She's Gotta Have It was the original Spike Lee Joint. Made on a shoestring budget of only $175K, the film garnered more than $7 million at the box office and turned a nerd from Brooklyn into a household name. Now, 30 years later, the characters are being revamped as a Netflix original series dramedy. While times have changed and the idea of a woman embracing her sexuality isn't quite as foreign or shocking, the trailer shows us that the characters and the property are keeping up with the times.
The clip opens with Spike’s scene from the original trailer for She's Gotta Have It. Spike is selling socks on the streets of Brooklyn and informs us that if we don’t go watch his little movie that he’ll still be on the streets. Of course, Spike has come a long way from a struggling director. And so has the rest of the trailer. Instead of the men in the main character's life telling us who Nola Darling is, the trailer lets Nola speak for herself while we, the audience, look on in delight, wonder and judgment.
After Spike’s intro, we get a quick montage of Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) going on numerous dates. Instead of the boom bap of the ‘80s original, we get a jazzy musical score, more akin to what we’ve come to know and expect from a Spike Lee film. We then get the first words from Nola, matter-of-factly proclaiming to her therapist (played by actress and singer Heather Headley), “As a sex-positive, polyamorous pansexual, monogamy never even seemed like a remote possibility.” But in almost the same breath and in a different scene, she states, “I’m used to knowing what I want in relationships and in my art, but lately I’m just so confused.”
We’re then introduced to the different men in her life. There's the hilarious Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos), the spontaneous Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony) and the grown ass man Jamie (Lyriq Bent). She describes how each of these men satisfies her needs in different ways. The clip ends with a montage of scenes of Nola partying, brunching, sexing, dating and letting these dudes know quite frankly that she’s not a freak and not a sex addict, she’s just herself. As men (and women) try to define and own her, she’s just trying to define and own up to being herself – whoever that is.
She’s Gotta Have It will be available for streaming starting on November 23rd, and it definitely looks like one to watch. From the trailer, it looks like it will explore a niche of Black Girl Magic we haven't seen on the small screen before. It's a little less serious grown woman-ish than Queen Sugar, less tied up in race relations than Dear White People and goes a bit deeper into sexual liberty and exploration than Insecure. And, with Atlanta on hiatus, we're due for another show with some Black faces. While we probably won't huddle around the big screen with the family to watch this one during Thanksgiving weekend, we will definitely be binging this flick while Black Friday shopping online.