All Articles Tagged "she’s gotta have it"
A Spike Lee Joint: The Director’s Most Captivating, Most Underrated, And Most Side-Eye Worthy Films Yet
In many ways, Spike Lee is a cinematic genius. He’s covered a wide range of topics that many folks in Hollywood wouldn’t touch with a five-foot pole. And in the process, he’s made some iconic films, some very underrated ones, and a few movies that just didn’t make any damn sense once the credits started rolling. But in the end, where would black films and black filmmakers be without the man? So here are a few of our favorites, a few that deserve more love, and a few that he maybe should have kept under wraps…
She’s Gotta Have It
To me, Spike Lee was one of the first, if not the first, directors to proudly tell the story of black women (and ladies in general) doing what men have been doing for years, but getting negatively labeled for–having a healthy sex life with no want or need for a relationship. Nola Darling was that character with that story, and with the smooth black and white way the film was shot, the vintage shots of Brooklyn, the style and the dialogue, it was one of those movies that could suck you in and keep you watching. Darling was a very unconventional heroine, and probably because she was so unapologetic about her lifestyle (“I am not a one man woman.”), and I for one, loved that. Even if I wouldn’t dare live the same way…
So who is trying to see Django Unchained tomorrow?
With all the media hype surrounding the film, the good reviews, the Golden Globe nominations, and the talk of sold-out shows, we can assume that the answer is “a lot of people.” But someone that we now know will not be down for Django whatsoever is Spike Lee. In an interview with VIBETV, when the famed director was asked about his opinions of Django Unchained and if he planned to see the film, he was pretty emphatic in his no, saying, “I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it. All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me…I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.”
Spike isn’t the first person to say something like this. FOR MONTHS, I’m talking, early in the year before the damn movie was midway into production, a lot of folks were crying foul, saying that Tarantino would try and make light of an extremely dark and ugly time in history that has affected so many. He had done something similar before in a positive (yet still uber-violent) way to pretty great reviews and an Academy Award win, when he released Inglourious Basterds. The movie was also a fictional revenge tale, but was centered around Jewish people from different backgrounds plotting to take out Hitler and Nazi leadership. Some of the reservations about Django I could understand. Let’s keep it real, Quentin doesn’t really keep things PG, and I know many people were and are still worried about images in the film, including a possible rape scene, being too graphic and uncomfortable for the sake of “art,” as well as use of the N-word in the dialogue. As someone who has seen all of his movies, I can understand why someone would be a bit worried. But there’s a difference between being worried about a movie, and trying to pan it when it hasn’t even come out yet. When you flat out condemn the movie, say that it’s another “Here Comes The White Man To Save The Day” type of work, or say something in the same vein as Spike’s comments, I always think to myself: How can you judge something so meticulously that you haven’t seen?
Seriously, that’s like someone saying they don’t want to meet and get to know you because people in your family have a personality that rubs them the wrong way. How can you assume something negative about someone you haven’t met? There’s something about people continuously saying the movie will be this and will be that and that equals why they won’t see it that comes off extremely close-minded. Can we all just keep it really real? If the storyline isn’t your cup of tea, then it’s totally okay to say that is why you don’t want to see it. If you’re not a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies, then you can say that is the reason you don’t want to see the movie or even be bothered with talking about it. But to discredit and make assumptions about the work, and the work of the fine actors in the film, just seems really unfair, and as a controversial director in his own right, I would have assumed that Spike Lee would understand why it’s not cool.
I’m a big fan of the movies of both of these men, and yes, they live for controversy because they like to think outside the box. This type of thinking has garnered them both a following, but also many critics. If I say there’s a new Spike Lee Joint coming out, a lot of people will roll their eyes because they don’t like Spike. They’ll assume it’s anti-white or something outrageous because they might not have understood where a classic movie like Do The Right Thing was coming from, or because they don’t like him as a person based on things they had seen or read. But to say a new movie of his, say a Red Hook Summer, is trash because of certain controversial scenes involving child abuse that you HEARD about, doesn’t make sense right? But people did it, and allowed that to overshadow the whole rest of the movie’s accomplishments. I’m sure Spike didn’t appreciate that.
