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
: Lolita Brinkley as DENISE, 
Robert G. McKay as DARNELL
, J. Mallory-McCree as JUNIOR
, Cathy Craig as DEANDRA


  1. This lady can grace any movie and she will be a star. Great acting overall. The only thing that got me was the ending – myself I would have liked to see why the choice she made was the best one? But I can see what Rachel is trying to push here – love conquers all! I guess, but life is really more complicated that LOVE. Isn’t it?

    • I thought likewise: you know, why not convince the broke ass man to move to a better home and become an owner?? For real, he forces his wife or rather plays on his wifes love to settle for less?I don’t believe any of it.
      In any case, this still makes a good film.

    • Got it! Can’t by happiness. Not even in a 50 ft.; 7000 sq.ft. mansion in Brooklyn. The fact remains, for you complicated folks out there, that it’s really just simple. Stick with the people who care! I loved this film.

  2. Thank you VERY much for viewing the film, sharing your thoughts, and building a passionate dialogue around the film. It means a lot to me and motivates me even more! I look forward to making more films and sharing them!

    Together We Can

  3. That MAN is lucky that woMAN did’t elope with the kids… what nonsense? What home was he talking about? Plus why did the film make it seem like Realtors were up to no good? I mean, for real, as w BLK woMAN I could barely afford to let the wife’s dream come to knot just becausesome garbage collector wants to settle. For what????????? My Lord!

    • Hahahahahaa. LOL. Lady: swoll your roll… come on gal… why not? Why can’t a more successful female settle down with a less successful male?

      • Hey, but that lady pretty though… from ma expericen and ev’thang, if ur ass’ broke, get an ugly beech, man, she gon loooooove you! Don’t be messing with the pretty types man… they are cooked up.
        So yeah, it’s strange that in this film, pretty is falling for a broke m*fcker. It’s very strange though. I ain’t never seen none’a that.

  4. The story is solid. I thought the acting was indeed spectacular, the mother was great, the dad was great and the children were both indeed awesome. So much about this story reminds me of my childhood. Thanks Rachel for sharing!

  5. A watchable first film by Rachel. I enjoyed it and now I can sit back and expect more from her – I look forward to seeing more shorts – then perhaps, God willing, she can land us a spectacular feature. The sky is the limit Rachel. Keep working.


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