Independent Lens . HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes . Talkback | PBS

 

Talkback

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10/6/2010
Ralph

Needs to be more rappers like Talib. Speaking the truth. Less degrading.

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5/3/2010
Long Beach, CA

First off let me start off by saying this has been one of the only films I have watched in my feminism class that I have actually felt passionate about and felt the need to seek out more information and what not. I am a white female who grew up in Long Beach, CA but went to a private school and moved to San Diego when I was 12 into a fairly wealthy neighborhood; pretty much the opposite of the stereotypes presented in the film. But the hip hop culture and music has always been a passion of mine. I have been dancing since a very young age mainly focused on hip hop but other genres as well. The discussions presented in this film are strong issues in my hometown and I appreciate the way you showed both male and female views. I have many black American friends who participate in the rap culture and dance like myself. Throughout my years of listening and supporting the hip hop music industry, I was always told by my mom that it was inappropriate for me to listen to the derogatory remarks made by my favorite rappers. But your film disturbingly showed black women believing that the bitches and hoes remarks were not made towards them and I begin to recall a similar outlook when I was younger listening to the music. Although I am not a well respected black rapper or producer, I want to find a way to still bring awareness around this topic. I know there are rappers out there who can rap about the simple ways of life and their every day problems that don't involve topics of killing and molesting people; Brother Ali's Forest Whitiker is good example. We need to move into a new genre where it's not all about where you're from and how much of a disadvantage you were at when you were born. I want more people to be exposed to the film at a younger age, I didn't see it until college (2010). I'm not trying to eliminate the music by any means because I enjoy the beats and rhythm just as much as everyone. I just want the generations listening to this to know that this perception is not one to reenact. We don't need young boys and girls going out hurting other people to try and prove something to their friends. We want to eliminate gang affiliation and violence and work to those already involved into a safe way of mind. You ended your film by finally interviewing young adults about their take on the culture and what it means to them. I wish their could have been a little more of these interviews and some of white teens growing up in the hip hop culture. The ones shown were raised far from it. I would love to see a sequel of this film be made at a pre-teen or high school level to be shown in high schools ALL over not just in lower class areas. I would also like to see a larger group formed of people with your history to talk to high school and college kids about the issues presented in the film. I would love to be a part of it but people won't listen to someone like myself, men won't take what I have to say about violence against females with respect. Growing up I experienced some domestic violence in a relationship of my own and even so, I have found little respect from the male community when the topics are discussed. Thank you for your time and I would very interested in hearing of any conferences or speeches being made by you in the future. Preferably Colorado area or at the University of Boulder where I attend.
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4/19/2010
Annie
Ann Arbor, MI

Hip hop is steadily becoming my favorite genre of music. I say steadily, because I have approached hip-hop with much trepidation. The messages I have recieved about hip-hop are vast, conflicted, beautiful, and often times contradicting. I could see the beauty in Tupac's thug poetry and how he spoke out like a poet warrior for the young people in his community, but I also saw the glorified violence and heard the lyrics that told me to shut up and shake my booty harder. This documentary is a wonderful thing because it addresses all of the reservations that I had toward hip-hop. The fact that the hip-hop community is beginning to challenge itself to be accountable for the message that is being produced and the cultural roots that are leading to this music's dissemination is a beautiful thing. I was absolutely blown away by the scene where the young rappers were spittin outside of the hip-hop conference. The young man who stepped forward and rhymed about becoming a cop made my jaw dropped. I can see that they are frustrated with their situation with the music industry and I hope that their anger can help it to shift in a better direction. thanks for making this
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7/30/2009

On 7/30/2009 I watched hip-hop beyond the beats and rhythm. I must say it was an excellent and insightful documentary. Jadakiss was the most honest of all the rappers. Thank you for exposing the culprets behind the hype. I hope the kids can see that the words and behavoirs exhibited is demoralizing to our race, and to black females. I hope they realize that they are filling the stero-type that white america has of us. Wake-up Black America this is not real or right, it all about the money!
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05/15/2009
Jeremy Blanco
Irvine, CA

I grew up with a hyper male dominance mindset, used to call a guy 'woman' just half jokingly and called someone a 'bitch' or 'pussy' any time of the day and it was always encouraged, still is...Now i'm in college and have come to the realization that it's a way of culture that is handed down to us through different media sets and it sometimes conflicts with the reality of how we see successful marriages/relationships really work out. I thought growing up that hip-hop was a form of self-expression and a way to rebel against the "white-man" but in reality the music that I was listening too was being fronted by the "white-man". Hip-Hop has become a living contradiction and after viewing this piece it has hit me harder about the stereotypes that I have already begun to realize. So now I ask what are we supposed to do about it? I mean can we really grill this down for everybody to see and then what do we do? I talk once in a while to my friends about stuff like this but it isn't easy being that conscious guy always talking about education, makes it hard to have a good time. But in the end I think It will work out...or HipHop will phase out...
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05/15/2009
Jeremy Blanco
Irvine, CA

Also, I noticed that in this film they never showed any image of Flava Flave... portrays himself as a conscious political brother in music but is advertised in a complete opposite manner...hip hop is hurting my image of myself in high school...but the past was the past so now it's time to move forward...i'm doing so by turning back and putting on play some old school and underground rhymes with political messages and real talk.
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04/24/2009
Raj Kumar
INDIA

Can anyone really write a serious comment about the piece we saw on television, its like everyone is choose to avoid answering the topic...I guess its true rappers give into male black sterotypes about money, sex, power, and "bitches" and you guys are proud of it and cant give a profound answer back when someone asks you about it? You guys promote a no snitch culture, rap really violent lyrics, and alot children get influenced and shoot up their neighborhood? Is all that true and do the rappers turn a blind eye because of the immense profits. This our perception of black men outside US... how come no rapper will answer these questions?
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03/23/2009
Christine W.

Thank you! Courageous! Articulate! I loved especially how many articulate men were part of the video, representing and demonstrating an alternative to this sordid stuff -- led, it must be said, by the filmmaker himself (right now I forget the other men's names). Kids are SO impressionable and have so much independent access to media from an early age. The images of both males and females in this kind of hip hop music truly can be damaging to developing hearts and minds. I also find it musically boring -- never has African-American music been so beholden to such little variation in the beat or the style of presentation, etc.. Such fantastic music is coming north from Central and South America and the Caribbean, with multiple, layered beats by skilled, inventive musicians. The tired musical cliches of hip hop -- so propelled by ambition for fame rather than by unique expression or unique sense of musicality -- might finally lose the limelight. Another thing: when did every one from every city in the country start to have the same way of speaking "ya know wha I'm sayin?" Hip hop started out with kids making something from nothing; now its just imitation of the form and even imitation of how other people speak! Find your OWN voice! Black music has NEVER stayed stalled for so long, if ever before! Thanks for a tremendous contribution. Ultimately, I feel the film focused more on the effects this type of music has on the psyches of our young people and our communities, more than on its effect on the development of musical expression, and, really, the filmmaker chose the more important message. One more thing: our slave ancestors quickly rose up to read and write and vote and start businesses, etc., after Emancipation. They were thwarted by Jim Crow, but kept their dignity, their spirited, expressive dignity. They would surely have been appalled that freedom has become soiled like this: soiled enough to run a credit card you know where, etc. They would be SO ashamed of this, I believe! Thank you.
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02/26/2009
Sean Ryan
Boston, MA

