The movie opens with a split screen of a woman packing the evolution of hip hop, through images of mixed tapes (Biz Markie, Monie Love, Angie B.), pictures of Boogie Down Productions, pictures of break dancers with Kangol hats and boom boxes, and posters of Salt and Pepa and Gang Starr. The song Love of My Life by The Roots is playing in the background. The song sets the tone of the metaphors that will become the basis of the story. Throughout the movie the main characters use hip hop music as a metaphor to their experiences and relationship.
The next image is of the main characters Sidney “Sid” (Sanaa Lathan), and Andre “Dre” (Taye Diggs) as 10-year-old children. Sidney is narrating about the interviews that she conducts as an editor-in-chief of a hip hop magazine. Her first question to her interviewee is, “So, when did you fall in love with hip hop?” The scene reminds me of When Harry Met Sally. In WHMS throughout the movie they ask couples how they met and fell in love. It’s the same faces in Brown Sugar when a slew of hip-hop artists are giving real accounts of when they first fell in love with hip hop. Their faces light up as they tell us the name or location of when and/or where they were when they heard the song that hooked them. Sidney says she remembers the first day she fell in love with hip hop. It was July 18, 1984. It’s the day she heard three MCs: Dana Dane, Slick Rick, and Doug E. Fresh. Of course, this is also the day she met Andre “Dre”.
The subtle rivalry between Sidney and Reese starts at Reese’s bridal shower. The guests play a game, “Who knows Dre?” Sid is the only one that can answer the questions (thoroughly). The subtle tolerance turns into a gym argument where Reese accuses Sidney of being in love with Dre, then tells Sidney that she has to beg for the secrets Dre freely gives to Sidney. The movie heats up when Dre and Sid share their first kiss on the night of Dre’s bachelor party. Dre quits his job as a A&R exec for a record company, then goes to Sid for support. The kiss starts off as a comfort peck but turns quickly into a sexy tongue lashing. They are both left shocked and confused. Ignoring all the warnings of that kiss, Dre marries Reese the following day. My favorite moment is when Francine finds out about the kiss during the wedding ceremony. She gets hyped and tells Sid, “…she’s about to marry your man,” & “That’s your man, say somethin’.” You gotta love girlfriends.
Brown Sugar has just the right amount of sweetness!
This review made me feel sentimental, so I added a few fun things:
I’m dedicating a playlist to my brother Quinton and my sister Tamisha (Mimi). This list reminds me of us in the ’90s when Quinton and Hemdee were going to be the World’s Greatest Rappers, and Mimi and I were going to be their back-up Dancing Queens. I love you both…dearly.
- The Show – Doug E. Fresh
- I Know You Got Soul – Eric B. and Rakim
- Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest
- Award Tour – A Tribe Called Quest
- La Schmoove – Fu Schnickens
- Rebirth of Slick – Digable Planets
- Me, Myself, and I – De La Soul
- Don’t Sweat the Technique – Eric B. and Rakim
- People Everyday – Arrested Development
- Tennessee – Arrested Development
- Let Me Clear My Throat – DJ Kool
If you have Spotify, click here to listen to the playlist!
- Reese (Nicole Parker), is married to Kelby (Boris Kodjoe)
- Sanaa Lathan is in 3 of our 5 reviews
- Taye Diggs was a back up dancer for Janet Jackson
- Queen Latifah was originally a Rapper, but now she is an Actress, Talk Show Host, and Jazz singer.