Written and directed by NYU grad, Rachel Johnson, White Sugar in a Black Pot follows a family of four who find themselves on the fence between their life now and the possibility of uprooting to a different community.
When a sudden opportunity arises for Denise and her husband to become homeowners, the strength of their marriage is put to the test, and she is forced to make one of the toughest decisions of her life.
For New York residents and others who reside in an urban metropolis, it’s a story that has floated around the block a time or two. The rhythms of everyday life are disrupted when a white man, likely Jewish, knocks on your door unannounced and offers you a sweet deal to leave your apartment in Brooklyn for a more affordable place further out of the city in the Bronx or some other borough.
In White Sugar, the motor of gentrification is not brute force, but compliance. Long-time stoop dwellers aren’t getting pushed out of their neighborhoods. They are being coaxed into trading their cramped rentals for a couple of months of rent-free living and the possibility of turning their new place into a home that they own, albeit a home that’s not in the city.
The offer is an attractive one and it is only human to fancy the comfort it might bring. Denise daydreams on a tree-lined street of brownstones miles from her noisy Apartment 6B. At the dinner table, her children impersonate wealthy diners.
But among the voices overlapping and clashing are those of Denise and her blue collar husband Darnell. Denise’s role as the breadwinner leaves ambiguity to the issue of who has the ultimate say in family matters.
Will Denise and her family leave the block? Watch White Sugar.
White Sugar has won a slew of awards: CINE Golden Eagle Award, African Movie Academy Award for Best Diaspora Short Film, New York City Council Citation, George A. Heinemann Film Production Award, Warner Bros. Film Award, and the Kodak Education Production Grant.
And film festival accolades: Best Student Film at the Hayti Heritage Film Festival, Best Student Drama at the International Family Film Festival, Best Screenplay Award from Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival, and Best College Student Film Award from the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival.
Written & Directed By: Rachel I. Johnson
Produced By Rachel I. Johnson & Amanda Ross
Director of Photography: Shaka Brookes
Original Score: Afiya Cupid
Sound Design & Mix: Arjun G. Sheth
Cast : Lolita Brinkley as DENISE, Robert G. McKay as DARNELL , J. Mallory-McCree as JUNIOR , Cathy Craig as DEANDRA