Cover Story | Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, Brown Sugar asks the age-old question: can men and women really be friends? In the film which stars Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs, it explores the relationship between Dre’ (Diggs) and Syd (Lathan) childhood best friends who have been through everything together. When Dre gets engaged, Syd realizes that there’s more than just friendship between the two. Bonded over their love of hip-hop, Brown Sugar takes you on a lyrical journey full of laughs, nostalgia, romance and of course dope ass music. In this article, Kevin and I will dive deeper and see if men and women can really be friends.
I’d say yes and no. It honestly depends on the type of relationship between the two and whether or not they have established those boundaries to decide what’s best for them. In the film, it initially seems like Syd and Dre’ have clear boundaries mainly established by Syd as she doesn’t want to ruin the dynamic between the two. As the film progresses, we find out that Dre’ wanted to be more than friends, but Syd rejected him back in college. However, to Syd’s denial, romantic feelings have arisen and she finds herself torn between what she really wants and the risk of losing her best friend. I have personally been in this situation, and for myself it wasn’t worth the risk. I ended up losing one of my closest friends because we wanted different things. He wanted a relationship whereas I did not and it caused the demise of our friendship. Now Kevin, I know you’ve had a different experience on whether or not men and women can be friends, so please share your thoughts.
Of course, Shan. I do think that men and women can be friends, one of my best friends is a woman. I haven’t experienced anything like your situation, but I do understand your point about boundaries. My friendships are simple. We can relax around each other and we support each other, but that’s it. I don’t have to draw the line with them because we don’t look at each other in that way. There was a scene in the movie that actually reminded me of my relationship with one of my best friends. I can see her bursting into a restaurant to catch her (hypothetical) cheating husband dragging me with her against my will and wishing I was somewhere else, like Dre did Sidney. But that’s where the comparison with them stops. Those two had an unhealthy friendship that probably stemmed from being in love with each other. I love my friends and will support them in whatever they do, but I ain’t memorizing their newspaper articles or subconsciously writing a book about them and claiming it’s an ode to Hip Hop. That seems to come from serious feelings about each other (I mean they both left their relationships and ended up together). My friends and I will always be just friends.
We all know people that are just friends. I’m not naïve. I understand that some friendships are just people that have been “friend-zoned” or are just waiting for an opportunity, but not all of them. Brown Sugar didn’t really help to make that point, but it is still true. Just ask anyone with friends of the opposite sex, I bet they agree.