ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Brown Sugar (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: October 21, 2002
CAP Score: 55
CAP Influence Density: 1.07

MinMax: -100

Brown Sugar (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

BROWN SUGAR (PG-13) -- ...could have been warm and wonderful.

Production: Evergreen Productions, Heller Highwater Productions, Magic Johnson Entertainment
Distribution: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director(s): Rick Famuyiwa
Producer(s): Peter Heller, Trish Hofmann, Magic Johnson
Written by/Screenplay: Michael Elliot (story and screenplay), Michael Elliot, Rick Famuyiwa (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Enrique Chediak
Music: Robert Hurst
Film Editing: Dirk Westervelt
Casting: Alexa L. Fogel
Production Design: Kalina Ivanov
Art Direction: David Stein

I would like to tell you this is a warm and endearing tale of love and romance because it is. But to tell you that might give you the impression it is a must-see or a should-see or a safe-see. I would like to tell you that and tell you that it is completely free of noted violence because it is. But if I were to tell you that, I would have to tell you about the the 52 uses of the 3/4 letter word vocabulary. I would also like to tell you there are absolutely no murders or suicides in it but if I did I would have to tell you about the plethora of sexually immoral and drinking/drunkenness behaviors in it. So I won't. There was chemistry between Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan, but maybe the wrong chemistry for entertainment.

From childhood Dre (Taye Diggs) - don't know his last name - and Sidney Shaw (Sanaa Lathan) have been best of friends. Dre became a music producer. Sydney became a magazine editor. They became close as children because they both loved hip-hop. They both maybe even described as obsessed with it. Dre makes records and Sydney reviews them. Both are in love with music ... but not each other. So it seems.

One day, Dre meets the woman he has been waiting for in Reese (Nicole Ari Parker - Remember the Titans). Reese is a sultry bombshell and fancies Dre enough to say "Yes" to his proposal of marriage to her. Sydney is all for it and happy for them -- er -- says she is happy. But maybe all that friendship she shared with Dre turned into love without her realizing it. And maybe likewise for him. Maybe all that friendship that turned into love formed the basis of being in love for Dre, but not with Sydney? Maybe Reese just happened along at the right time to give a face to the unfocused love [for Sydney?] that had built up in Dre over the years? Maybe Reese was just there at the right time and Sydney was not? Maybe Dre was projecting Sydney into Reese? Who knows? Dre and Reese wed and Sydney remains good friends with Dre. Good enough of friends to consider a sexual relationship with him for a change.

When the record label for which Dre worked decides to engage a new and innovative hip-hop pair, "The Hip-Hop Dalmatians" (one African-American and the other white) that Dre cannot stand, Dre quits to start his own record label, "Brown Sugar." Nervous and troubled by the new leap he has taken, Dre confides in Sydney and finds his relationship with her and hers with him may not be as simple as "friend" as they thought. And to further complicate Dan Cupid's plans, along comes star New Jersey Nets basketball player Kelby (Boris Kodjoe) to steal Sydney's Heart. After Kelby's proposal of marriage to Sydney and her acceptance of it plus Dre's wedding to Reese, all would seem locked and on auto. But n-n-o-o-o! If you decide that all the assaults of morality and decency we reveal for you are acceptable, you'll find out what comes ... and goes. A shared lip-lock between Dre and Sydney the night before his wedding with Reese doesn't help the focus and direction of things.

It is disheartening indeed to find a movie that could have been warm and wonderful but is saturated with foul language [Prov. 22:11, Cor. 8:7, Titus 2:6-8, Prov. 8:13, Eph. 5:4] and sexual immorality [Rev. 22:15, Eph. 5:5, Hebr. 13:4]. I an not going to summarize the listing in the Findings/Scoring section as I typically do. It is there for you to read for yourself if you wish.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Cor. 8:7 But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us - see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
  • Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men [and women] to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech [obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted].
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No [unforgiven] immoral, impure or greedy person -such a man is an idolater -has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

    *******Food for Daily Thought*******
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Brown Sugar (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • none noted

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 52 uses of the 3/4 letter word vocabulary
  • a single use of the most foul of the foul words
  • lies
  • massive tattoos

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • suggestive eye movements, repeatedly
  • sex toy
  • vulgar moves
  • woman in towel only
  • admission of sexual immorality
  • excessive cleavage
  • sex talk, innuendo
  • attempts to sexually conquer
  • "Let's have sex now!"
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • intercourse (off-screen)
  • necking
  • glorifying immoral sex
  • sexual suggestion

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drinking parties
  • smoking
  • drunkenness, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • six uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive
  • adultery

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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