That’s the story, folks, and the details hardly matter. Yet, unlike any white-directed films of the time, when blacks were nearly always portrayed as drug addicts or criminals of various sorts, these citizens of the Fort Greene, Brooklyn area, are all healthy, normal beings with their own desires and achievements—a truly refreshing change in the portrayal of the black community. Even the doctor (S. Epatha Merkerson) who Nola visits when she is told that she has nymphomaniac tendences, pronounces Nola’s sex life as normal and healthy.
In that sense Nola is special, but in Lee’s telling she is also an everywoman who seeks to define her own role in society in which she lives. Nola, I would suspect, also knows that women have always been some of the strongest forces in black communities, often defining themselves as a moral compass to their men. Whether this is a myth or not, it does appear again and again in the most objective of literary and cinematic works about blacks.