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MERECEDES J. HOWZE with legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.

You’ve read the title for this article and you’re probably sharpening your pitchforks as we speak, but let me explain…

Legendary director Spike Lee, in his first Netflix original series, remade his first feature film, “She’s Gotta Have It” (1988). And if it weren’t for the amazing score that accompanied the complicatedness of Nola Darling, I probably would not have finished the series.

My curiosity was only piqued to find out what jams Spike Lee had lined up on the show’s jukebox. Almost every scene is orchestrated by classics like Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work,” Mary J. Blige’s “My Life,” Force MD’s “Tender Love,” and Me’Shell NdegeOcello’s “Fool of Me.”

The show came to a sweet close with a tribute to the late, great Prince. This remake dabbles in art, politics, civil rights, free speech, and sexual orientation. But, the music is what dominates and overflows the plot pot like a syrupy sweet.

“She’s Gotta Have It,” which was released on Thanksgiving Day, follows the iconic Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) and her rendezvous with four different beaus; Greer (Cleo Anthony), Mars (Anthony Ramos), Jamie (Lyriq Bent), and Opal (Ilfenesh Hadera). Nola Darling (because you have to say her first and last name every time) is the Brooklyn beauty with a sexual appetite and a creative, inventive eye to match.

DeWanda Wise is picturesque. She’s woke, culturally responsive, and the perfect candidate to reincarnate the original Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns).

Overall, I was not completely blown away. As a result, Christmas is around the corner, and I have outlined my own “She’s Gotta Have It” wish list: I wish there was no remake. Just leave the 1986 version in the 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks vault.

I think Spike Lee could have used the same talented people, great music and gentrified Brooklyn setting with a different storyline. The redesign opens up conversations and comparison to the original, and leaves too many thoughts and details undone.

Assuming there will be a season two, I’ll still tune in because Spike Lee’s ingenuity and unique ear for quality music shines bright enough for me.

Also, I wish there was more background information like the soap operas. We didn’t get to see more about Nola Darling’s family, friends, or lovers. We really didn’t get much background information about Nola Darling, either. Everything was in the now.

Lastly, shoutout to Pittsburgh CAPA graduate and hometown homegirl Margot Bingham, who plays Nola Darling’s former roommate and friend, Clorinda.

 

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