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Who are the ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ artists amplifying Black creativity?

Our protagonist in the Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It is an artist. Much of the story in season 2 is about how she struggles to fulfill her most authentic creative destiny.

Nola Darling’s work in the series is honest and increasingly political, as she navigates blackness, womanhood, and queerness all together informing her art.

Darling’s art is based on Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Brooklyn based artist whose work is anything but apolitical. Fazlalizadeh is an artist with great talent and activism which we explore in a recent article.

In the #NationTime episode, Fazlalizadeh makes a cameo presenting her art along with several other artists. But who are they?

First up is Carrie Mae Weems.

Born in Portland Oregon to Carrie Polk and Myrlie Weems in 1953, Carrie Mae Weems became interested in the arts at a young age. She began participating in street theatre and dance at 12. Political thought also often informed her work.

In her young adulthood, she joined a Marxist organization and worked as an organizer for a decade. Her work using the medium of black and white photography highlights the reality of being Black in America.

Her art also explores family relationships and domesticity, namely in her 1990 “Kitchen Table Series.” Her piece in the Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It is “The Shape of Things.” Carrie Mae Weems took the photograph while in Africa in 1993. The photo depicts an elegant architecture from Djenné, Mali which suggests the female form.

Tschabalala Self


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The episode #NationTime also features artist Tschabalala Self. A painter, Self presents her piece “Milk Chocolate.” The piece depicts a sexualized Black female body.

Based in New Haven, CT, Tschabalala Self considers her current body of work to be “primarily devoted to examining the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality” through the Black female body.

Doreen Garner

Dorreen Garner, a sculptor, presents her piece “Saartjie’s Triangle,” inspired by the South African woman (Sara) Saartjie Baartman. Saartjie was a victim of sex trafficking in the 19th century and subject to horrific treatment exhibited as a freak show attraction in Europe.

Garner’s sculptures are intentionally lifelike and traumatic. Her work seeks to highlight trauma. Her latest project is called “White Man on a Pedestal” based on J. Marion Sims who is considered the father of modern gynecology and achieved this title through torturing Black women.

He performed surgeries on black women without anesthesia.  He claimed that Black people did not experience pain and therefore did not need the anesthesia. Garner’s work seeks to place this trauma and pain in plain view for onlookers to experience without the ability to turn away.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier is a visual artist, photographer, and advocate. Her work addresses industrialism, rustbelt revitalization, and environmental justice, healthcare inequity as well as family and communal history.

Her “Flint is Family” series on #Nation Time, depicts black and white photographs of the devastation of the lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan’s water supply. ELLE Magazine published the “Flint is Family” series in the 2016 September issue.

Frazier produced a photo documentary with the same title, placing her subjects as the main storytellers.

Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar, painter and sculptor presents his piece “Seeing Through Time.” His work specifically seeks to recontextualize the past into contemporary relevance.

The interiors of his work, the materials that he uses, intentionally lay bare in the same line of logic. What is often left beneath artwork is brought to the forefront of the art. “Seeing Through Time,” depicts the outline of a painting of a likely white woman a young black boy serving her.

Inside the outline of the woman is the face of a Black woman. The painting along with Kaphar’s other work shows the hidden truth beneath commended works of art and the symbolism of their history in America.

UncuttArt (aka Re.Mark.Able)

The next artist in #Nation Time is ‘Re.Mark.Able’ who is actually the artist UncuttArt, known for his work “Protect Yo HeART.”

‘Re.Mark.Able’ presents a piece called “Duality.” UncuttArt’s “Protect Yo HeART” work seeks to promote wellness, self-love, and mental and emotional health. His skills are largely self-taught, including designing clothing.

UncuttArt’s work is deeply entrenched in social media and urban spaces. You can peep his interview with Kulture Hub on IG here.

Juliana Huxtable


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#done #thankgodesss #sleepdeprived

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Juliana Huxtable is a DJ performance artist, painter, and writer. Her work is informed by intersectionality and self-expression.

Her sculpture work in “Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm)” presents a feminine figure in the style of Nubian and Egyptian art. The figure has a triumphant Black identity that explores femininity and sexuality, as its creator was born intersex and raised male.

Huxtable’s piece in #NationTime “Transexual Empire,” does something similar. It has a futuristic and celebratory air of sexual diversity.

Amy Sherald

Painter, Amy Sherald presents “She Always Believed the Good in Those She Loved.” Her most notable painting, however, may be Michelle Obama’s portrait. Sherald’s career has spanned decades even before Mrs. Obama’s portrait reveal. Skin tones are distinctly grayscale across her paintings.

The titles of her latest works seek to tell a story about who the subjects are. The Obama portrait was particularly important because of the context of Black images in the National Portrait Gallery.

Michelle Obama’s portrait is one that commands notice.

Kennedy Yanko


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I was given a name, I took what worked and left what didn’t. . . . #inthestudio 📸 @dylanbeckmanphoto

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Kennedy Yanko was not exhibited in the #NationTime episode but she did appear on She’s Gotta Have It as Reed, a fellow artist.

Yanko is a painter-sculptor based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. On the show, she explains her work as being a way to make certain materials such as metal and marble into organic visuals.

She connects all materials to their natural essence, into atoms.

The artists showcased in She’s Gotta Have It gives validity and identity to a show that seeks to amplify Black art. The artists are all distinct and powerful in the way they command their craft.


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