The Black Kino Fist: Black life as depicted in film history

She's Gotta Have it (1986)

After 22 years, Spike Lee's feature film debut still more than holds up for a bare bones production made on a shoestring budget in a dozen days. Shot on locations scattered around the Brooklyn native's neighborhood, this inner city romantic comedy chronicles the amorous misadventures of Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns), a sex-starved sister who, well, who has just gotta have it.Considered somewhat controversial at the time of its release due to a sexist double standard which deemed its heroine's sexual habits slutty, She's Gotta Have It worked, in part, precisely because of the novelty of her defiance. 
The film is also noteworthy because it launched not only Lee's historic career but that of numerous other African-American thespians like S. Epatha Merkerson and actors-turned-directors Eric Dickerson (Juice) and Reggie Hudlin (House Party). Finally, it features some of what would become Spike's trademark cinematic stylings, such as his having folks address the camera directly. New York Negro neurosis as source material for mirth, amusement and introspection, like a Woody Allen classic, only in blackface.
- Kam Williams
Status: Available for purchase

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