Beyond Beats: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture

Beyond Beats: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture

  • USA
  • 62
  • STC

An ex-football star and hip-hop’s truest fan, Byron Hurt appreciates the music but hates the message. The sexism, homophobia, materialism and violence at work in the lyrics and videos run completely counter to the principles of his work with young men as an educator on violence against women. Hunt takes a camera crew out to investigate the people and effects of the hyper-masculine, gay-hating, misogynistic “gangstahs” that populate the hip-hop scene. From BET’s Spring-Bling in Daytona to the menacing corridors of the Bronx, Hurt traces the roots of the rap music that began as a war-cry against social oppression and racial discrimination to the “thug” anthems of a very profitable industry of black-on-black aggression. Interviews with Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Mos Def, Fat Joe and Chuck D. reveal tensions among the artists that both support and subvert stereotypes. Hurt’s passion for the debate on the crisis of black masculinity and representation is palpable and stimulates one of the most under-explored issues facing youth culture today. Myrocia Watamaniuk

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