1. The Star. Dewanda Wise, the current embodiment of "Nola Darling" is breathtakingly beautiful. I better see that fantastic visage and gorgeous auburn curls on all the magazine covers. Y'all round here sweating Jennifer Lawrence and company. Tuh. And you know I am already in lens love with her real-life husband who slayed his complicated, multifaceted role in the late, great Underground.
2. The Music. Spike Lee should have run Motown, Bad Boy, G Unit, Hidden Beach, whatever you want to name. That man has an ear that is incredible. And I love the way he feted our modern day muses, Brian McKnight, Solange, and Full Force with the same level of elevation he has past jazz greats. I want and need this soundtrack on my Spotify.
3. Blackness. Blackness in all its warm, uplifting, soul-stirring, relateable realness, is the uncredited star of this series. From the #BlackLivesMatter shout out to the glistening bronze skin of all these actors to Spike Lee's undying love for the POC-filled borough that truly make America great again.
4. The Cinematography. Okay, you know Spike Lee. You know how he gets down. Admittedly, I was a little worried about it after seeing the first round of some very (ahem) Avante-garde looking trailers for the show, but I should be ashamed of myself. The vivid colors, on-camera confidentials and one super cool angle of Nola jumping for joy on her bed chased away any fears the OG Mars Blackmon was slipping. He could never.
5. The Artistry. Nola's portraits, including the very stirring (and shrewdly placed) one of Malcolm X during the first episode, are stunning and unapologetic slices of African American life. Though much is made of the economic hardship of the artist life, the lushness and importance of their work is made just as vivid as the images they paint. Lee also includes an open letter to politicians about under-funding the arts and the detrimental effects on students through one of Nola's "day gigs" at a school. Show ya right, Spike. Show ya right.
6. That Raqualetta Marks Monologue. You need to hit that Episode 5, 22-minute mark and if this powerful staccato-delivered manifesto does not move you, question yourself deeply.