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?
(more…)




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.

Enjoy!

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




SNL Has New Album & Video “I’m On A Boat” featuring T-Pain

Weird Al Yankovic has some competition. The guys behind Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits are dropping their own album, “Incredibad,” on February 10. Their latest video, “I’m On A Boat,” features SNL staffers, Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer, and hip hop, megastar T-Pain (You have to include “The Pain” on the track because his sound equals instant hit.) The video is ridiculous and it’s nice to know T-Pain can laugh at himself (because we sure are).




What CB’s Jammin’ To: Common’s “Universal Mind Control”

Okay, call me crazy or a little out of my mind… but I’m loving Common’s new song, “Universal Mind Control.” I just keep playing it and playing it. It’s stuck on rewind. It’s something about the beat, which is reminiscent of Afrika Bambaata’s Planet Rock, that makes me start dancing. I can’t sit still. That’s one of the qualities of all my favorite tracks. (And of course, the male beauty that is Common surely adds to the package.) Check it out.

Smooches,
The Caramel Bella

P.S. So are you feeling the song and video like I am???




Beyoncé’s “If I Was A Boy” video

So, what do you all think of Beyoncé’s “If I Was A Boy” video? Personally, I’m digging the video – it makes me like the song. It depicts the complexity of relationships as well as plays into the men are from mars, women are from venus stereotypes — albeit successfully. Most women could probably relate to Beyoncé’s “female-role” character at some point in their lives. Let’s home the boys are listening so our relationships could improve.

And I’m sure all the men out there are loving Beyoncé in the police officer outfit. (Lil Wayne’s Mrs. Officer lyrics quickly come to mind.) She looks great in anything.

Check out the video for yourself. Once again, Ms. B is doing her thang!




Jay-Z and Mr. Prez…

President Barack Obama even has Jay-Z fired up. Check it out..


Jay-Z My President is black Remix LIVE 1-18-09 from pleasedontstare.com on Vimeo.




Busta Rhymes: “Arab Money”

Is it politically correct to say “Arab Money?” I don’t know. But the song by Busta Rhymes is HOT. I’m really feeling the beat, and Busta’s voice is so unmistakable!! This is what the Caramel Bella is listening to. What do you think?




Kanye vs. Colbert: The Arrogance Challenge

On Monday’s “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert called out Kanye West for his arrogance to think he was the voice of this generation in this decade. And to counter West’s superiority complex, Colbert showcased his own and challenged West to an iTunes download sell off. Check out the video.




One of my favorite jams: Lil Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer”

Many of you may be surprised…. but I’m a Lil Wayne fan. I know all of his lyrics are not politically correct or paint women in the best light. And I think his music (and a lot of hip hop at the moment) is for grown folks only. But it doesn’t stop me from being a hip hop head. With that being said, the beats are the JAM!!!! This is one of my favorite songs at the moment. It’s “Mrs. Officer/Comfortable” featuring Bobby Valentino. (Hey, a bella has to dance too.) Doesn’t the “wee-a-wee” stick in your head?! Check out the vid. Maybe it will become one of your favs too?

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




LL Cool J & Wyclef give “Mr. President” a piece of their minds

I love politically active celebs and music with powerful messages. LL Cool J and Wyclef have created a song called “Mr. President.” It is a direct address to Mr. George W. Bush. They bring up topics like the Iraq war, Sept. 11 and the lack of health care. Hopefully, our President-Elect, Barack Obama, will do a much better job.

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




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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.

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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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