“We’re like in this box. In order to be in that box you have to be strong. You have to be tough. You have to have a lot of girls. You gotta have money. You gotta be a player or a pimp. You know, you gotta be in control. You have to dominate other men, other people.” ~ Byron Hurt, filmmaker
at hip-hop videos, listen to the lyrics, and you notice a lot of
similarities: guns, violence, women, sex, and money. Filmmaker Byron
Hurt is a huge hip-hop fan, but he began to question the representations
of manhood and masculinity, the portrayal of women and the prevalence
of violence in hip-hop music and videos. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a record of his journey.
a society full of hypermasculine violence and posturing in music,
movies, video games, and sports and military culture, this film serves
as an excellent tool for exploring issues surrounding what it means to
be a man (especially a man of color) in America, through the lens of
In his exploration of hip-hop music and culture, Hurt
raises questions about several issues, from perceptions of masculinity,
to the prevalence of sexism, misogyny and the objectification of women,
to the existence of homophobia and homoeroticism in lyrics and images.
He also explores the roots of hip-hop and the exploitation and
domination of hip-hop by the major music industry, which is primarily
controlled by white men.
Hip-Hop was originally shown on PBS, and the companion website includes
clips from the documentary, suggested resources, background information
about the film and the issues explored, and educational materials, such
as a discussion guide.
Bring this video to your upper high
school and older audience for exploration and discussion of these
important issues. (Be aware that the film and website include explicit
language and images.)
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