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Brown Sugar is a 2002 American romantic comedy film directed by Rick Famuyiwa (who also co-wrote the film), starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

The 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.

However, Reese 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 get married to 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 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 time line 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 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 as Andre "Dre" Romulus Ellis
  • Sanaa Lathan as Sidney "Sid" Shaw
  • Mos Def as Christopher "Cavi" Anton Vichon
  • Nicole Ari Parker as Reese Marie Wiggam Ellis
  • Boris Kodjoe as Kelby Dawson
  • Queen Latifah as Francine
  • Wendall Pierce as Simon
  • Eric Weiner as Ren
  • Reggi Wyns as Ten
  • Aaliyyah Hill as Young Sidney Shaw
  • Marc John Jeffries as Young Dre Ellis


Box Office

"Brown Sugar" debuted at #3 at the box office, grossing $10,738,882 during its opening weekend, coming in behind films Red Dragon and Sweet Home Alabama.

Domestically, it made $27,363,891 and $28,316,451 worldwide. It closed in theaters on January 30, 2003.

Critical Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was given a 66% approval rating based on 85 reviews, saying: "Though predictable and possibly too sweet, Brown Sugar is charming, well-acted, and smarter than typical rom-com fare".

It was also given an audience score of 90% with an average rating of 3.8\5.

On Metacritic, it was given a rating of 58% based on 28 reviews.

The San Francisco Chronicle called it a "delightful love story".

ReelViews' James Berardinelli said, "What Brown Sugar lacks in originality, it makes up for in charm".

Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars, saying: "Brown Sugar, advertised as a hip-hop comedy, is more like a slice of black professional life (there's not even an entire hip-hop song in the whole movie). Directed and co-written by Rick Famuyiwa, the movie returns to a world similar to his "The Wood", but the characters are deeper and more complex".

The Austin Chronicle gave the movie three stars, saying, "With all its emphasis on beat, Brown Sugar can't maintain a steady one, yet when it finds it, the film surely soars".


2003 BET Awards

  • Best Actress: Queen Latifah (won) (also for Chicago and Bringing Down the House)
  • Best Actor: Mos Def (nominiated)
  • Best Actress: Sanaa Lathan & Nicole Ari Parker (nominated)

2003 Black Reel Awards

  • Best Song (for the song "Love of My Life (Ode to Hip-Hop)" by Erykah Badu & Common) (won)
  • Best Film Soundtrack (nominated)
  • Theatrical-Best Actress: Sanaa Lathan (nominated)
  • Theatrical- Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted): Michael Elliot (nominated)
  • Best Song (for the song "Bring Your Heart" by Angie Stone) (nominated)

2003 Grammy Awards

  • Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (for the song "Love of My Life (Ode to Hip-Hop)" by Erykah Badu & Common) (nominated)

2003 Image Awards

  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Queen Latifah and Nicole Ari Parker (nominated)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Mos Def & Boris Kodjoe (nominated)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Sanaa Lathan (nominated)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Taye Diggs (nominated)

2003 Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie Liplock & Choice Movie Chemistry: Sanaa Lathan & Taye Diggs (nominated)
  • Choice Movie Breakout Star- Male: Mos Def (nominated)

Theatrical Trailer


Brown Sugar (2002) Trailer