As I descended a flight of stairs in a formal gown and stilettos, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. played the song Brown Sugar as another Alpha walked arm and arm with me down the stairs and onto the stage for the Annual Miss Black and Gold scholarship pageant.
I was so upset. It was a grossly inappropriate song to choose during a beauty pageant. Every other girl was able to select a song that was right for her. I specifically rejected the song and requested The Most Beautiful Girl in the World by Prince. However, my mother named me Chocolate (spelled Choclit’), and the frat brother wanted DeAngelo to say my name in the song before I got to the stage:
“Skin is caramel with the cocoa eyes, even got a big sister by the name of Chocolate Thai.”
I’m sure the judges gave me a demerit for such an explicit number. Fortunately for me, I still placed.
Today in Hip Hop History, we celebrate the release of DeAngelo’s Brown Sugar. The soulful singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist released this debut album named after the hit single Brown Sugar on July 3, 1995. Although the genre is technically neo-soul, the R&B, funk, and soul sounds are ever-present in classic Hip Hop.
His hop Hop sound should come as a surprise to no one considering that Wu-Tang clan member Ali Shaheed Muhammad along with Bob Power and Raphael Saadiq, were the producers on this album, along with DeAngelo himself. The LP included some of DeAngelo’s most memorable works like Lady and Sh*t, D*mn, Motherf*cker.
The release of 4 different singles kept the Brown Sugar album on the Billboard 200 chart for 65 weeks. Within a year of its release, Brown Sugar went platinum, and DeAngelo would be decorated by at least 4 grammy nominations. The Richmond, Virginia native found success at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY as a teenager and began recording soon after.