She’s Gotta Have It was Lee’s first feature length motion picture as a writer/director and a landmark independent film of American cinema.
The film was shot in twelve days during the summer of 1985 on a budget of $175,000 and grossed $7,137,502 at the U.S. box office. Spike Lee details his trials and consolations on the making and distribution of the film in the book Spike Lee’s Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking. The highly stylized, black-and-white film features a jazz score by Lee’s father, Bill. Culture critic Nelson George, a personal friend of Lee’s, was one of the film’s main investors
"It’s really about control, my body, my mind. Who was going to own it? Them? Or me? I’m not a one-man woman. Bottom line."