I thought this documentary was a good one. It touched on many subjects quickly and tried to be as thorough as time would allow. As far as the masculinity and down play on men and women that's all you see in hip hop so there was nothing new there. I just thought it was sad to see Bustah Rhymes walk out on the question he was asked about the place of homosexuality in hip hop. What was even more sad was that all the rest of the people in the room kinda coward at the question as well. I thought Mos and maybe kweli would have had something to say being that they portray themselves as conscious hip hop heads. Just shows that not one of them feels comfortable enough in their own skin to really be themselves. Thank God for the beat makers otherwise I think hip hop would be dead. So much else could be said about this documentary I just don't have the time. All in all good job.
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11/24/2008

Im reading information about this documentary Beyond Beats and so many times in the description on your site I read references to "white slave owners" (as if whites are the ones responsible for slavery) and "white power structure" "white patriarchy" ... yo this is racist towards the white race. Whoever wrote that or copy edited needs to maybe be spoke too. We'll see in November when we can find out for a fact, white people arent evil, politicians are.
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04/25/2008

Lucky for us, things are starting to change a bit, little by little. Look at Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, their music is not about violence and sex and drugs. But they still sell well. Although Lupe isn't as mainstream as Kanye West. But it just proves that hip hop doesn't have to be about violence, drugs, and sex to sell. Hopefully more rappers will start to realize this and make music that have a purpose.
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03/13/2008
Krystal
New York, NY

I enjoyed this film. I think Byron Hurt did a great job on presenting the issues of today's hip-hop culture. I plan to show this film to a group of kids that I work with at a school and having a discussion on the issues presented in the film. I grew up in the 80's and I loved how hip-hop used to be back in the day. Now, I don't even bother listening to the radio or watch music videos. It seems that everything you hear is the same. No one has originality anymore.

I wish that Byron Hurt could have taken the film a step further and talked about "underground hip-hop." The underground artists are the ones who keep the true meaning of hip-hop alive and do not bother signing with these record labels because they do not want to sell out to an industry who cares nothing about creating good music. These underground artists do not get the record plays or their music videos played on popular channels such as BET or MTV because just as Jadakiss mentions in the film "the industry does not want to hear intellig ent rappers." It's time to bring real hip-hop back to the way it used to be.
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03/13/2008
Miaisha Davis

mark Anthony Neal is right. If the videos we watch didnt have the video girls, and the flashy cars and the thug persona in them, we wouldnt have anything to watch. Life would be boring without the videos. If the videos werent as flashy or they werent as sandalaous as they are what would the rappers have to profit from. This is only entertainment nothing more than that!
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02/28/2008
Angie Allen
East Lansing & Detroit, MI

THANK YOU Byron for this wonderful film. I hope you consider teaching in colleges - I'm getting my PhD in May 2008 and aspire to teach about community development and higher education. I have two comments: 1. While you were able to include Mos Def, M-1 of Dead Prez, and Talib Kweli in your film, I wonder why you chose not to cover Common? I was really thinking of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and the Roots as positive examples of the neo-soul genre of hip-hop - but given that you said you had enough problems reducing all your film into an viewable, editable film - I'm wondering if that was something you addressed.

2. Have you also seen NO! The Rape Documentary? It also addresses the specific issue of Black male sexual objectification and violence against Black women. If you and the sister who did this film got together, I really think you'd have a lot to share with each other. http://www.notherapedocumentary.org/ When I viewed a screening of the film on our campus, the filmmaker was there, and I asked her if she had approached HBO, BET or other more mainstream outlets to get this film visible in mainstream media - and she told me straight up that those outlets did not think this film was something people would want to see. I BEG TO DIFFER!!! The more all of us see straight-on, in your face, "question authority" programming like this - I think the more we can get angry and be motivated to act (in a positive way).

A final comment: I bought 2 copies of the DVD of your film: one for myself and one for my brother, who will be 42 the first week of March. He has a 7 year old son, and my brother loves hip hop even more than I do - he loves to watch BET videos. I can't wait to see how he responds to the video. By the way - we're all African-American (me, my brother, nephew). Keep up the great work!!!!!!
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02/28/2008
Brooklyn, NY

I really enjoyed your film, and was especially impressed with the footage you included from Spring Bling, which very effectively served as a concentrated archetype for the whole issue of hyper-masculinity in hip-hop. I felt that you missed a big opportunity at the end of the film, however, to promote a different kind of hip-hop. The entire film, after all, is like one long what-not-to-do for hip-hop artists and listeners; you focus on the sexist, racist, and hyper-masculinized lyrics of specific artists like Nelly and 50 Cent. You spend the last section of the movie dictating that it is our responsibility as artists and consumers to change the face of a) hip-hop and b) masculinity more generally. I was disappointed that you didn't then present any existing alternatives for hip-hop fans looking for ethical music with good beats! I'm listened to Dead Prez until the CD wore out, after all, and I was hoping that an expert like you would contribute some good recommendations, and be the change you seek in the music consumer economy.
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02/28/2008

As the father of a young white boy I must daily confront these issues of of misogyny, race, and materialism as purveyed by the rap culture. It is being sold to all our youth , both black and white as the norm. Please stop!!!! I will do all I can to combat the pollution of our youth both black and white with this poison. How did we move from, " I have a dream", to "niggaz and ho's?
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02/28/2008

Julie Great film. I was riveted. As a white female, I hope to raise my son to become a bright, thoughtful member of society. There are a few films I would like him to watch as he grows into an adult -- this will be one of them. Thank you.
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02/28/2008

I want to thank you for putting this eye opening film together. I am proud of the film maker, the women at Spelman College and many others in the film who want to stop the portrayal of women (irrespective of color) in HIP-HOP videos. It is truly sad how corporations control the direction of HIP-HOP genre/culture. I would love to see a follow up of this movie in a couple of years to see if the state of HIP-HOP has improved.
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02/28/2008

Nice i like the positive impact so many people and singers are negative and you show we are positive that's what i love
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02/28/2008

I loved this program! Very interesting! I hope today,s youth will get a chance to see and talk about this film in useful group discussions in schools across the nation. I find so much of today,s hip hop is all about values that in the end are ultimately unfulfilling: Bling and Dominating others, Being rebellious as an end in itself, etc. I,d love to see a follow up documentary that interviews the men and women who were cast in the hip hop videos to find out what their daily life is like, what their life aspirations are, and what values and principles they hold, and how did they get to be in the Hip Hop video we saw them in. This can then be contrasted with the kids, views of them that the kids, had when they saw the video and just bought into the illusion of it all. (There,s too much ,Frontin 0/00 and too much pretending that there isn,t any ,Frontin 0/00 goin, on). The documentary should also include how the business end of the hip hop/music business works so kids can see the huge orchestration of marketing a nd the marketing process that,s behind the kids, Hip Hop idols.
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02/19/2008
BC, Canada

I was completely pulled into watching this documentary after flipping through the channels tonight. I admire Byron Hurt and PBS for this project and hope that everyone could spend the short amount of time and watch. I found it embarrassing as young white students relayed that their 'education' of black culture has been through the persona portrayed through rap videos and rap music. Thanks for this film.P.S. Read Stephen Katz book!
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02/19/2008
Virginia Beach, VA

I'm a 45-year white old woman who, back in the late 80's would watch occasionally watch rap videos with interest because I felt rap was giving a unique and important platform for African-American expression and issues... Then somewhere along the line, it turned more into the more formulaic gangsta/misogenistic stuff we see today, so I stopped listening.

