Entertainment

She's Gotta Have It shows sexual harrassment as relevant now as in 1986: Schneller

Just because the series' lead, Nola Darling, likes sex on her own terms does not give anyone licence to force it on her.

Painter Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise), right, with best friends Shemekka (Chyna Layne), left, and Clorinda (Margot Bingham) in She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix.

David Lee / Netflix

Painter Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise), right, with best friends Shemekka (Chyna Layne), left, and Clorinda (Margot Bingham) in She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix.

The Show: She’s Gotta Have It, Season 1, Episode 2 (Netflix)

The Moment: The mace

In present-day Fort Greene, Brooklyn, painter Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) has three lovers: businessman Jamie (Lyriq Bent); beautiful Greer (Cleo Anthony); and funny Mars (Anthony Ramos). But the other night, a stranger grabbed at her on the street. Though she pulled away, she’s rattled.

“I told all of them that piece of s— put his hands on me,” Nola tells her two best friends, Shemekka (Chyna Layne) and Clorinda (Margot Bingham).

“About time,” Clorinda says. “How you doing?”

“I thought I was fine,” Nola says. “But I maced some random guy last night,” while she was hanging her street art.

“Better him than you right?” Clorinda asks. “Admit it, Nola — it felt good, just blasting one off.”

“Did I enjoy hurting an innocent stranger? No,” Nola admits. “But if I’m being perfectly honest, it felt ...”

“Good,” Clorinda interrupts.

“Like clapping back at what I thought was another a—hole trying to grab up on me,” Nola finishes.

This series, adapted by writer/director Spike Lee from his breakout 1986 film, is everything everyone is talking about today: Just because Nola likes sex on her own terms does not give anyone licence to force it on her. Her street art is a one-woman anti-harassment campaign, posters of her face with words stamped across it: “MY NAME IS NOT SEXY SEXY SEXY,” “MY NAME IS NOT AY YO MA.”

You might think, “There’s no way Lee could have known how relevant this would be.” But of course, it would be relevant any time. We’re confronting harassment now. But as every #MeToo knows, it’s always been there.

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