Spike Lee broke out as a successful film maker with his 1986 comedy She’s Gotta Have It. While well-reviewed, it was criticized by feminist scholar bell hooks and others for its one-dimensional, problematic character portrayal of its men and women. As Spike Lee continued growing as a filmmaker, his depictions of women improved with films such as Crooklyn and Bamboozled and their strong female characters. In  2017, Spike Lee returned to remake his first success as a newly revitalized series for Netflix, giving his character Nola Darling a fresh perspective, thanks to a behind-the-scenes team of women writers leading the way. This visual essay takes a close look at both the original and remake of She’s Gotta Have it, while also examining progressive steps Spike Lee has taken along the way to develop female characters who are successful, strong modern women.

 

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Kyra Beske

Creative Digital Media & Film Studies Double Major at Winona State University. Vice President of Phi Theta Chi Sorority. Intern for Treedome.