Hip-Hop Heads Up
In the righteous blog feministing today comes a preview/review of a film I didn’t know about but now can’t WAIT to see.
It’s Byron Hurt’s new documentary Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip Hop Culture — and it’s coming straight from Sundance to a PBS station near you.
Here’s what Courtney E. Martin had to say about it. (Excuse the long quote, but she saw it and I didn’t, and even if I had I probably couldn’t say it better):
The film’s got great footage. Hurt captures Busta Rhymes leaving the interview like a coward the second homosexuality comes up. (To my horror, Mos Def followed right on Busta’s heels.) He’s also got the CEO of BET giving him a pointed brush-off the second he brings up video ho culture and Russell Simmons looking like a fool trying to shrug off his own responsibility. In contrast, Chuck D was so articulate and insightful I wanted to elect him president of something important.
My favorite parts were when Hurt hung around with wantabee rappers outside of BET festivals and the like, recording their tired lyricism, then confronting them directly afterwards about their violent/sexist messages. 17-year-old dudes posing as hard thugs a moment before instantly became sweet-eyed boys admitting that they don’t slang rock, they slang water—that this is the only persona they know will get them noticed. Essentially, a generation of teenage boys has decided that putting on 21st century black face is worth it for a record deal.
You can check out a snippet featuring L.L. Cool J and Cornel West here.