Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It tells a familiar story in a new way

In 1986, young Black Brooklynite Spike Lee made his first feature-length film with a small budget and big aspirations. The plot was a simple but fresh one in that decade: Lee’s leading lady flipped the script on expected gender norms by playing a character with no shame about her sexual ambition, or her focus on her own pleasure. With its black-and-white polish and its documentary-style storytelling, She’s Gotta Have It the film gave the mainstream world a glimpse of Black urban life. Now, a new Netflix series has Lee rebooting his 30-year-old storyline, viewing She’s Gotta Have It through a modern lens. But can Lee in 2017 be as groundbreaking as he was 30 years ago?

Like the film, the series centers on Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise, of S…

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