The 2002 romantic comedy movie “Brown Sugar” is a film written by Michael Elliot and directed by Famuylwa, starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan who both play the leading roles in the movie. This movie starts with the two childhood friends, Andre (Dre) who is a successful Artist and Repertoire executive played by Taye Diggs and Sidney (Sid) who is an Editor and Chief play by actress Sanaa Lathan. At the beginning of the film, there is a question that is asked, “when did you fall in love with Hip-Hop?”, which is what the whole film was centered around. The two friends based their careers to a sentimental moment of their childhood when they both discovered Hip-Hop on a street corner in NYC. Fifteen years later, we find out that it’s more than just Hip-Hop that brings them back to that day on the corner. Sidney who is a successful editor for the magazine XXL is a passionate, stubborn, strong, and hardworking individual. She enjoys her job and loves what she does. In the movie, she finds herself confused after sleeping with her best friend of many years, Dre. She questions her decision immediately after. Dre Ellis who is the successful music executive and who is also very charming, intelligent, hardworking and a player. We later find out that Dre’s wife had an affair and after found that out, he had a drunken night out hanging with his best friend, Sidney which is what leads them to sleep with each other. Therefore, in the movie “Brown Sugar”, the two characters’ relationship is demonstrated using attraction of proximity, emotional intelligence, and passive aggression.
Sidney and Dre grew up together in the same neighborhood. They did everything together growing up. They played together, waited on each other and even found about Hip-Hop at that corner one day in New York. They explain that these two were just inseparable. Attraction proximity refers to how closely people together live or work and how often they interact. The relationship between Sidney and Dre started when they were young and continued over to their adulthood. Their daily interaction with each other is what made it so easy for them to sleep together during Dre’s vulnerability, after being devested by his wife affair. The fact that they spent most of their childhood together, talked and hung out with each other as adults created an attraction they didn’t even know was there until they slept together. It also then lead to their friendship developing a stronger intimate feeling for each other.
Throughout the movie, we see how both Sidney and Dre go through a series of different emotions towards either someone they dated or towards each other. In the beginning, their relationship with each other is more of a platonic relationship. However, after their one-night sexual encounter, they both realize that they have a deeper feeling for each other. Sidney then gets confused about her feelings for Dre because they’re supposed to be “just friends” and Dre was still married. So, to get her mind together with all these mixed emotions going on, she asks Dre for some space. She used what we would call emotional intelligence, which is the ability to perceive and understand emotion, use emotions to facilitate thought and manage their emotions constructively, and that’s exactly what Sidney did. She knew her emotions towards her had grown into something more intimate, but she also knew he was a married man, So, instead of acting out of emotion, she put her feelings aside, asked for her space to think things through. She didn’t want to ruin her friend’s marriage and she also didn’t want to get hurt. Dre, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. Instead of taking time alone to get over his wife, he went over his best friend’s house and slept with her thinking it would help him cope with his wife’s affair. Instead of thinking logically, he was acted irrationally base off his emotions. Which made it awkward between him and Sidney.
After what happened between the two, there was a conflict in their friendship. Sidney need her space because she felt bad, but at the same time, her feelings were growing stronger for Dre. Dre feelings grew for her too and he wanted to apologize to her for what happened, but he also wanted to tell her that he cared about her, but Sidney kept ignoring him. She would ignore his calls at home, tell her assistant at work to say she wasn’t there when he would call her at work. Then, when she finally wanted to speak to Dre about what happened and her feelings for him, Dre tells her that he worked it out his wife and he needed some space. Sidney then starts acting passive aggressive with Dre. Passive aggression is a pattern of behaving vengefully while denying that one has aggressive feelings. She told Dre “Congratulations” and walked away. He runs after asking her, “what was wrong?”, after catching her attitude. She replies with “nothing”, and that she was happy for him. After Dre comes to the realization that he doesn’t even love his wife anymore, he goes to talk to Sidney and she starts dodging him all over again. It isn’t until Dre is outside her window with a radio playing the song that both discovered and fell in love with Hip-Hop.
Brown Sugar is an excellent movie that put the concepts of the attraction of proximity, emotional intelligence, and passive aggression really in perspective. Sidney and Dre were two friends that grew up in the same neighborhood and that’s what transpired their love for each other. Although Sidney was acting passive aggressive and ignoring Dre, it was their emotional intelligence is what finally brought the two together. They realized it was Hip-Hop that made them fall in love with each other that day and they needed to be together for the rest of their lives.