Brown Sugar is a 2002 American romantic comedy film written by Michael Elliott and Rick Famuyiwa, directed by Famuyiwa, and starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan. The film is a story of a lifelong friends, A&R Andre and Editor-in-Chief Sidney.
The movie started with the question, When did you fall in love with Hip-Hop? At first, I didn’t know the significance of that question, until I got to the end of the movie.
It’s not the just the story of how Hip-Hop started and evolved, but it’s also a story about how love grew between two people.
Young Dre and Sid
The two can attribute their friendship and the launch of their careers to a single, seminal childhood moment – the day they discovered hip-hop on a New York street corner. Now some 15 years later, as they lay down the tracks toward their futures, hip-hop isn’t the only thing that keeps them coming back to that moment on the corner.
Sidney Shaw fell in love with Hip-Hop and later became a music journalist and a successful editor for the XXL magazine. She is smart, caring, strong, stubborn, hardworking, sensible, mature, clever, and passionate at what she does. In the movie, Sid served as the voice of reason, although she had her moments of being lost and confused, and when she slept with Dre. At least she made the right decision to ask for some space to think, and figure things out.She is played by actress, Sanaa Lathan.
Dre Ellis fell in love with Hip-Hop and later became a successful music executive. He is caring, fun, smart, stubborn, hardworking, charming, childish, and a player. In the movie, Dre is a bit messed up for me. He slept with Sid after finding out his wife cheated on him. It was hot, but I don’t consider it as the ultimate consummation of their love for each other. It was just wrong for me. He is played by actor and singer Taye Diggs.
For years, I binge on watching movies about best friends ending up together, but as I grew up, I realized that it’s bullsh*t to push the idea to people. Some writers, producers, and directors don’t understand the process of true love and relationships because if they do, they wouldn’t have done the particular movie theme. It doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of the idea, but I do believe that some best friends are meant to be together. And Brown Sugar is one of the movies, that is realistic and true.
They are not affected by the Westermarck Effect.
Because they had come to like each other first/ fell in love with each other first before they even became friends.
In the Westermarck Effect, men and women who grew up together in a close proximity have reached a certain level of intimacy and familiarity that prevents them from falling in love.
What’s great about Dre and Sid is that they fell in love with each other, the day they also fell in love with hip hop. I always consider the first meeting to be important. I’m glad that they included it in the movie and they showed how important it was.
Dre getting engaged with Reese was the trigger of Sid’s secret feelings to come out, and it somehow also triggered Dre’s when they kissed the night before he got married. At first they tried to live their lives like before, but it didn’t work out because of the closeness they have and when Dre quit his job and told Sid first before his wife, Reese.
This is where I relate the quote of Antoine de Saint-Exupery below.
In the movie, Dre and Sid grew up keeping the same direction which is hip hop. They may have different careers, but their careers still involves hip-hop. It’s the factor that held them close to each other including the other factors that they grew up together, and they’re great friends.
Their chemistry in the movie started with Activity chemistry, when they discovered and fell in love with hip-hop when they were ten years old. As a person, we love to spend time with people who has the same interests with us, and the one who shares a hobby, and/or a passion with us.
Due to the 15 years of friendship between them, it made them very familiar of each other. In the movie, I saw the frequent times, Dre went to Sid, despite being married. When it comes to relationship, when the attachment had formed, we want to stick with them. And here, we can see that Dre is glued to Sid despite being married.
As for their Personality and Compatibility, Sid and Dre has compatible personalities, lifestyle, and careers. They are a team. He writes, creates, and/or produces music, and she writes a review about it. Dre is the thinker and the doer. Sid is also a thinker, a doer, and a supporter. She’s the voice of reason and support to Dre. And Dre also supports and believes in her.
As for the Principle of Completion, Sid gave Dre his key feeling. She supported him in everything as shown on the scene when he told her that he’s going to make his own record label and she became a financial source to him. She told him, “Look, you’re my best friend. There’s nobody who believes in you more than me.” She helped him make his dreams come true, contrary to what his wife did. His wife, Reese, doesn’t know better and she just treated his dream as a hobby.
At the same time, Dre also gave Sid her key feeling to feel complete. He appreciates her as a person, as a friend, and especially her skills as a writer, as an editor, and as a music journalist. He still remembers her first article, and he reads her column on the L.A. Times religiously, because it makes him feel closer to her. Compared to Kelby, her fiance, who only read the article she wrote about him. Sure, I’ll give him some break and consider that he did promised to read all her work, he takes care of her, he cooks for her, and he’s trying to accept Sid’s friendship with Dre.
The problem is Sid is not just committed to him, the way she’s committed to Dre and his dreams and to her work. Her relationship with Kelby is a relationship that’s bound to end from the start.
Another good thing going on between them is their Intimacy. Sid and Dre already have emotional intimacy because of their 15 years of friendship. And that intimacy equates to the level of familiarity the characters have. That familiarity provided the characters a comfort blanket that made them stick to each other.
As for Dre and Sid’s Lovemap, I will compare it to the research John Money, Emeritus Psychologist and Sexologist, had done years ago with kids. He conducted a research with kids ages from 8 to 11 years old. It is where he showed them pictures of other kids and made them choose. Then several years later, he got back to them and discovered that majority of them were married to the person who’s got a similarity to the person they chose from the pictures.
That research also applied to Sid and Dre. The only difference is they grew up together. They molded each other’s lovemap as they grew up. They both love hip-hop which served as a glue to their friendship and which led them to fall in love with each other. As time goes by, that friendship and love became deeper and more mature. And when that happened, that’s where romantic chemistry and sexual chemistry set in.
In the movie, Sid finished her book and called it “I Used To Love Him“, she described it as her love letter to hip-hop.
Her final words in her book.
I always thought, one day I would outgrow my relationship with hip-hop.
I never thought it was a fad, like many.
But I never thought it could grow and mature.
I thought it would be an adolescent memory I’d look back on, like a crush on the captain of the football team.
But I realize we have more than that. Much more.
We have a history…a friendship.
We listen to each other.
We laugh together.
We finish each other’s lyrics.
I don’t have to pretend with hip-hop, and hip-hop doesn’t have to pretend with me.
My feelings have never been more clear, and I know they will never go away.
Just like any best friends who crossed the line of friendship to love, their is a bump and that’s the fear that the relationship might not work, and they might lose the friendship. Which is what happened to Sid. So in the last scene, after some time had passed, it was finally revealed to everyone that Hip-hop is Dre to Sid. She said.
During Sid’s interview in Hot 97, Dre called and asked her the question back, “When did you fall in love with Hip-Hop?” She finally told him the truth and he told her.
“Sidney… I have loved you from the first time I laid eyes on you.
And I love you still. You’re my air.
So, I don’t want to be your friend no more.”
This is the first time where Sid and Dre told each other that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time after everything that happened between them. It’s doesn’t exactly follow the process or stages of love I wrote about, but it is realistic. After all, love doesn’t care if it’s proper or right, it just wants to exist. And that’s why we all have brains to make the right decision and not just follow our heart all time. Because our emotions, when it comes to love, relationships, and decision making, it can also be governed by being lost, confusion, stress, lust, and more.
What I can say with the script is it was clever. I love the research they made. How they wrote the love story, and include hip-hop in it. It’s probably a very simple story, but it’s the kind of movie every in loved best friends should watch. It’s the kind of movie, you’d want to watch and get that good feeling in the end, also the really good and thrilling feeling of falling in love. The theme of the movie is subtle, the script wasn’t preachy, the scenes, and the chemistry of the actors are not forced. It is a movie, that will make you laugh, cry, fall in love, and feel the thrill for almost two hours.
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