Love Lessons I Learned From “Brown Sugar”

February 3, 2012  |  
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Taking cues from romantic comedies and applying them to your real love life is always a risky proposition. After all, can you really expect things in real life to play out the same way they do in movies?

Well, yeah, you can. That’s the great thing about living! But if you’re not careful you could end up emulating idealistic behavior and circumstance based on a work of fiction. Ultimately you end up using real life to imitate art without the multi-million dollar backing of a Hollywood production to make sure your story has a happy ending.

Imagine the scores of middle-aged women who booked flights to the Carribbean to get their groove back, inspired by Terry McMillan’s novel and the resulting film, only to be struck with the post-happy ending reality: Stella’s “groove” is actually better suited for something closer to a Steve.

But in the beginning art does imitate life and if we go through your favorite love stories with a fine-tooth combed and monocle trained on realism, we’re certain to find those undeniable truisms that peaked your interest in the first place.

Here are the love lessons learned from Brown Sugar:

There’s a thin line between friend and lover

You probably don’t tell them enough, but you love your friends as well. Often, the only thing that keeps that love platonic is, well, anatomy. We all know the best lovers are the best friends.

That’s why boy-girl friendships, like in Brown Sugar, always stir up personal controversy one way or another. I mean really, if your best friend is the opposite sex, what’s really keeping you from shagging them instead of someone you don’t care about half as much?

Who and how we love starts young

In Brown Sugar, Sid (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre’s (Taye Diggs) love for one another and hip hop begins in adolescence, the time period where all your seminal lessons take shape. No one becomes a jealous, needy, giving or passionate lover when she comes of age. You’ve been learning how to give and receive love from the crib.

There’s love and then there’s marriage

One of the principal emotional struggles in Brown Sugar is when Dre marries a Reese. He’s a successful A&R rep, she’s a successful entertainment lawyer, together they’re match made in Ebony cover heaven.

Though the marriage looks good on paper and the surface, the couple lacks a deeper connection and understanding that comes with love. Ideally it’s great when love and marriage go hand in hand, but reality is far from ideal.

It’s important to love your work

When you spend 40 or more hours toiling away at a set of tasks just to earn a living, you’d better be enjoying what you do. Otherwise, a large chunk of your waking hours will suck.

The reality is many people are forced to choose making money over making joy, which is why you have to be thankful about movies like Brown Sugar, where dudes quit their jobs willy nilly in search of something called real hip hop.

Love waits for no one

For something that plays such an important role in your life, people leave a lot to chance where love is concerned. Few make any concerted effort to discover or be prepared for love. And waiting for love i.e. waiting for the right guy to step to you, waiting for him to tell you how he feels, waiting for him to pop the question, is the status quo.

Sidney waited until after Dre was a married man to allow her more than friendship love to start bubbling up. In the movies, you can wait until it’s too late and still find love but in real life–probably not so much.

 

Love can be unlikely

Some women go crazy with a laundry list of requirements for the man they think they will love: he’s gotta be tall, have a good paying job, funny, smart, sensitive, caring, know how to cook, have no baby mamas–sound familiar?

The truth is love doesn’t play according to rules. By definition, it is one or more emotions i.e. completely nonsensical. Like when Queen Latifah’s and Mos Def character end up being exactly what the other was looking for.

Love is absolutely confusing

If finding and falling in love were a straightforward process, we wouldn’t have movies like Brown Sugar in the first place. You wouldn’t get anxious or nervous, happy or sad, all over the same person you may or may not love. It would all be a lot more simple. And a lot more boring too.

 

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