‘She’s Gotta Have It’ writer responds to show being called ‘Trash’ by John Boyega

The second season of Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It is in hot water with some viewers after an episode maligning our brothers and sisters from across the pond was called, “Trash,” by actor, John Boyega.

In the fifth episode of the season, main character Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) and her new love interest Olumide “Olu” Owoye (Michael Luwoye) are having a spirited discussion about how Black British actors’ have seemingly been taking over Hollywood.

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“Black British actors are better suited than black American actors because they don’t carry the burden of … f—ed up black American history. Lynching, slavery, Jim Crow, all of that,” Olu opines to his beloved.

To which the outspoken Nola pushes back with, “You’re not unburdened, Olu!”

“British ships were the dominant force in the Atlantic Slave Trade,” she continues. “Almost two million kidnapped Africans died in the Middle Passage. You and your Black British blokes didn’t come out unscathed. You just developed Stockholm syndrome, and fell in love with your captors.”

Nola also makes it a point at the top of the scene to mock John Boyega’s last name by referring to him as “bodega.”

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When British fans started to speak up about the dismissive and divisive narrative being perpetuated by the scene, the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker actor responded by tweeting out one word, “Trash.”

Show creator Spike Lee seemed unfazed by the outrage and chimed in on his Instagram page, “Truth hurts?” But according IndieWireShe’s Gotta Have It writer and supervising producer Barry Michael Cooper took the time to more thoroughly address Boyega’s tweet as well as the larger concerns with the show’s messaging.

“In all fairness, Mr. Boyega, you have every right to be incensed by the intentional mispronunciation of you and Mr. [Chiwetel] Ejiofor’s names. My apologies to you both,” writes Cooper.

“I wrote Nola’s politicized screed not only to be provocative, but to also bracket her riposte with a historical reference. Nola’s measured diatribe was a means of informing Olu (which also literally aroused him, based on the ferocity of their sex in the following scene), and to stir the viewers, too. I wanted to write a scene that would inspire a Transatlantic and intra-racial discussion about slavery and the emotional keloids that continue to scar the African diaspora to this very day.”

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