It’s been a decade since the release but Brown Sugar still rings true to me as a love story. I know that technically the main characters, Sydney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre’ (Taye Diggs), cheat on their significant others in order to find true love; but we’ll get back to that in a minute.
Contrary to conventional thought, the relationship that stands out to me the most is that of Sydney and Francine (Queen Latifah). Yes, the cousins not the lovers. I love that two relatives that can often be considered distant are so close. They know each other, play together, and most importantly have each other’s back. This is the way family should be but too often we see familial relationships that become catty and adversarial.
Sydney and Francine have a relationship that is as full of life as they are. And to add a little spice to the brown sugar – they are both strong black woman, full of heart and opinions. It is an uncorrupted, and beautifully depicted, relationship.
Returning to the lovers, Syd and Dre eventually recognize they share something more than friendship. Syd says to Dre, “You are my best friend. There is nobody that believes in you more than me”. =Syd makes quite a claim with that statement and the beauty of that statement is profound.
As much as I love watching the interactions in this movie – Brown Sugar reveals some serious dysfunction. Syd and Dre discover their passion through infidelity to their significant other. Dre seriously lacks a healthy balance between his wife and his best friend. Word to the wise: never tell your best friend something you haven’t shared with your spouse. And then Dre’s hypocrisy is clear when he breaks his marriage vows but then embarrasses his wife for doing the same.
So is it said that Dre and Reese don’t work out? Is it unfortunate that Syd and Kelby split despite their chemistry? Of course. But it’s also life.
Despite the dysfunction, I love this movie – not just because my favorite actors are in it (Taye, Sanaa, and Mos Def) and my favorite artists (India Arie, Erykah Badu, Mary J., Mos Def, and Common) – but I love this movie because it makes me cry every time I watch it. The only thing that beats seeing our people creating positivity is seeing our people in love.
Brown Sugar – I used to love you, and I still do.
Danielle Wright is Editor and Publisher of the upcoming online publication, Breakthrough Magazine at www.breakthroughmag.com. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University’s theatre program and Florida State University’s graduate arts administration program. Danielle is a director, actress, and stage manager in Atlanta, GA. She can be contacted at DWonstage@gmail.com.