TV Review: ‘She’s Gotta Have It’

Netflix’s mini-series “She’s Gotta Have it” is the perfect fit for anyone looking for a binge-worthy show to take their mind off of their studies.

The mini-series is a modern revamp of Spike Lee’s 1986 film by the same name. It follows DeWanda Wise as Nola Darling, a young, sexually liberated and talented Brooklynite as she attempts to manage her time between her multiple jobs, budding artistic career and her four very different lovers.

The television series rectifies the major pitfalls of the original film including Nola being raped by one of her male lovers who she ultimately chooses to commit to and Opal, one of Nola’s lovers, being a predatory lesbian. In the revamp, Nola is not only not raped, but she refuses to choose one partner saying that monogamy is a social construct that enslaves women. Furthermore, Nola returns Opal’s mature and appropriate affections, creating a more interesting dynamic for a more progressive culture.

“She’s Gotta Have It” also analyses race in both the romantic and professional worlds. Nola’s choices, opinions and experiences all come back to her identity as a black woman. Her art both appreciates the black female form and rebels against the objectification of colored women. When an old, white and deceptively friendly art critic sees Nola’s work, he essentially says that it isn’t the right form of black expression.

Nola defies being categorized by just her skin color in a similar way to how she defies sexual norms. Her art and her personality rejoice in her blackness and her womanhood despite them being the very things that society uses to try to hold her down.

“She’s Gotta Have It” is as artfully composed as it is culturally relevant. The show’s aesthetic is quirky and nuanced without losing its relatability. Nola begins each episode with a short monologue which may seem awkward at first, but as viewers come to understand Nola’s fierce independence, they realize that no one but Nola should or more likely could introduce the latest events of her life properly.

Additionally, after a song plays during the episode, a picture of the album cover shows on the screen, both mirroring Nola’s own cultural saviness and providing a unique way to mark the beginning and end of a scene. It’s almost as if we’re listening to Nola’s playlist that she listens to in her studio while she paints, giving the show a casual and contemporary feel.

“She’s Gotta Have It” is honest, critical, erotic, fun-loving and the next thing on anyone’s TBR list.

Overall: 5/5


Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexis.taylor@uconn.edu.