Netflix continues to take the risks that major networks are scared to approach. The most recent example is its acquisition and adaptation of Spike Lee’s upcoming series She’s Gotta Have It, based on his debut 1986 film, which debuts Thanksgiving.
CASSIUS sat down with the series breakout star DeWanda Wise, who tackles the role of Nola Darling. Originally played by Tracy Camilla Johns in the film, Darling is the perfect representation of a sex-positive, independent and unforgettable character.
“I’ve always wanted to play our cinematic icons – and we can probably count them on two hands,” she tells CASSIUS. “There’s Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, Nia Long’s character in ‘Love Jones.’ It starts to get real iffy after Nola Darling in ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’ Spike sent me all 10 scripts so I got to see and know her journey. Spike is a super clear and direct human being. He was like, ‘Do you want to do this?’”
When she accepted the role, she was working on “Underground” with her husband Alano Miller, whom she says is very respectful of her super sexually-empowered role in the series.
“We were very, very specific about what was and was not permitted. While viewers will only see the freedom of it, there’s a lot you don’t see,” she said. “For example, you will never see any of my co-stars touching or fondling my boobs. There’s no frontal on the show. [My husband and I] were super specific about our love and marriage, and keeping what’s special and intimate, special and intimate. What turns me on, only Alano knows that.”
And with the sexually charged content, she tells CASSIUS she’s excited to have men watch it and find themselves.
“Nola’s artwork is based on a real artist’s street campaign, “Stop Telling Women To Smile.” Men don’t really understand [that street harassment] is problematic. But they are telling women how to express themselves and that they’re only pleasing if they’re in a good mood. There are these small things, habits that we shed light on in the show that feel innocent, but we would all be served if we were a little more self-aware.
As for her best advice for men, she says, Just this: You’ve heard so many guys say, “I’m looking for my Michelle.” But are you her Obama? That’s my advice.
Catch the full interview on CASSIUS by clicking here, and make sure to catch She’s Gotta Have It when it hits Netflix on November 23.