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The film Brown Sugar is of two longtime best friends that share a love for hip-hop, and grow up to realize they are in love. Both of their careers were successful and were related to hip-hop, and although they went separate ways as they married to other people, they maintained their friendship, especially through their passion of hip-hop. For them, hip-hop was a passion.
Many films showed hip-hop as a passion of young people. It was considered a mainstream culture for the characters of those movies. In Brown Sugar, however, hip-hop was the passion of adults, who had turned this passion into a successful and realistic job, as oppose to the figures in other movies that become famous artists. The characters of Brown Sugar also value and appreciate the hip-hop music that sparks memories, rather than just liking mainstream rap. “”Brown Sugar,” which charts romantic passages in these lives, is a romantic comedy, yes, but one with characters who think and talk about their goals, and are working on hard decisions. For both Sidney and Dre, hip-hop music symbolizes a kind of perfect adolescent innocence, a purity they’re trying to return to as more cynical adults.” (rogerebert.com). They discovered hip-hop together and it is a major part of their friendship.
The main characters also have some “conventional” values, which sometimes seem to have been lost in gangster rap that is commonly associated with hip-hop. In gangsta rap culture, cheating and treating women as sexual objects is a common theme of rap songs. In this film, the subject of marriage, loyalty and cheating are a central topic. Loyalty in a relationship is very important, and disloyalty was a definite reason for divorce. This is very different from stereotypical “gangster” values.
Love is very important to these characters and is the main theme of Brown Sugar. Beyond success in one’s personal life, which is measured primarily by marriage in this movie, financial success is also valued. All main characters of this movie live off of “respectable” careers. Meanwhile, drugs and violence are barely mentioned, if not at all. It shows that huge hip-hop fans are not necessarily unstable and uncultured. This movie from 2003 is, in this way, very different from hip-hop themed movies from just a decade before.
The characters are not actually hip-hop artists. Although their careers are related to hip-hop and they are passionate about it, they have realistic careers, which differentiate them from the characters of other movies. It shows that respected and cultured adults can still be a part of hip-hop. Their love for hip-hop also represents their love for each other. “Her love for hip hop music is compared with her love of Dre.” (comingsoon.net)
Like any movie with hip-hop as a central theme, certain rap songs were very symbolic of the characters’ friendship. In Brown Sugar, however, the topic of the songs did not have a relevant topic or were a party or mainstream song. Rather, these songs are only relevant because they symbolize their friendship.
Like friendship, marriage is also a very important symbol of a connection between two people. This was the first hip-hop movie of the series that included marriage. The characters were also older than in other movies, so marriage was relevant.
The most obvious symbol of the movie was the vase that the friends got near the beginning of the movie, were they were mistaken as a couple. The vase appeared throughout the movie as their relationship developed. Their connection was the most important aspect of the film.
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