I found this program to be very insightful as to why this might have happened and how possibly white males have factored into this darker turn. Very interesting indeed! I feel like there's little I can do about this situation as a white woman, but I can tell others about this documentary and hopefully get a dialog started. Thanks go out to Byron Hurt for a well-done and thorough documentary. Thanks!
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02/19/2008
Lucy Flanagan
Seattle, WA

Byron Hurts Hip-Hop: Beyond the Beats and Rhymes is a movie that so needed to be made. Kudos to this brave good filmmaker. It is a film needed by all society, by today's men, women and children, by truth and justice AND (my particular interest) needed by the innocent animals, the pitbulls, that young, disadvantaged men of the hip-hop culture feel the need to pick on tragically.
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02/11/2008
Lauren G.

Thank You for addressing this negative issue. This is a topic that we need to look at from all angles, and though a solution may not be easy to find right away. In time we all have to realize that we play a role in this problem. Instead of letting the violence roam through our media outlets; we should discover ways to sheild out the negativity in our communities.
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02/08/2008
Linda Restivo
Kenmore, NY

This evening for lack of sleep I turned on my favorite channel, PBS. By chance Independent Lens Broadcast Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Ryhmes.I could NOT turn it off. As a white female who has grown up with the sounds and images of Hip-Hop from the Sugarhill Gang to present, I found the documentary accurate and disturbing. I never really put much thought into the music.

As I matured I moved away from it due to it's violent images and negative depictions of women. It just sort of faded away for me. It happened the day I sold my Missy Elliot CD's. I was tired of the foul language, I have a son to raise. However,in Hip Hop Beyond Beats..one of the most disturbing portions of the show was the correlation between the depitction of Black Males in the film "Birth of a Nation" made almost 100 years ago. BIRTH OF A NATION depicted dark skinned males with big boned beautifully chisled bodies bursting out of their clothing, with 'small minds'(lazy?)unable to understand society as a whole,therefore ready to attack, rape and pillage ANYONE of ANY race.That these individuals are dangerous, unpredictable and should be avoided...by not only whites but society as a whole, for they may destroy it's very foundation. The males interviewed in the documentary described something akin to a religious BELIEF in carrying and modeling these SAME attitudes.Almost ingrained in their HEARTS by the HIP HOP Nation. These individuals are exploited not only by white men in suits, but their own people used like fodder to be showcased in a neatly organized box called BET., radio,XM or whatever. Persons from other races and colors, seem to be percieved by this group as...shall we say 'outsiders'? Unfortunatly these 'otsiders'... say for example white males, or myself. Enjoy it's music, relate to it's frustration for a time, attempt to assimilate it's 'culture'a bit, laugh at it's self seriousness as entertainment and move on into 'civil society'... a place where one moves on into regular jobs, businesses etc. while the 'Hip Hop Nation' becomes a joke and somehow eventually something to avoid and fear.

Suddenly as we mature we see that the Hip Hop lifestyle is verified almost daily on the evening news. Black on black violence,anger, agression all just like the songs we sang and did not take seriously! Watching the evening news every night, from the safety of little pink houses the images, violence, crime etc. seem to reafirm the sterotypes in Birth of a Nation! I agree with the author that the black community is doing itself a disservice by preying on it's own in perpetuating these terrible images, and attitudes for "entertainment". This seems to leave it's community completly confused as how to behave towards one another and society as a whole outside thuggery and inner city life. Hip Hop continues to legitimize the elements and images/lifestyles of self abuse/abuse of women/ drugs/and homophobia. In my humble opinion, this attitude STILL encourages a we (black/person or person of of color) against "them" which is no longer just whites but civil society as a whole.

I have been truly moved and frustrated. What part can I play in order to stop this train of self-destruction? As a white person who sees a black man in a hoodie what else am I to interpret but a negative image? Is he carrying a gun and ready to shoot? Or when I see a black woman who's body is scantilly clad and blackened by a beating do I open my mouth to converse or will I be told to "Fuck off?" I feel helpless, guilty on a daily basis for these thoughts as she sees ME as a foreigner to her experience,completly usless to befriend her our lives so seemingly distant. This doucumentary has opened my eyes and torn my heart even further. I guess the only way I can help is to change the channel.
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02/04/2008

Thank you for creating a film that will facilitate the discussion of the objectification of women, particularly women of African dissent which is disrespectful and irresponsible.
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02/04/2008

THANK YOU!!! For opening the dialog in the black community, for "hopefully" prompting our men and women to see the need for change. For addressing the issue of how our sisters are protrayed in hip hop. WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE? WHEN WILL WE STOP SELLING OURSELVES SHORT? WE MUST DECIDE THAT WE ARE MORE THAN GUNS, AND DEATH, AND SEX AND MONEY. WE ARE THE GREAT SURVIVORS!! THANK YOU!!!
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12/06/2007

I am a high school mathematics teacher in a public school in jackson, ms. i won't wax philosophically, pour out a human interest story, or any of that. i just want to thank you for making this film. it speaks truth to power.
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02/11/2008
Lauren G.

Thank You for addressing this negative issue. This is a topic that we need to look at from all angles, and though a solution may not be easy to find right away. In time we all have to realize that we play a role in this problem. Instead of letting the violence roam through our media outlets; we should discover ways to sheild out the negativity in our communities. 02/08/2008
Linda Restivo
Kenmore, NY

This evening for lack of sleep I turned on my favorite channel, PBS. By chance Independent Lens Broadcast Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Ryhmes.I could NOT turn it off. As a white female who has grown up with the sounds and images of Hip-Hop from the Sugarhill Gang to present, I found the documentary accurate and disturbing. I never really put much thought into the music.

As I matured I moved away from it due to it's violent images and negative depictions of women. It just sort of faded away for me. It happened the day I sold my Missy Elliot CD's. I was tired of the foul language, I have a son to raise. However,in Hip Hop Beyond Beats..one of the most disturbing portions of the show was the correlation between the depitction of Black Males in the film "Birth of a Nation" made almost 100 years ago. BIRTH OF A NATION depicted dark skinned males with big boned beautifully chisled bodies bursting out of their clothing, with 'small minds'(lazy?)unable to understand society as a whole,therefore ready to attack, rape and pillage ANYONE of ANY race.That these individuals are dangerous, unpredictable and should be avoided...by not only whites but society as a whole, for they may destroy it's very foundation.

