up with the SQUARE as she’s so set in her ways but it leaves her empty and regrettably alone.

In my current romantic situation or lack thereof if I’m being honest, I often wondered if monogamy was right for me but after my own experiences sewing wild oats coupled with what I saw happening with Nola, I came to the conclusion that settling down is the best thing for me. There is a such thing as spreading yourself too thin and she did that exceptionally well. We’ve all become casualties of our vices. Also, this film challenged the perception of women and promiscuity. As I mentioned earlier,  all that I have ever seen depicted in films were men being championed for having multiple partners while women were called whores, harlets, and hoes. Nola had power to make and break the men around her. Even arrogant male characters like Greer had to take a backseat to Nola and that in itself was a quality that I admired. No matter how hard those guys tried to change her, she stuck to her guns even to her chagrin. She’s Gotta Have It is a clever comedy with great characters. If you haven’t seen the film yet, add it to your to do list, pronto.

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