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Brown Sugar by The Rolling StonesI love telling people what this song is about, and now, you will too. It never gets old, seeing unsuspecting singers choose it for karaoke and balk at the lyrics as they appear on the screen. Somehow we don't know typically understand what this song is about, even though the story is right in the lyrics. It's used in some daytime TV commercials and places all around in this fun, light-hearted manner when it is quite literally a song about slave rape.
There's no metaphor, no euphemism.
The lyrics tell you straight that this song isn't a love tribute to a beloved African American woman and it is most definitely not something about the sweetener that brings us all chocolate chip cookies.
The song is about white plantation owners raping their African slaves.
Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he's doing alright
Hear him with the women just around midnight.
Ah, brown sugar how come you taste so good?
Brown sugar, just like a young girl should
So not only is it about slave rape here, but about the kind done to young girls.
Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot,
Lady of the house wonderin' where it's gonna stop.
House boy knows he's doin' alright.
You should have heard him just around midnight.
So when the plantation owner's wife finds out about what's happening she's appalled, not being able to wait for it to stop. For some reason another one of the house hands appreciates/enjoys this whole thing.
It's one twisted, insane song to be the opening track for the album Sticky Fingers. In a Rolling Stone interview (get it?!) Jagger said: "God knows what I'm on about on that song... All the nasty subjects in one go... I would never write that song now... I'd think 'Oh God, I can't. I've got to stop. I can't just write raw like that."
Just like a proper English gentleman should. It's interesting that Mick Jagger has almost gotten to old for himself.
So next time you see someone singing this happily at karaoke, watch out for a nearby Klan rally.
Here's a fun, lighthearted commercial featuring this wonderful, wholesome song.
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