The males interviewed in the documentary described something akin to a religious BELIEF in carrying and modeling these SAME attitudes.Almost ingrained in their HEARTS by the HIP HOP Nation. These individuals are exploited not only by white men in suits, but their own people used like fodder to be showcased in a neatly organized box called BET., radio,XM or whatever. Persons from other races and colors, seem to be percieved by this group as...shall we say 'outsiders'? Unfortunatly these 'otsiders'... say for example white males, or myself. Enjoy it's music, relate to it's frustration for a time, attempt to assimilate it's 'culture'a bit, laugh at it's self seriousness as entertainment and move on into 'civil society'... a place where one moves on into regular jobs, businesses etc. while the 'Hip Hop Nation' becomes a joke and somehow eventually something to avoid and fear.

Suddenly as we mature we see that the Hip Hop lifestyle is verified almost daily on the evening news. Black on black violence,anger, agression all just like the songs we sang and did not take seriously! Watching the evening news every night, from the safety of little pink houses the images, violence, crime etc. seem to reafirm the sterotypes in Birth of a Nation! I agree with the author that the black community is doing itself a disservice by preying on it's own in perpetuating these terrible images, and attitudes for "entertainment".

This seems to leave it's community completly confused as how to behave towards one another and society as a whole outside thuggery and inner city life. Hip Hop continues to legitimize the elements and images/lifestyles of self abuse/abuse of women/ drugs/and homophobia. In my humble opinion, this attitude STILL encourages a we (black/person or person of of color) against "them" which is no longer just whites but civil society as a whole.

I have been truly moved and frustrated. What part can I play in order to stop this train of self-destruction? As a white person who sees a black man in a hoodie what else am I to interpret but a negative image? Is he carrying a gun and ready to shoot? Or when I see a black woman who's body is scantilly clad and blackened by a beating do I open my mouth to converse or will I be told to "Fuck off?" I feel helpless, guilty on a daily basis for these thoughts as she sees ME as a foreigner to her experience,completly usless to befriend her our lives so seemingly distant. This doucumentary has opened my eyes and torn my heart even further. I guess the only way I can help is to change the channel.
divider
02/04/2008

Thank you for creating a film that will facilitate the discussion of the objectification of women, particularly women of African dissent which is disrespectful and irresponsible.
divider
02/04/2008

THANK YOU!!! For opening the dialog in the black community, for "hopefully" prompting our men and women to see the need for change. For addressing the issue of how our sisters are protrayed in hip hop. WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE? WHEN WILL WE STOP SELLING OURSELVES SHORT? WE MUST DECIDE THAT WE ARE MORE THAN GUNS, AND DEATH, AND SEX AND MONEY. WE ARE THE GREAT SURVIVORS!! THANK YOU!!!
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12/06/2007
Angela V. Frink
Brooklyn NY

I believe Mr. Neal and the record companies only speak to who is buying these albums. The documentary points out that most of the purchasers of this music are young white suburban males. Record Companies determine what is deemed hot in the music business, they also determine what gets played and what doesnt. Jill Scott and Erika Baydu were uncommon at one time but the record company some how found a way to make them 'conventional'and make a profit too. In essense, I think this statement is a cop-out and the record company is not looking for a diverse market just for marktability.
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11/27/2007

Like it or not, Rap is the child of Disco. What is hardly ever discussed in these forums is how MUCH importance Disco played in the inception of early rap (hence also Hip-Hop). In fact, it was the whole Disco epoch that birthed the rap movement. The early rappers have said so including Kool Herc himself. Disco was a HUGE phenomenon that was one of the most DIVERSE convergence of Black, White, Straight, Gay, Latino, Male/Female musical milieu's the planet has EVER seen. Disco was responsible for creating not only a scene where vastly different ethnicities/sexualities/genders could come together but also Disco single-handedly created the basic elements of Rap such as "DJ"ing and "MC"ing as well as the extended "Remix" (invented by Tom Moulton in the early-mid 70's). Almost ALL of the early rap songs isolated the baseline of DISCO songs to create the rap overlays (an editing style already used by the Disco remixers...) THAT fact is undeniable. Most of the Rap pioneers have even stated that it was because of their particular socio-economic reasons that prevented them from leaving the "hood" to join in the global phenomenon of Disco that made them stay put in their immediate area and create their own version of the Disco spirit that then transmutated into the Rap phenonmenon. At that time, Rap, unlike Disco, was a VERY specific and highly localized artform that was not aimed at a wider audience and thus created the inability for other people to participate for decades but that has now changed and is coming full cirlce back to it's Disco roots. Rap owes a debt of respect to Disco and House which respected the new Rap scene by incorporating Rap early into thier sounds as well--and it wasn't just Blondie but MANY late Disco and Early House tracks that did so. Rap is a child of Disco--like it or not and it is HIGH TIME that that fact is recognized at the highest levels of all Rap "history"/"documentation." This revisionist tendancy to claim that it sprang pure from the "ghetto" has got to stop. No matter what one's personal oppinion is, the music itself is the ultimate point of reference and it's all there for anyone who does the REAL research--and can refute any who say otherwise. Rap and Hip-Hop are very special to me but so is the whole Disco era--please respect the elders (who happen to be mentors and friends of Rap and Hip-Hop)!
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11/20/2007
ruby nelda
san antonio texas

First, it's a VERY important relationship that is vastly under acknowledged but also important to understand how the heavy disco influences of racial/cultural diversity and even STRONG homosexual, nay, omnisexual undertones went into the initial conception of Rap and Hip Hop which was then largely lost fairly quickly in the hegemony of the "ghetto" specific masculinity. Disco (the MUSIC as opposed to the places that played it) was possibly the closest this country (even globe) has ever gotten to creating an artform that corresponded to the current ideals of diversity, inclusiveness, equality and represented the entire spectrum coming together to create -- not fluff -- but a vibrant and truly amazing expression that the first rappers borrowed freely from to create their own unique sound. Rap did represent a sort of going backwards in that respect. A sort of back to separatism...a sort of specific specialization that did not extend a hand to others outside it's own confines until VERY recently -- very much like country music. Disco (now "House" music") = coming together. Rap=separatism. It's not a judgement, just a very interesting pattern. Very important "issues." Please have the courage to print these viewpoints that may even be unpopular though true. Thank you.
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8/16/07
Shanti
Brooklyn, NY

Growing up I was never really into Rap music. I heard it at parties and bumping in people's cars. As I entered high school, I began to listen to it more, but it wasn't impressive. To be honest it disgusted me in many ways. The fact that women of color would allow themselves to be treated in such a manner was unbelievable. Now that I am in college I rarely listen to Rap music simply because it's not music. It amazes me to see how women still allow themselves to be treated. I always said to myself that when a Rap artist was degrading us women, they were never talking about me, but in actuality they were and still are talking about me. I'm not what they say I am, but I am still offended.
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8/7/07

I think that the brothers really did a good job with this documentary, however it breaks my heart to see all those beautiful sisters let themselves be part of something that is so belittling, I understand that alot of this is just hype, but when i look at it from a woman's persppective it is degrading, lude, demeaning, and I guess I just don't understand how they feel this is making them feel like they are really being part of a positive force be REAL.
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8/2/07
8/2/07
YVR
Irving, Tx

It is amazing that this has finally happened. I was telling my brother about a couple of months ago how I am so tired of Rap. It seems to me that rappers have ran out of things to rap about and they seem to be in a rut. A very horrible one for that matter of fact. I feel so strong about every single subject that was touched in this documetary. I think it's very sad how these young men seem to think that they will never be more then just a guy off the street unless they become a statistic. A statistic that is surely to give them the fame and money they are so desperatley seeking. A statistic that will PROBABLY make one of them rise to the top but that same statistic will be their sad demise. A very disapponting truth. I come from a very good upper middle class home and I grew up with all of this around me. I heard it in the radio and I've experienced it first hand. My friends wishing that one day they would be discovered. They poored their heart and souls into becoming the next Snoop Dogg. Not caring what it would cost to get there. Not caring that their honor and the honor of their mothers, sisters, cousins, grandmothers, or aunts were at stake. And that is what they have been taught. "If you want it then fight for it." Selling themselves out. Not knowing how much it would cost to be able to look someone in the eye and say "I am not a statistic." Russel Simmons was a coward not being able to give a straight answer. The Clipse were pathetic not being able to look at Byron in the eyes. Jadakiss knew what he does is so wrong that he was getting offended by what he was being asked. Busta Rhymes a discrace to man kind. "That is not allowed in our culture" to quote him talking about homosexuality. It is hillarious how he can so bluntly admit to that. But I have one question for that BUSTA.........Homosexuality is not allowed but I guess talking about screwing some girl and selling drugs and killing someone is allowed in your culture? I guess being funny about how you "tape up familys" while your getting your picture taken and pretending you are holding a gun is allowed in your culture? It is sad to see grown men acting like they don't know any better then an animal. So strong and so powerful all these rappers must feel because they have bling all over their bodies because they have cars on 24 inch rims but in real truth they are so weak that they can't even pull themselves away from one word...... STATISTIC. A nine letter word holds them down and beats them to the ground. Can't pull way can you? IT IS PEOPLE LIKE THE GIRLS DANCING IN THE VIDEOS AND THE MEN RAPPING ABOUT ALL THE THINGS I JUST NAMED THAT SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED IN ANY CULTURE. It makes me feel better to know that there will be a time when all of them come crashing and burning down to the ground and nobody will be there to catch them because there is millions like them out there and they will be easily replaced and barely missed. And the sad part isn't even about what they are rapping but that they are so arrogant, ignorant, and close minded that they don't even see it coming.
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8/2/07
Keith Matthews
Dallas Texas

Hip-Hop:Beyond Beats adn Rhymes was on point in addressing the issues with the music industry. I know this has been said before but black folks need to wake the heck up. I that the documentart was great. The content was on point. I still say that rap when out of control when White America purchased NWA Niggas4Life. That was the signal to the record industry that a new market had been reached. I agree with everything was identified as an issue. Being an inner city person from Chicago, I fought hard a hell to stop following the bad images and think out the box. My only issue is that the program was aired at 2am. If it hadn't been for insomina I would have missed out! I commend the making of this documentary.
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8/2/07
Alex CLemons

I believe that hip hop and rap period ,carry a strong message whether its negitive or possitive.You half to choose what you get out of the music, music that i listen too carry's an importants to me because it talks about the struggle and how they got by. Any other music talks about the same thing its just not as blunt and recognizable.
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7/18/07
J.J.

This was a great documentary. It is a sad day when a form of music that was meant to be an expression of a youth culture that allowed everyone to belong has become what it is today. There are good artists out there. Mr. J Medieros of the Procussions has spoken on this topic many times. He's made it his goal to stop the misogyny and to reveal a more complex man through hip hop. Check out his video Constance if you get a chance. He tells the story of a girl involved in human trafficking and shows how it is a male dominated indistry. This is a fresh breath as he is mentioned in XXL for the video. It gives some hope to the future of hip hop where artists are creating music to break down the stereotypes and are getting noticed. We may hear one thing on the radio but there is good hip hop being made. It will inevitably surface as more progressive artists are recognized for their skill and are allowed to bring a greater perspective into their music.
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7/3/07
Mike
Baltimore, MD

When I saw this film, I had an epiphany. When the wealthy power-elite bought the media in the early 90's they began a sytematic effort to combat the advances the civil rights movement and maintain their power by creating a false impression of black culture. I once saw a letter to slave owners that basically said if you can keep the men against the women and themselves, they will never gain the ability to unite and cease the power they could so easily have. When the economic decision to free slaves was made, everyone outside the powe-elite fit into the category of those in the letter. Its not white people its extremely wealthy "old money" people. If they can keep the majority believing tha black men are scary and women are objects, then whites and blacks, women and men, will never stand together and ask why they get to have 90% of all our nation's money and while we bicker and blame, fear and despise others. 99% of americans, black, white, hispanic, gay, women, men, are living the way 1% thinks will best serve them. This is what the film taught me. I think we all need to get off the plantation.
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7/3/07
Rack
San Francisco, ca

Hugh-EMC is good to hear from you blackman, fillmoe has changed a lot and it's always good to hear cats still breathing and doing well. I can still see Fillmoe Slim doing his thang on Divisedero, Amp and La Grande going head to head in basketball at Ella Hill Hutch, Demons of the Mind and Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind going at eachother in the talent shows, KPOO, Big Shelby, Fitzgerald, E-Hill and me going at it at the dunk courts .......Foodland .............. Virgo's.........my little cousin's rack skers, proppa D, OCO, D-Dunn and Sweets doing they thang. Man I miss those day's in " The Moe" Fillmoe is who I am, was, and will always be. People talk bad about "The Moe" but it shaped me into the man I am today, you gotta get everything from your spot, not just the bad " Big-Rack"
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7/3/07
PRICE24S
HUNTSVILLE ALABAMA

I think we live how we live because people are brought up on faith and remember the phrase that tommorrow is not promised. So on that note we step out every morning living life like it could be the last day. I think music is not harsh it is just art, a reflection of ones self. I think music is made for people like me to escape the unescapable meaning to take my mind out of or into a world that I know is out there. Believe it or not alot of people are born and raised and die all in the same town so music is an outlet for people who really live the life that rappers rap about because they are telling the stories of so many great people who really dont get the credit they deserve for all the sacrifes, heartache, courage, determination, ambition, and networking just because they tried to make a living to make sure that not only them but their families could have a better life and guns, sex, and viloence is part of it but only a small part; the biggest part is the money and money has the phrase on it "in god we trust" and we go all out for the money trusting that god be with us. We know that money can change everything we saw that with oj simpson. Now just imagine if he had a public defender
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6/12/07
Nartoshia Wilson
Atlanta, GA

