Spike Lee’s ” She’s Gotta Have it” originally came to life in 1986. Over 30 years later, She’s Gotta Have it resurfaced this past thanksgiving in the form of a 10 episode series on Netflix. The main character Nola Darling, is a 27 year old artist living in Brooklyn, New York. Nola Darling identifies as a sex positive, polyamorous, pansexual.
She is in a romantic relationship with three men and briefly a woman, with no thoughts of commitment and she makes that clear throughout each episode. I personally enjoyed Spike Lee’s rebirth of “She’s Gotta Have it”. Although there were a lot of backlash to Lee’s series, I think that it is very relatable for millennials, in various aspects. After watching this series there was something very powerful that resonated with me on a personal level, which was Nola Darling’s street art campaign.
During the first episode, Nola Darling was assaulted by a man, as she was walking the blocks of Brooklyn. After this happened to her, fueled, hurt, and angry Nola Darling decides to create street art. She posted posters throughout Brooklyn starting with “My name Isn’t” which was the beginning of her campaign on the show. This in return sparked a real campaign where women of all races and backgrounds could identify with. On all social media platforms there were women of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds sharing their #mynameisnt stories regarding the issue of catcalling.
For myself as a young Black woman who has grown up in the city of Flint, Michigan I’ve experience “catcalling” so to speak, as young as 12 years old. Being at corner stores and or gas stations and older men calling me “little mama” or “baby girl” anything except my name. Most recently this has happened to me at work, where customers feel that it’s okay to call me “baby girl, or lil mama, or hey ma“. I’ve spoken to other young women whom I attend college with, and almost every one of these women has a story to tell regarding catcalling. I think it’s very sad and frustrating to know that this has happend for so long and with so many women and will continue to be a problem that many men don’t find anything wrong with.
The real artist behind the art work in the series She’s Gotta Have it, is a young Black woman by the name of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, who had a real life street art campaign “Stop Telling Women To Smile” which she said in a interview with artnet news, was sparked by her own experience with street harassment. Essentially “Stop Telling Woman To Smile”, brought upon “My Name Isn’t”. This is only the beginning of a conversation that is long over due. #Mynameisallahnastevie
Watch this Netflix video with different women taking a stance against street harassment: