Response to Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

This documentary takes an interesting look at hip-hop culture and its depictions of masculinity, violence and women in songs and music videos. I thought it was surprising that Hurt (the commentator and director) was a self-proclaimed lover of hip-hop yet he had come to understand how the music can be offensive to women and influence young people to act in certain negative ways.

Watching the clips of music videos always makes me frustrated because of how the women are depicted. It also tends to confuse me because I would never agree to participate in a video like the ones shown in the video and do not understand why people would. However, that being said, some women might think that it will give them some type of prestige and they could also be doing it because they need money. Our society depicts women in this way frequently so they may not realize the implications it has for other women as well. The same points could be said for the rappers in this video but simply saying that they shouldn’t participate is too simple and we need to look at why it occurs in the first place.

The part of the movie I found to be particularly interesting was when they discussed how most of the individuals who control the record industry are white males. While I might have known this before watching the video, I don’t think I ever really thought about how this may affect the way that black male rappers are portrayed. Black males are portrayed in a very stereotypical way in videos and I hadn’t thought about how it might be due to racist perceptions from record executives that influence this portrayal. It also could be a way for those in power to perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Another part of the movie that I enjoyed was that the women of Spelman College would not stand for the way women were portrayed in Nelly’s video “Tip Drill”. I thought it was great that the women stood together on the issue and would not allow Nelly to come to campus unless he would speak with them about the video. While he wouldn’t address their concerns, it is good that they made the attempt to address something they didn’t like.

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3 responses to “Response to Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

  1. YES I AGREE! This video made me look bad and I wasnt even apart of the video! I was so offended by the actions taken by both the women and men but especially the women! I thought it was awesome that spelman college women stood up for their beliefs as well, especially to someone like NELLY! You would think women would be falling all over him at the opportunity of him visiting their college. The women were smart enough to look at the deeper meanings behind him coming to their college. It would be conforming to that rape supportive culture and making it apparent that women are accepting of being treated as less than women! I also want to say that.. im glad you acknowledged the racist stereotypes and control of white males. It shows that it is apprent that we have issues with the white and black population that need to be addressed. I dont think one man should have power and authority over another man because he is of a different race? That seriously needs to be challenged…

  2. The most interesting part to me was also the idea of how most of the executives at these record label companies who dictate what goes on in the videos happen to be white males. This really struck a chord with me, as it’s something I had previously never even considered before. Now that I’ve thought about it, it makes me see things very differently! It makes the whole scene of hip hop music videos seem like a big racist-inspired joke to me..and it’s very sad and disheartening, because in the process of these executives paying rappers money to be portrayed this way in music videos, they are perpetuating some very racist negative stereotypes that filter through our society, because the media is one of the main ways young people come to forge their ideas about different groups of people. Most people (like me before I saw this video in class!) just take the video at face value and never think to question what forces are behind it, shaping the way the rappers are portrayed. I’m glad I got to think of it from this angle, because it really changed my point of view, and it sounds like it had a similar effect on you as well.

  3. I think we were very interested in the same part of the movie. I as well didn’t know that white men ran the record industry. This being said I think I really changes my viewpoint on the hip-hop world. I also agree with you in regards to the perspective on how black woman and males are portrayed in videos. In the end it’s all a business and regardless of how it is being viewed majority of people both black and white still watch and do things that they have seen from these hip hop videos.

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