I actually saw the Independent Lens film june 05 at 1:00 in the morning and i couldnt turn from it nor go to sleep. I feel it's crazy how we, young women and overall an African American community, can say "oh that is so degrading", but we dance to the same music. If we feel that the music is so degrading, why are we purchasing the music, listening to the radio, or watching the videos. We can contain this by taking a stand. This type of music will not sell if we dont purchase it. And these rappers, not hip-hop artists, feel that its okay to call a woman out her name. The interview with the caucasian kids made me think. The girl said she listens to our music to understand our culture and our ways. I dont want anyone saying that because im black i wear short skirts and my chest hangs out. i dont want them to say that im inarticulate and i get around with all the boys in the hood, because "it aint no fun unless thay all get some". I dont want my brother to be known as a thug with his pants hanging down and guns in his pockets, and dont forget that he will slap a female down. just say im still an everyday teen but i dont listen to rap, i dont buy any cds, and i turn the radio. if everyone decided to take a stand such as, we would have hip hop and not this meaningless rapping.
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6/7/07 GA

For those of you who love (and sometimes hate) Hip-Hop: I happened to catch this eeeeaaaaarrrrrlllllyyyyyyy this morning when I couldn't sleep. My TV is usually on PBS late at night, but when I say a bunch of half dressed black girls with their rumps "pixelated" out, I was like, "What the (fill in your appropriate expletive)?!". After I realized what the show really was about, I completely forgot about trying to get BACK to sleep because it was done so well. This film is NOT just for Hip-Hop Heads. And it's definitely not just an excuse for some guy to point the camera at scantilly-clad sistahs on the street and say, "See, this is what encourages a black man to call a black woman a ŒB' or an ŒH'". Quite frankly, Bryan Hurt exposes just about all the ills of the current state of Hip-Hop in an a very succinct manner ˆ and I came in on the MIDDLE of the thing!

He explores all of the obvious notions about the music -- i.e., the misogyny of hip-hop, the rampant violence in the lyrics and images, the clothing "style" adopted primarily from what's known as the "jailhouse experience", the irony that the largest hip-hop consumer is WMUM (white, male, upper-middle class), the commercialization-slash-stereotyping of the music by record companies interested only in bottom-line profit, and the almost silenced political activism voice, a.k.a., P(ublic) E(nemy). But he goes further to include the not-so-obvious ˆ i.e., the demasculization of black men by other black men, the over-the-top homophobia (Busta Rhymes, a hip-hop artist that has in the past been quietly accused of being "on the DL" couldn't even continue the interview when the other "H" word was mentioned), the extensive amount of homo-erotic images (like LL, JaRule, and Fifty all posing shirtless for the cover of magazines bought primarily by MALES), and, of course, the hip-hop version of the "DL factor".

This film even made ME question why I still listen to the music ˆ and that's a HUUUGE deal. I know this documentary is usually aired at an ungodly hour (at least here in GA) and that's due primarily to the explicit language. But, considering the subject matter, it wouldn't work without it ˆ you'd only hear a series of FCC Œbeeps' (extremely distracting). I can accept that. For all da Mama's and Papa's∑please show it to your kids (if they're old enough, that is). All I can say is∑ WOW!
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4/19/07
Brittany W
Elk Grove, Ca


Mr. Bryon Hurt expose was so well done we are parents of a 16 yr junior in high school, both young white professionals. The wide angle expose we watched enlighted us, we really listened to our daughters cds, ring tone ect,and were disurbed by the blantant use of violence,degradation of women. Thank you for helping us to have a discussion about this issue and make some much needed changes in our family. We hope you continue to have success. On a personal note we feel this would be a wonderful subject on Oprah, think how many lives you could change if she addressed this issue.
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4/19/07
Bobby Gerstenberg
Wyoming, Mi


If you like famous rap, hip-hop and you don't want them and the music to be banned then take a stand thats all i have to say. Take a stand for your thoughts it won't cost you nothing.
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4/19/07
Bobby Gerstenberg
Hershey, Pa.


I commend Byron for this tremendous film because of the courage it takes. My school, Milton Hershey School, is doing a showing of it next week and hopefully the turnout will be great! I am glad that this film was made and hopefully will spur change within the culture and then the effects will trickle down to all cultures and represent hip hop much better to all people.
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4/19/07
Cynthia Smith


This is a letter recently submitted to Fox:

The recent racial slur from Shock Jock Don Imus is just the tip of the iceberg. Just a few months ago it was Michael Richards, and already another headline Video Shows German Army Instructor..." How much longer do we have to stand by silently - while the World denegrates/castigates and dehumanize African Americans?

Haven't we contributed to the world? Don't we deserve a place at the table? You (the media) keep toting out Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson, that's who you call for statements on every issue that touches the African American community? The African American community never said they were our leaders. That is a designation that comes from you! Who are your leaders? Who speaks for White Folks?

Now the issue of Hip Hop music has surfaced. If you do your research correctly - You'll find that African American women spoke out on this same subject years ago - to deaf ears. If you do your research you'll find rap music initially spoke of the conditions of the African American community - and had a positive message. There are only five major record companies that dominate the industry - each comprised of a variety of individual labels. The identity of the Big 5 has remained the same. They are responsible for the music that is produced - The artist will tell you - They cannot get a recording contract with rap that speaks in a positive nature. I challenge you to view Independent Lens "HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," by Byron Hurt (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/hiphop/film.htm), furthermore, Now you want to toot the horn calling for a review on Rap lyrics, Dr. C. Delores Tucker initially called for this in the 1990's - the media gets on the band wagon Late as usual - read the following from Dr. Tucker - "It is a crime that we are promoting these kind of messages. The whole gangster rap industry is drug-driven, race-driven, and greed-driven," said Tucker. Or, perhaps even simpler, "It is not healthy for our children." Tucker led a national campaign against rap music with violent lyrics in the 1990s and became the face of opposition to its messages. Her vocal attacks offended many rappers, including, which caused them to ridicule her in their lyrics.

