Brown Sugar wants to be the black Netflix, offering mostly ’70s blaxploitation films

Wendy Stokesby:


Just like Netflix, only blacker,” Pam Grier says in the promotional trailer for Brown Sugar. Brown Sugar, a new online streaming service with a focus on black films, is the hub for ‘70s blaxploitation j oints and oldie classics. So maybe the tagline “the black Netflix” is quite ambitious. But it does offer something Netflix doesn’t.

An Atlanta-based network for black viewers, Bounce TV, launched the Brown Sugar website on Thursday with a trailer for the service starring Rick Ross, Pam Grier, and Fred Williamson. Ross is the official ambassador while Grier and Williamson have films featured in the service’s library. The service is available through iTunes and Google Play on phones and tablets for $3.99 per month, with an initial free trial period to test it out.

Now we can talk about Ross in a freaking ‘fro in this trailer. I don’t know who Ross owed a favor, but it’s pure joy. “Even with the beautiful car and fast women there was something missing in my life,” he says in a brown silk robe. “Then I found Brown Sugar. Now I stream the biggest collection of baddest movies — from Foxy Brown and The Mack to Supa Fly and Shaft. And I take the action everywhere.”

To recap, Ross is rocking a cheap ‘fro wig in a blue polyester shirt, then a silk robe, in a mansion, talking with rhythm about watching movies on Brown Sugar wherever he goes. Oh, he has on sunglasses and lots of flashy iced out jewels. “It’s polyester wishes and Cadillac dreams, baby,” Ross says. Who made this happen? Who wrote the commercial? Who came up with the concept? Why is this trailer more exciting than the lineup of movies? We need answers!

Back to the service. Its library includes films like Foxy Brown, Dolemite, Super Fly, The Mack, Uptown Saturday Night, and Shaft. According to IndieWire, it curates its “extensive library” by themes: War in Harlem, Foxy Mamas, Jive Ass Turkeys, and Good Cop, Bad Cop. IndieWire quotes Grier as saying, “These movies are entertaining and fun, but they were also empowering to the black community as they depicted African-Americans as strong leading characters and heroes for the first time.”

‘Tis true. But how many black people can watch blaxploitation films over and over again? In addition to it being “a BLACK Explosion of HOT Chicks, COOL Cats and CULT Classics,” according to the website, I’d love to see them expand their content. Incredible black shows like Girlfriends and movies like Five Heartbeats and Crooklyn could use a home. For now, you can revel in the beauty that is Pam Grier in Foxy Brown. She’s a bad mamma… shut yo’ mouth!


Original by Bené Viera

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