Looking for a Slightly Oldie But Goodie Flick: Check out “Brown Sugar” with Sanaa Lathan & Taye Diggs

As you can guess, graduation has gotten me a little behind on the blogging. No worries. I’m still here. And I’ve got several movie reviews coming down the pike. But instead of looking forward, I decided to do a little reminiscing on some of the best (and often overlooked) movies of the past. Check out my review of the 2001 flick Brown Sugar.

“Hip-Hop: You are the Love of My Life.”

It’s rare to find a movie that mixes music, culture, humor and love in an artistic and intelligent manner. Brown Sugar (2002) starring Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs does just that. It’s a refreshing romantic comedy that features the unsung love between two old friends and their love affair with the tie that bonds them – hip-hop.

Pete Rock, De La Soul, Method Man, Jermaine Dupre, Common and Russell Simmons. These are just a few of hip-hop music‘s greats. Brown Sugar opens with their honest and revealing responses to the question: “So when did you fall in love with hip-hop?”

This is the question that Sidney Shaw (Sanaa Lathan), a music journalist, has asked of her interviewees for the past 10 years. It is also the question of her life. In the beginning, her answer was simple. “I remember the very first day I fell in love with hip hop. It was July 18, 1984.”

It’s no coincidence that this day was also the day she met Dre Ellis (Taye Diggs) on a New York brownstone stoop 15 years ago. (The film was one of the first productions to shoot on location in New York after 9/11.) Both of them stopped to stare at a lyrical battle in the Bronx between rappers Doug E. Fresh, Dana Dane, and Slick Rick the Ruler. This moment was their initiation into the hip-hop culture and forever defined their love for the genre.

The two impressionable youngsters let music be their life’s guide. Dre became a well-known record producer and executive for a major record label. And Sidney has succeeded in her career as a film critic, working first for the Los Angeles Times and then as editor of hip-hop magazine, XXL. She is also authoring a book on her love affair with rap music.  Her discussion of hip-hop for the manuscript serves as the poetic thread and shining star that guides the story along.

Although Sidney and Dre seem to be perfect for one another and have a lot in common like music and childhood experiences, they’ve never pursued a relationship. Instead, they’ve kept it platonic and remained close — just like their rapport with hip-hop.

“For many people, hip-hop was that first friend. The first to talk to us. The first to understand. Hip-hop has always been that kind of friend to me. Like any relationship, I’ve watched it grow. I’ve watched it change,” said Sidney as she typed her manuscript.

Somewhat of a workaholic, Sidney hasn’t made much time for romance. On the other hand, smooth and suave Dre is quite the player who has had his choice of women. However after dating one special woman for a couple of months, a beautiful entertainment attorney Reese (Nicole Ari Parker of TV’s “Soul Food”), who he calls “brown sugar” because she is “wifey material” – smart and fine, he decides to pop the question.  Reese, who doesn’t yet realize the strong connection between Sidney and Dre, joyfully accepts.

As Dre’s best friend, Sidney does her best to fight her feelings and support his upcoming nuptials and relationship with Reese, who quickly learns that their relationship comes second to his friendship with Sid.  Dre’s impending marriage to Reese only continues to stirs up Sidney’s emotions that she’s trying her best to ignore. Her cousin and friend, Francine (Queen Latifah), tells her she should fight for her man. In Francine’s words, Sidney could get the best of both worlds – “the buddy and the booty.”

Although there are a couple of bumps along the walk down the aisle, Dre and now jealous Reese manage to get married. And maybe, just maybe, the two old chums are better of as friends?

Dwayne Johnson as the Angry “Rock Obama” on Saturday Night Live

Since his entry into the national political landscape, most of us have been wondering when will the ultra smooth, never ruffled President Barack Obama lose his cool? Well, Saturday Night Live and Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock”) answer this question for us in a recent skit. A staffer prods President Obama to get angry with Republican Senators who oppose his bills. After a round of questions peppered with baby insults, Obama finally gets mad (in a “Hulk-like” fashion). So now people know… when Barack Obama becomes angry — he really turns into the “Rock Obama.” Check out the video.

What CB’s Jammin To: Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It” featuring T-Pain

Blame It – Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain

It’s been a minute since I posted a music favorite because I honestly have to FEEL the song. Well, Jamie Foxx gets this CARAMEL BELLA’s music pick. His latest, “Blame It,” featuring T-Pain, off his “Intuition” album is soo hot that it hasn’t left my CD changer or iTunes since I started playing it. I commute about 30 minutes to graduate school  each day and sometimes I repeat the song the whole way (yes, I know.. a bit excessive).  It’s just what a girl needs to get excited about the day (and wake up).

But speaking of the song and its lyrics. You have to love the lines:

“She said she usually don’t…But I know that she fronts. ‘Cause shorty knows what she wants. She doesn’t want to seem like she’s easy..”

So ladies, do we blame alcohol for our intimate (*wink*) indiscretions? And fellas, do you buy the bellas drinks to lower their inhibitions?? Hmmm.. Interesting things to ponder while shaking your butt to Foxx’s “Blame It.”

And check out all the celebrities in the video (directed by Hype Williams): Forrest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, and of course T-Pain. It seems more like a mini-movie than your usual hip hop video fare.