Further - I believe if you review recent statistics on who is purchasing this music - you'll find that Caucasian children may have surpassed African Americans in purchases. As for leaders, we are all self lead - self determining - with the deck stacked against us. There is good and bad and every ethnic group, American has some deep seated institutionalized racism that is extremely detrimental to it being a fully developed country. Until we have an Open conversation about the issue of Racism in America - there will continue to be problems.
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4/12/07
Mary Spiro
Baltimore, MD


So now in light of the Don Imus comments. do we agree or disagree that to some extent the entertainment "culture" of degrading women has now become so mainstream that old white men on TV can talk the same way? Did Imus think it was OKAY to use those hateful and racially charged words without impunity? What do you think?
I think his behavior is disgraceful and ignorant--just like I think it is ignorant when I hear someone refer to a white person who acts "black" as a whigger! But then here's the reverse: Why is it okay in some movies that I've seen lately for the black characters in movies to insult the white characters in a racial way and that's OKAY?? (My example is one of the cheerleader movies "Bring It On" and several other similar ones--white kid moves to black neighborhood and gets picked on etc. etc. Is this OKAY???
Please comment.
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3/27/07
Bill Lowman


I applaud the brother for doing his film and raising these issues. It takes courage and initiative to accomplish this work. With that sincerely said: my prayer is the focus will lead to studying the amazing phenomenon that is Rap and Hip Hop. What would a Harvard economist say if you told him back in 1975 that young Black kids from the ghetto would create a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry? This and many more amazing things were done with practically nothing. I don't put much energy into the so called negative aspects of Hip Hop. Hip Hop is what white supremacy wants it to be 'above ground'. The problems with Hip Hop are as American as apple pie and lynching. see:www.august-wilson-univesirty.blogspot.com
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3/27/07
Dallas, TX


I used to love hip-hop. Back when the music used to be rebellious and relentless in questioning the status quo of brutal injustice and authoritarianism. Since the introduction of gangsta rap, or hate rap as it should be called, it has been co-opted by The Man into becoming an unapologetic and fierce defender of that horrible status quo, specifically with regards to the bigotry targeting girls and women (Do not confuse intolerance and hate with rudeness by calling it "disrespect.").

Hip-hop is the blunt and violent expression of our society's deep-seated misogyny just like Jim Crow represented the brutal reality of racism. Both exploit bigoted assumptions to incite hate. For example, anti-female slurs such as "bitch" and "whore" are used casually by all as ways to target (female) misbehavior, even though since gender is the determining factor it degrades femaleness. Remember, Jim Crow used "porch monkey" to degrade blackness while using alleged (black) laziness as a cover.

Rap never would've been able to use "bitch" as a synonym for "woman" or "girl" if society actually considered it a slur rather than merely foul language. Slurs dehumanize and demonize, which allows violent oppression to be justified. Slurs allow the dominant group to believe they are entitled to be judge, jury, and executioner of an entire group of people. The epidemic of male violence against women and girls is testament to that.
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3/13/07
Hinta
Jackson, MS

I applaud the efforts of Mr. Hurt for bringing this culture's characteristics to light. Hip-hop to me is both a blessing and a curse. It's richness at one time, was the blessing. At this time, hip-hop has become nothing but a low-brow hustle that designed for the sole purpose of making money and making a "hustle." Most of the positive influences of hip-hop are overshadowed by the need for major record companies to make the young men and women who make their music become what the label desires them to be. A true nature of any hip-hop artist will be challenged by anyone who promises and often delivers fame and riches to the artist of hip-hop. Mr. Hunt tells the story but more is there to be told; I hope that more stories will come to the light about how hip-hop affects our Black culture and other cultures as well.

I find hip-hop to be in need of rejuvenation and purification. Then again, hip-hop may simply be one of those kinds of musical forms that will have its hey day then simply vanish to the back lands of obscurity and only be mentioned under hushed tones of being "that music that crushed Black Folks' hopes." I am an optimist. I believe that the true talents of hip-hop will come to show the world what hip-hop is really about and bring more positive influences for all to see. It is up to folks, however to see and hear what Mr. Hunt has to say because to put it plainly, "Mr. Hurt ain't telling no lie."
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3/13/07
Virginia Johnson
Washington, DC

Thank you so much for this program! I admit my love of hip hop was brief - some time between 1991 and 1994. I don't really listen to it now (& from your program, I learned why!). What blew me away about this film/piece was that it brought SO MANY major strands together in a seamless way. On the one hand, you talked about homophobia and yet many hip hop performers hold such a strong appeal for transsexuals - why would that be? On the other hand, you address the issue of violence against women, and whether or not that is REFLECTIVE of society or something DRIVEN by profit motives. Finally, you showed so many guys (no women) out on the street saying that gangsta rap is all they are sort of allowed to do, because no one wants to hear anything more complex than that. THANK YOU. The intelligence behind this film was awesome. It really blew me away. And so was the love of the genre. (Saw it on Channel 32 WHUT-TV.)
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3/13/07
Frederick L. Slack
Indianapolis, IN

As a young woman of color, breaking into the hip-hop Industry, I have noticed the issues brought up in this documentary. It's exposing a prominent side of the genre that has started to trouble me. I can do most of the provocative moves, and enjoyed dancing sexually with friends. It wasn't until recently that I started questioning what kind of image I was creating for myself. In any successful hip-hop video, there are always promiscuous women, money/bling, masculinity and/or violence. This is contributing to the roles individuals see themselves having to play to be an accepted part of the "hip" community. People are enforcing stereotypes and negatively impacting how the world views them.

Western women are viewed as sexually easy. The common use of words like bitch, ho, whore etc. contributes to this stereotype. Although some women have tried to change the meaning (Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah...), is it possible?

African-Americans call themselves nigger, a word with an extremely dehumanizing background. Again, reinforcing stereotypes, and even giving white people the incentive to view them as possessions. No person of color smiles to themselves when they hear of white people using words like nigger as the derogatory name it is. Are we really helping ourselves by using racist slurs? Resolutions anyone? Should this sub-genre of Hip-Hop be abandoned? How? When and where is it acceptable for young women to dance provocatively? We need to start making some changes. We must act before America loses what little dignity it has left.
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3/6/07
MISTA SANDMAN
MISSOURI CITY, TXS

I am an artist and I AM IN TOTAL agreement with you to a certain extent, I don't believe that the industry controls jack,see,I AM AN INDEPENDENT RECORD company. EGOTISTIC RECORDS,and as long as there is blood in my veins,I'm gone spit relevant VENOM..You could be called a hypocrite if you aint checkn fa me and I aint no saint,but Im tired of the mind set.Im not gonna toot my own horn Bra,but you definitely need to check me out...MISTA SANDMAN [KNUCKLE UP]EMAIL me back and let me lace you up on what Im finna bless our people with.Im nobodies pawn,and I KNOW WHAT OUR PEOPLE NEED,and I know what youre talkn about.
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3/6/07
B.Perkins
Nashville, Tenn.