As many people out there who close their minds to the great work Spike does because he makes some out-of-pocket comments from time to time, does some very different stuff in his moves and does some questionable things in everyday life, I wouldn’t think he would shut down a movie he hadn’t seen based purely on his assumptions about it. But then again, it seems he has more of a beef with Quentin than he really does his movies, as he clearly doesn’t like the director trying to tell black stories on-screen and the way he goes about doing so with the N-word (see his critiques of Tarantino’s film, Jackie Brown).
I’m not defending Tarantino, because, real talk, this movie could be a total failure and could rub a lot of people, including myself, the wrong way. And hey, it wouldn’t be the first time someone thought they were doing something epic that actually turned out to be a hot a** mess. But I would rather see the film and come to such a conclusion that it is or isn’t a mess, than to automatically assume it will be a hot a** mess and tell the whole world on camera, in a story, or in a comment section (no shade, I’m just saying). You don’t have to support mainstream directors trying their hand at stories of slavery and the struggle of black folks. (i.e., The Help, Twelve Years A Slave, The Butler, etc. Though the latter are directed by black men, clearly a lot of people don’t like that these are the stories people in Hollywood consistently want to work with) But before you question why someone gets an Academy Award nomination for such work, or pass judgment on the film, or throw shade at it for being loved by others, it would be nice if you actually had something to base your opinion on…you know, like actually having seen the movie and what not. But hey, to each their own.
Movies can be etched into our minds for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we are captivated by memorable performances. Others have great soundtracks that have us singing the songs long after the movie has ended. For some, we are magically transported to far flung exotic locales or back in time through stunning imagery and imaginative wardrobe and set design…
And sometimes, it’s the hair.
Here is a list of the top 10 movies that stick in our minds because the sistas knew how to rock their hair. An ode to our “Hair”oines…
10. Deliver Us From Eva (2003)
Who could forget Gabrielle Union as mega sourpuss Evangeline “Eva” Dandrige and her silky-maned sisters in this 2003 twist on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”? Some of the movie even takes place in sister Bethany’s hair salon, but the sisters themselves are the “mane” act in this movie.
Tags:aaliyah, Beauty Shop, billie holiday, black hair, Bryce Wilson, Carmen Jones, Coffy, deliver us from Eva, Diana Ross, Dorothy Dandridge, Dwan Smith, foxy brown, Gabrielle Union, hair heroines, Irene Cara, janet jackson, Lady Sings The Blues, Lonette McKee, pam grier, poetic justice, Queen Latifah, Queen of the Damned, Samantha McLachlan, Set it Off, she's gotta have it, Sparkle, Tracy Camilla Johns, Ursula
We’ve talked so much about underrated actresses in the past, but the ladies on this list are women who had huge breakthrough roles in some of our favorite movies. And while it was easy for us to see them having all the luck and reaching superstardom in Hollywood (or at least black Hollywood), things haven’t been that easy. We’re still hoping they’ll become household names sooner or later. Check out 9 black actresses and the movies that put them on our radar and help us figure out why they aren’t as big as the Gabrielles, Tarajis, Nias and more. Where are they now?
Tracy Camilla Johns
My hair idol! And also the heroine in one of my favorite films of all time. Tracy Camila Johns was dope as the sexually liberated Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. She knew what she wanted, and the number of men she wanted it with, and scoffed at the idea of monogamy and being a one-man woman (how do you like that!?). But after she breaking through in one of Spike’s first feature films, she kept the momentum going for a second, and then fizzled out. Johns went on to have a tiny role in Mo Better Blues, was the scandalous girlfriend of G in New Jack City, and had a small role in an early Air Jordan commercial, but after ’91, that was it. *sad face*
There’s nothing like a Spike Lee Joint. His pro-black, beautifully and artistically crafted films are layered with messages conveyed through his one of a kind imagery and dialogue. A Spike Lee Joint is guaranteed to make you laugh, maybe shed a tear or two and think. After you finish watching a Spike Lee Joint there’s bound to be discussion. Being that love is the strongest force it our world, it only makes sense that it shows up in several of his films.
Check the love lessons we’ve learned from some of our favorite Spike Lee joints.
**Spoiler Alert ** (if you haven’t seen some of these movies you might want to scroll on.)
Before there were fashionable films like Sex And The City and The Devil Wears Prada, there were a few films in black cinema that provided us with just as much influential fashion. These films highlighted the fashions of their time while also setting trends in the process. These trends were bold, fresh, and represented black America. From European inspired designs meshed with around-the- way styles, some of the fashion represented in these films is still relevant today.