The Caramel Bella

The Dangers of the Rihanna Photo Leak


The country is going nuts over the Rihanna and Chris Brown story in which he allegedly hit her. And more recently, TMZ’s battered and bruised photo of Rihanna was leaked all over the internet. Has anyone stopped to wonder if the photo leak was a good idea. First of all, poor Rihanna. What about her privacy rights? How could the Los Angeles Police Department leak this photo? It’s like someone should have to pay for her privacy breach. It’s bad enough that she had to go through this whole incident without seeing a picture of her battered face splattered on the front page of several magazines and all over the Internet (I hate posting the picture here).

And recently, an ABC News story reports that Rihanna’s unauthorized photo may discourage other domestic violence victims from reporting the abuse. “For victims who see these kinds of pictures it’s all too real,” said Bea Hanson to ABC News.  Hanson is “chief programming officer at victim assistance agency Safe Horizon in New York City, who routinely treats women who have endured domestic violence.” The media and the police (who leaked the photo) seems to have gone too far — and with little regard to the women both organizations claim they want to protect.

Weave Saves Life..Unbeweaveable

We all know that hair weaves are the latest beauty craze. From Beyonce to Britney Spears, most celebs are donning hair extensions to look even more fab (which is highly debatable). But what if weaves served a greater purpose? Like saving someone’s life? That’s what a Kansas City woman claims. After ending an 8-month relationship with her boyfriend, Briana Bonds says he tried to shoot her after an incident in a grocery store parking lot. Instead of the bullet reaching her head, it got lodged in her tightly woven weave! “I now believe the weave paused the bullet, and didn’t let it go any further. Really I think God was in my passenger seat. He protected me,” said Bonds to police officers on the scene. This whole story is just unbeweaveable…

The Caramel Bella is Going to the Inauguration of Barack Obama


Yes, I am going to the Inauguration 2009. And I must confess. I am feeling a little under-excited. And I honestly don’t know why. (Maybe it is the cold weather, the large crowds, the tremendous logistics involved, the financial expense, etc.) This is probably THE most historic presidency of my lifetime – at least that is what I am being told by almost everyone around me. And a part of me believes this statement. Whenever people super-hype things, I always take a teeny step back. (Maybe it is because I personally believe I will witness tons of firsts – including a woman elected president, other people of color as president or global leaders in addition to the greatest thing of all – world peace and an end to terrorism.)

With that being said, I will probably become swept up in the moment once I arrive to DC (via two planes..sigh). The presidency of Barack Obama is something truly worthy of celebrating. The United States has a chance to change course.

So why the sense of trepidation about this fantastic moment? Well, I can’t help but think of the costs of this super Inauguration spent by myself, others and the United States government while this country is in a serious recession/depression. And I am trying to remember the thousands of people that are losing and have lost their jobs during the economic fallout.

But I guess I’m digressing from the beauty of the moment.The Obama electoral win shows that the United States has (at some level) shifted its consciousness to a place where people are being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, which was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. There is no coincidence that Obama was elected during this time in history and will assume the presidency the day after MLK’s birthday. There are no coincidences.

This consciousness shift is the main reason I am getting excited. I am getting pumped up to witness this incredible moment in history.. IN PERSON. Yes, I will be there on the U.S. Capitol steps (I can’t believe I actually got a ticket!) watching the ONLY 2008 presidential candidate I believed in become the leader of our country.

Okay, I’m getting excited writing this post. Stay tuned on my adventures back to DC (my home) to participate and observe in this tremendous time in history. (I will be twittering it too. Follow me on Twitter.)

Yes, I’m tingling a little bit now. An intelligent, hopeful, trustworthy, compassionate man – who happens to be a man of color – will be our next president in three whole days!! Woo hoo!

Getting excited,
The Caramel Bella

Hush Beyoncé, You Spoiled the Secret


According to HollywoodLife.net, Superstar Beyoncé recently released a statement saying, “I am so honored that I will be performing for President Obama and the First Lady. To sing At Last while they have their first dance is a dream come true.”

This statement about her Inauguration 2009 performance is all good except for one thing – one big thing. It was supposed to be a secret. The site says the Presidential Inaugural Committee had hoped the song would remain “classified” until the President and his wife stepped on the floor for their first dance on inauguration night. Yikes, talk about letting the cat out of the bag.

Beyoncé’s inability to keep this bit of news hush-hush may be a surprise to her fans. After all, she kept her wedding plans to rapper Jay-Z a secret for months. Come on Beyoncé, where’s the tight-lipped Sasha Fierce when you need her?

Are you interested in hearing the original version of At Last by Etta James? Listen to the song at Last.fm. Eventhough Beyoncé has a golden voice, she has some legendary shoes to fill on this one.

xxoo, The Caramel Bella

Charlotte Say Hello to Uptown Magazine

Uptown magazine is expanding their local edition publishing efforts. In addition to their national publication, they will begin publishing a Charlotte version the first week in February. Uptown is a luxury, lifestyle publication geared toward influential African Americans within the ages of 25-44. The fabulous publication has local editions in New York, DC, Chicago and Atlanta. Hey Uptown, where is the Los Angeles version!!! We’re waiting…

Check out Keija Minor on Uptown.



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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

Things that work my nerves

Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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