An all-star cast of artists make a guest appearance in the second season of Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It.
In the fourth episode of the season, Brooklyn-based artist Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) gets a coveted invitation to an exclusive artist retreat on Martha’s Vineyard, where a slew of real-life artists—including Carrie Mae Weems, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Titus Kaphar, Juliana Huxtable, and Amy Sherald—make portfolio presentations, each introducing themselves along with their works.
Throughout the episode, there are cracks in the picturesque atmosphere, like when a tone-deaf white benefactor calls on his “soldiers in the struggle” to continue making art because it is the “last great bastion of black resistance.”
This isn’t the first time that Spike Lee has incorporated the work of real artists, thanks in large part to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, who is herself an artist and is featured in the episode. She first caught the attention of Lee with her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” campaign, and since then has been working as a consultant and creating paintings for the series (which, in the world of the show, are made by Darling).
The episode’s title, “#NationTime,” (which is also the name of the retreat) is an homage to Ameer Baraka’s seminal 1970 work It’s Nation Time, which became a rallying cry for the Black Power movement and inspired a free jazz album of the same name by Joe McPhee.
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