Director Spike Lee recently debuted She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. A retelling of the 1986 comedy-drama focusing on Nola Darling, a beautiful Black woman who is maneuvering between sexual relationships with three different men: James “Jimmy” Overstreet – the “polite” gentleman; Greer Childs – the narcissistic, self-obsessed pretty boy; and Mars Blackmon – the immature, innocent, and naive dream-chaser who lacks action and ambition.
Throughout Nola’s story she experiences twist and unexpected turns, in her quest for personal freedom and choice to live how she chooses; however, she stays true to her sexual liberation and her carefree decision to live how she desires.
While Nola is simply a character on a screen with a written script and story, she is symbolic of every woman who chooses to own her sexuality and to exist how they see fit. Nola is representation of every slanderous term created for woman who take ownership of their body – how they use it, who they allow into it, and not feeling a sliver of shame for doing what they please. Nola is every slut, hoe, trick, and whore that society labels women for not conforming to the ideology that the way you can be of value to a man or the world is by being virginal and virtuous.
Nola is the outspoken voice, rising against the silencing oppression of submission forced onto women in men’s attempt to maintain superiority and control of femininity. Nola is every Black woman who will not live in the shadows of male dominance, acting in accordance to patriarchal guidelines for the sake of masculine approval – while not being afraid to live in her own skin, needs, and satisfaction.
Nola is every woman that is not defined by a man or the presence of one, she is the unwavering confidence and self-assurance that holds free women in their convictions and self-validation. She is any woman that does not bow to the societal perception that preys upon the mental and psychological construction of Black women, convincing them that they exist solely for the purpose of catering to and being completed by a man. Nola is the collective voice screaming loudly that women are not defined by men; instead, by the inner-strength formed within themselves to live without credence or care to what others think or believe.
Nola, isn’t a character, she is freedom – Black women’s entitlement to self ownership. Nola is the hearty “FUCK YOU” to any and everyone that feels that a woman should color inside the lines and play by the rules. Nola is everything that Black women should be in their journey of self-discovery and life – liberated, unashamed, open, uncompromising of self, self-loving, accepting of who she is, and unafraid.
Nola is Black Women, and Black women are her! I am Nola, she is me!