PBS Goes Hip-Hop with New Documentary

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By Quibian Salazar-Moreno

      Hip-Hop has always worn its manhood on its sleeve. From proving how hard or gully you are to its sometimes misogynistic overtones along with its detestation of homosexuality. On February 20, PBS will air “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” a documentary directed by Byron Hurt looking at the gender roles within the hip-hop community.

      "In the past 20 years, hip-hop has become a critically acclaimed, billion-dollar industry," Hurt said. "How do black men feel about the representations of manhood in hip-hop? How do black women and men feel about the pervasive images of scantily clad and sexually objectified women in rap music and videos? What do today’s rap lyrics tell us about the collective consciousness of black men and women from the hip-hop generation? What does homoeroticism in hip-hop media look like? These are the types of questions I set out to explore in this film and to provide thoughtful dialogue from intelligent, divergent voices of rap artists, industry executives, rap fans and social critics from inside and outside the hip-hop generation."

      The film features exclusive interviews with Mos Def, Chuck D, Dead Prez, Busta Rhymes, Russell Simmons, Jadakiss, Michael Eric Dyson, KRS-One Sarah Jones and a host of others. Hip-Hop fans can have a chance to see the film before it airs on PBS in various free screenings in cities across the U.S. To see if there’s a free screening in your area, check this link: ITVS.