Brown Sugar (2002 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rick Famuyiwa|
|Produced by||Magic Johnson|
|Written by||Michael Elliot|
(story and screenplay)
Rick Famuyiwa (screenplay)
Nicole Ari Parker
|Music by||Robert Hurst|
|Edited by||Dirk Westervelt|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
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 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.
The movie was released in the US on October 11, 2002 and ran for 16 weeks, grossing $27,363,891 domestically and $952,560 in the foreign sector for a worldwide total of $28,316,451.
Brown Sugar is a film that follows the evolving relationship between Sidney (Sanaa Lathan), an attractive young woman who has just been appointed the editor-in-chief of the hip-hop magazine XXL, and Dre (Taye Diggs), an A&R for Millennium Records. They have been bound together since their early childhood. The news that Dre is preparing to be married to Reese (Nicole Ari Parker), a successful entertainment attorney, sends Sidney into a subconscious tizzy.
Suddenly, she doesn't seem to know how to behave around Dre anymore, and an impulsive kiss on the eve before his wedding sends fissures of doubt cracking in every direction. Dre gets married and begins to settle into his life when a decision to sign an untalented but commercially viable rap group forces Dre to choose between his love for true hip-hop and his job. He decides to quit his job and start his own record company, focusing on bringing back the real hip hop that his generation fell in love with. Reese, however, is not understanding and thus not supportive of this venture. Additionally, as Sidney draws closer to Dre due to their partnership in the label, jealousy develops over Dre and Sidney's friendship.
Sidney, who also has begun to live her life with a budding relationship with Kelby (Boris Kodjoe) receives a proposal from her boyfriend which she accepts. Turmoil ensues when Dre finds out Reese has been having secret liaisons with a man from the gym (who texts Reese to confirm a rendezvous). Dre brings Sid to bust her in the act. This leads to a night of shared passion between Dre and Sid and opens Sid's eyes to the fact she is not prepared to marry Kelby. She calls off the engagement and while searching for Dre sees Reese and Dre in a parting embrace that she misconstrues as more.
While at Hot 97 waiting for Cavi's (Mos Def) first single to play on the Angie Martinez show, Dre hears Sid talking about her new book I Used to Love H.I.M. Though based on her love affair with hip-hop, it really is a chronicled timeline of her love affair with Dre. He recognizes this and rushes over to the station to confront his feelings, as well. Meanwhile, in the production booth, Sid's cousin Francine (Queen Latifah) finally asks Cavi out on a date, which is something he has been trying for since their first meeting.
The film ends with Cavi's song playing in the same park where their love of hip-hop began.
- Taye Diggs — Andre Romulus 'Dre' Ellis
- Marc John Jefferies - Young Dre Ellis
- Sanaa Lathan — Sidney 'Sid' Shaw, Dre's best friend
- Aaliyyah Hill - Young Sidney
- Mos Def — Christopher Anton 'Cavi' Vichon, a cabby (and secret rapper) who later befriends Dre
- Nicole Ari Parker — Reese Marie Wiggam Ellis, a district attorney who later marries Dre
- Boris Kodjoe — Kelby Dawson, an NBA star who Sid meets and starts dating
- Queen Latifah — Francine, Sid's cousin
- Wendell Pierce - Simon, Dre's boss at Millennium Records
- Erik Weiner — Ren, half of The Hip Hop Dalmatians
- Reggi Wyns - Ten, half of The Hip Hop Dalmatians
- Venida Evans - Aunt Betty
- Liza Lapira - Hot 97 Receptionist
- Wyking Jones - Bartender
- Big Daddy Kane - Himself
- Kool G Rap — Himself
- Pete Rock — Himself
- De La Soul — Themselves
- Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought — Himself
- Jermaine Dupri — Himself
- Talib Kweli — Himself
- Common - Himself
- Method Man - Himself
- Slick Rick - Freestyler
- Dana Dane - Freestyler
- Jen Taylor - Boathouse Attendant
- Doug E. Fresh - Beatboxer
- Ahmir Thompson aka Questlove - Himself
- Russell Simmons - Himself
- Fabolous - Himself
- Beanie Sigel - Himself
- Angie Martinez - Herself
- Kimora Lee - Herself
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave Brown Sugar three out of four stars and said it was "more like a slice of black professional life" than a rap comedy, a film thoughtful about its characters, who he said were as deep and complex as those in Terry McMillan novels.
Awards and nominations
2003 NAACP Image Awards (nominations)
- Outstanding Motion Picture
- Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture — Taye Diggs
- Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture — Sanaa Lathan
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture — Mos Def
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture — Boris Kodjoe
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture — Queen Latifah
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture — Nicole Ari Parker