Just over 30 years later, Spike Lee revisits his breakthrough film, "She's Gotta Have It," by expanding it into a 10-episode Netflix series.Temporarily setting aside the "Why" of that, what emerges is a reasonably entertaining, tangent-prone update distinguished by its star, De Wanda Wise, as the romantically omnivorous Nola Darling.
Just over 30 years later, Spike Lee revisits his breakthrough film, "She's Gotta Have It," by expanding it into a 10-episode Netflix series.Temporarily setting aside the "Why" of that, what emerges is a reasonably entertaining, tangent-prone update distinguished by its star, De Wanda Wise, as the romantically omnivorous Nola Darling.Darling’s white neighbors call the police and hold neighborhood meetings to report noise, loitering, funky smells, graffiti, and other perceived nuisances in their neighborhood.
The harm caused by the white gentrifier in the new “SGHI” is much more consequential: Bianca is not only able to summon the police, but she has Papo and Nola Darling arrested.Furthermore, he is a person of great wealth whose residential decisions serve to displace people—just as the residential decisions of gentrifiers with much less income than Lee also serve to displace people. Lee’s contradictions are not the result of a personal hypocrisy—and if they are, they are no worse than our own.We highlight such fragile contradictions to question our current understanding. g and his 40 Acres and a Mule company made Fort Greene a popular destination for wealthier residents may have inadvertently made that a self-fulfilling prophecy.Gentrification was not an issue in the original that he began teasing the menace of the invasion of white people into Black Brooklyn.When the white character Clifton bumps into Buggin’ Out (a young Giancarlo Esposito) scuffing his Jordans in the process, Buggin’ Out berates Clifton and questions his right to live in the neighborhood.When the scholar Marc Lamont Hill questioned him about this after Lee’s infamous 2014 diatribe against gentrification at Pratt Institute, Lee was more defensive than clarifying.The 2017 book Spike Lee is a “native” who—like many residents—is encouraging the gentrification that he dislikes.A new girlfriend has been added to Darling’s squadron, Rachel, who is white, and who was not in the original movie.Also, Darling and her squad are constantly under the surveillance of white Brooklynites as they go shopping, brunching, and drinking.That approach is especially evident here with five-plus hours of time allotted, as the show takes detours to bash Donald Trump, debate gentrification, acknowledge issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and liberally incorporate music into its structure.Unlike a movie, Lee has the time and latitude to develop side plots, with mixed success.