Discussion Essay 5: Romance
Love connections can mirror or metaphorically reflect ideas about family/community connections, traditions and support. In other words — Love between a couple can suggest larger love and commitments to and between black communities. For example, in the movie Brown Sugar, the couple Sidney and Dre find themselves separated and in relationships that are problematic. Love between the couple does not happen until the couple focuses on hip hop, its origins and meanings for black people rather than hip hop as a vehicle for mere profit and acceptance in mainstream communities. The comic mockery of the Dalmatian Brothers is one way the film exposes this. They are black and white and the interaction and connection become a mockery of black origins and its seriousness and connections. The movie also suggests that in a rush for approval and acceptance in capitalist worlds, Blacks have abandoned themselves and a deeper love for self and for blackness.
So the question is how do the films of the modules suggest or not suggest a larger connection, appreciation and respect? How does the relationship between the couple(s) and between other people mirror or suggest love by and for black people among themselves and their culture? How does it suggest lack of appreciation by outside sources?
Compare and contrast Just Wright with Brown Sugar specifically to look at ways music suggests healthy black love or how healthy black community can survive or come under attack. With Just Wright the emphasis may be on soundtrack, with Brown Sugar, on musical performers or both may be useful to look at. Quote from the Understanding Black Aspects ebook as you compose your essay and from the Black Romance article in the content section. In short, explain how what music symbolizes and how a larger love for blackness is suggested in the music, story line, characters, etc as appropriate. Include an analysis of mise en scene in one scene as one of the proofs to support your thesis. Go into detail on the love relationships, their characterizations and speculate what the films may be saying about black on black commitment and love.
Pick a focus using the ideas above. You cannot cover everything, but go in depth on one-two major ideas and build your thesis for this.
Remember these films are NOT reality. They are the materialization of expressions of ideologies or refutation of those beliefs that exist in society, sometimes from Hollywood, sometimes from a black perspective. Your job is to use academic writings and your own interpretations to produce and essay that analyze words, themes, mise en scene as they project beliefs. Note this paper must be uploaded into the dropbox as well as posted here.
Discussion Essay 5: Romance
The film industry has plenty of underlying roles and purposes, but one of the main ones is to express political and social issues in an entertaining manner. That is certainly the case in the movies Just Wright and Brown Sugar. The films provide the audience with insight into various aspects of the lives of African Americans. In Just Wright, basketball plays a significant role in bringing the Scott and Leslie together, but music plays a crucial role in binding their relationship. In Brown Sugar, Dre and Sidney have remained friends due to their love for hip-hop music since they were young. Although the movies have offered insight into other areas of black communities, they prominently display a shared passion for sports and music as a tool of uniting people.
Fifteen years after they met for the first time, they are both accomplished people in their various fields. Dre is a successful music executive while Sidney is a respected film critic. The two can trace their relationship back to a childhood moment when they discovered hip-hop music on a street corner in New York (Famuyiwa). The love for hip-hop music enabled each to stick to the path and brought them together now that they are adults with respectable careers in the field. Music has allowed both of them to grow up while maintaining their childhood culture to adulthood. Hip-hop’s growth from underground to mainstream follows the relationship of these two until they finally discover that they were meant for each other.
Leslie and Scott are brought together when the latter picks up an injury while playing basketball. Leslie helps to nurse him back to health, and a relationship starts to blossom between them. They both share a passion for sport, but their love for each other is best displayed when they sat down to play the piano together. The piano duet, as well as the arrangement of scenes, point to this moment like the one they realise their shared love and passion for each other (Hamri). Soft and sensual lighting is used to emphasise this scene and bring out the emotion.
There are superfluous conversations about hip-hop throughout the movie showing a strong affinity towards that genre. The relationship between Dre and Sidney demonstrates the power of hip-hop as the two have grown with the music to adulthood. Hip-hop is a genre that depicts the struggles of the black community in America, and it is interesting to see how the culture is portrayed through the lives of the two protagonists. The two have been meant for each other since childhood, but they have always been mutual friends, which changes when Dre is about to get married to another woman.
Leslie helps Scott while he is undergoing his lowest moment of an injury in his NBA career. The movie shows how Morgan decides to discontinue the relationship with Scott because he is injured. It shows the materialistic and snobbish nature of women who date famous athletes because of their public image and fame, especially in the black community. Scott realises that he loves the inner woman in Leslie rather than the outer curvaceous beauty of Morgan who is all about herself. The soundtracks in the movie Just Wright are mainly R&B, hip-hop and jazz which are genres with huge influence from the African American culture.
Brown Sugar is heavy on the hip-hop aspect while Just
Wright is mostly about basketball but with a heavy musical undercurrent.
However, both movies depict the black culture and the important role played by
music. Basketball and hip-hop have grown to be synonymous with the black
culture over the years just like the blues and jazz soundtracks in the film
Aaregistry.org. “The NBA, African Americans Love This Game | African American Registry”. Aaregistry.Org, 2017, http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/nba-african-americans-love-game.
Famuyiwa, Ricky, director. “Brown Sugar”. 2002,.
Hamri, Sanaa, director. “Just Wright”. 2010,.