A Deep Dive Into ‘She’s Gotta Have It’

Ahhh, Nola Darling. A sexual rebel. But before we dive into the classic that is Spike Lee’s first feature length film She’s Gotta Have It, let’s talk about that time I met the genius that is Spike Lee.

It was Black History Month and I’m sure I was a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University (GO RAMS!). Each year, we would have a special guest come to us to tell us about their journey and give us some lasting words of wisdom. When I heard the speaker would be Spike Lee, I HAD to be in the room and not in the overflow room next door. I got my ticket to be IN THE ROOM WITH SPIKE, got there early and was ready to take in all of what he was willing to give. I remember a lot but one thing that stuck out was Lee talking about the support he got from his mom and grandmother. His grandmother is the reason why Lee was able to make She’s Got To Have It. He jokes that he was the oldest so he got first dibs on the money she saved for him and the rest of his siblings.

So, for me, this movie is deemed a classic for a couples of reasons. One, it’s Spike Lee. Fight me. Two, this movie was written and directed by a black man about the sexual freedom of a black women and is done without the air of judgement. Nola is very matter-of-fact about who she is and what she wants. Now, the men have an issue with it but the story is not slanted in their direction, if that makes sense.

Nola is doing what some of you all right now are trying to do but failing or want to do and are not sure it will work like it could. She has three men who give her something different and she likes that, it works for her. You have Mars, played by Lee himself, who is…well…Spike with a different name. She has her sophisticated, worldly man in Greer. He’s a model and gives Nola that “I-gotta-dress-up-to-go-somewhere-fancy” vibe. He gets on my nerves but whatever works for you girl. Then, we have Jamie who seems to be, when compared to the other two who are at either extreme, in the middle. He seems like the one she should pick until the rape scene which was TOTAL misstep (and I just have so many questions about) but in true Spike Lee fashion, this ain’t about us. We get the ending he wrote for us which is Nola sticking to her own morals and standards. She is not committing to someone because it suits them. She is Nola Darling and her body, spirit and mind belong to her. She likens monogyny to slavery which took me a minute to really pull apart.

During slavery, marriage seemed like a survival tactic and not as much about love as it was about finding someone to bear children and ensure that the master kept them on their plantation. That’s what I was able to come up with but help me out if you know something I don’t.

Polyamory, even now, is taboo but in the idea and the practice of it, there is a freedom of just being that you don’t get in a monogamous relationship. I feel like there is always more someone wants or something someone wants to be able to explore that you can’t quite do with the same person.

But what are your thoughts? I loved the Netflix series he created and DeWanda Wise was brilliant! I don’t like people and people don’t like me so I don’t think I could ever be a Nola or have a Nola phase. I don’t know how some of y’all can keep track of app matching but can you be Nola? Can you really be as sexually free as Ms. Darling?

Want to watch it again? You can find the series and original film on Netflix!

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