Your documentary was alarming,and you should be commended for bringing this monster the front.I have talked to co-workers (brothers)who are younger than I about these very issues.I feel it is another example of a "Trojan Horse" that is to give the black culture what it wants,while at the same time profiting and causing destruction.There is nothing wrong with recreation and entertainment,but We fail again to see the plan of our own self- destruction.Furthermore,if Hip-Hop music was done away with what would take it's place? Popular music(commercial music)during my youth was soul and R&B which seems to be not marketable anymore,would blues,jazz,or some other form of music fill the void if Hip-Hop was gone?As people of color we should ask ourselves, who is really laughing all the way to the bank!
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3/6/07
Walt B
El Paso, Texas

Seriously, is it that shocking? Yes, believe or not, this documentary is all true, but didn't we already know what was going on. For such a long story on all the bad things going on with Hip Hop, correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't hear anything about a resolution. I don't think Hip Hop is a cause of a lot of the social issues discussed, just a bi-product of other issues. Hip Hop is just like any other style of music. KRS One said it best, True Hip Hop isn't a style of music, Its a lifestyle. Its the poetry of the artist, DJs, Break dancers, and graffiti artist that make Hip Hop, thats all-nothing else. Not about money, cars and naked girls. All hip hop is not created equal.
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3/6/07
Mama C
Spokane, Wa

I watched this over a week ago & I still can't shake the thought of the white record company execs dominating the non-white world of rap/hip-hop. Whites are in "control" of the black dominated world. Strange dichotomy isn't it? I was struck by the conversation with the young kids in Daytona. When asked why they rap about killin' & stuff, they all said that's what the "people" want. If they want to make it in the biz, they have to rap about that stuff. The record companies don't want to hear anything else. They don't want to hear about treating women properly. They don't want to hear about blacks getting along. Why? Why is it that killing & sex sells in the industry? I believe there are too many answers to that question but I still wonder why the white leaders are calling the shots to the black workers? Slavery anyone? A stretch...maybe...but it is plausible nonetheless. Think about it.
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3/6/07
Mark Salata
Boston, MA

Thank you for putting together a great documentary. It is great because of the questions you asked and who you challenged to answer them. Of course, in the end, a great documentary helps the viewer ask themselves those challenging questions. I have long left Hip Hop and most rap music behind me simply because I realized the message was more than redundant and ridiculous - it was tragic. Tragic in the sense that it was negative and caustic to humanity as a whole. I have kept only one of my tapes (yes, cassette tapes) - Kool Moe Dee's "Knowledge is King". I wish that more rappers would produce products like that particular track - uplifting and challenging. I met one youth who fits that vision. His name is Badi and can be found at http://www.badimusic.com/ Thank you again for such a great documentary.
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3/6/07
AJ
Boston, MA

I loved the documentary and think it should be in everyone's library. I loved rap when it first came out. There was some bragging about each other's hood, but it wasn't as foul and degrading as it is now. We should ask ourselves when our kids are listening to this crap, "Would I want this person to be child's everyday teacher in school?" That is what it comes down too. They hear the same 10 records all day, everyday. They know the words, beats, pauses, etc. If you want to impress me, recite your multiplication tables. As far as the masculinity, these guys are emotionally constipated and devoid of any ability to show real emotion because it will make them look "weak". Yet, their weakness is on display every time their records play. As far as Stephen Hill is concerned, wasn't he busted for "payola"?, taking money from companies to play certain videos in heavy rotation which would otherwise be filed in trash bins. What about Radio One, isn't that owned by a black woman? The Radio One FM station that was here in Boston played the same crappy music as the Jammin stations. Then they sold out the am and fm stations and skipped town, leaving us with no major black owned station or outlet for our music or forums. Is that race or is that just the good old bottom line? We need to take responsibility for our own. Turn off the radio, turn off the tv. Let us decide what we will listen to and not listen to. We are so quick to just accept what is thrown on the radio. Playing this also squeezes out the people with real talent and something positive to say. Where are out musicians? You know, the ones that can play and read and write music?
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3/6/07
M Moore
District Heights

This comment is in response to the Hip Hop Rap segment: As long as there is supremacy in our vocabulary, there will always be a slot for afro-americans and latinos. After all, we are athletic, singers, over sexed and entertaining to watch. Why not cash in on them. Have we become what we've been told through generations, or are our kids being brain washed to be come these thugs? These lyrical males and females have sold themselves to the man with the power to get them exposure, wealth and fame. After they sign on the dotted line they given their souls away.

As an afro-american woman, I find hip hop music and their message very offensive and demoralizing. I don't listen to it or allow it in my home. If we continue to allow this type of visual violence to invade our homes and air waves, tell me who in the world will be safe from the insuing criminal acts to follow.The VP's and CEO's of the industry would tell us it's not their problem. There're just business billionaires prostituting every talent they can find to keep them living on easy street. Their images of black men and women does not represent the whole. Those who are driven by the love of money have sold their souls to the devil just to get it. Thank you for airing this peace, it truly opened my eyes to alot of questions I had.
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3/6/07
Jon

No... it didn't change my view... i pretty much always thought hip hop was going downhill since i started college in 94 and noticed that hip hop has taken a wrong turn somewhere. This made me dig for more hip hop like Tribe and De La. I would have loved to hear him explore, with women, what they think about the image of the type of man they're attracted to based on this images they see in the music nowadays. It seems to me that a lot of women say they want a "real man". I wish they could define this for me a little better than someone who will fight for them. When i say fight i mean physically beat down. It's like they want their own little thug at home, but then yell about where the nice guys are they can take home to mom. I think this image is hurting to society and the structure of the family in general. If people start choosing each other based on false images, relationships won't last and more and more kids are going to have to deal with parents that don't get along because they got together forthe wrong reasons. This just keeps the cycle going.
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3/6/07
Sarah
Bozeman, MT

I found this documentary very interesting. It reinforced my thoughts and feelings about today's corporate rap. An unlikely fan of hip-hop as a rural white woman approaching middle age, my progression as a fan started in 1989 with the Beastie Boys and went on to groups like De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, and Digable Planets during the 90's. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre had good beats, but the lyrics made me uncomfortable. I grew a bit disenchanted with hip-hop until I was turned on to independent underground hip-hop several years ago. Not listening to all the sexist, violent rap out there had almost let me forget it existed. It was as if I just put it in another category all together like a separate genre that I had no interest in.

Thank you for bringing forward the reality of the impact that genre has on today's youth. I don't know what the answer is, but certainly developing a dialogue is a good start. It is too bad that the thousands of talented rappers and emcee's who chose to show respect in their music and lyrics are overlooked by the record companies. With new technologies like small recording studios, the internet (myspace, for all its faults, is an amazing network for musicians), podcasts, CBC3 satellite radio (a whole lotta hip-hop coming out from our neighbors to the north), maybe the market is changing. Artists are better able to promote themselves, and although they may not be making millions, they can be proud of what they stand for. Eventually corporate music may take notice of this movement, until then I hope the non-listeners and non-fans of hip-hop don't let the corporate "pimps and playas" completely soil the reputation of rap and hip-hip.
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3/6/07
Dutch
New York, New York

I haven't seen the documentary but I don't really have to. The fact is we have to look at the black community as a community within a community. It's akin to being a cancer cell, within a larger tumor. In this case the larger tumor is the mainstream society with all it's glorification of violence, misogyny and perverted manhood. Within that paradigm exists a smaller sub community where violence, misogyny and perverted notions of sexuality and manhood thrive. Yes, there are problems within our community, but we cannot begin to solve the problems of black people until we solve the problems of American people concerning the issues discussed in this movie.
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3/6/07
Washington, DC

I loved this film. Mr. Hurt did an excellent job examining and presenting this issue from various angles. Keep up the good work.
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3/2/07
Gregory Kustra, Transcendental Renaissance; hip-hop
Bentley, Michigan

I have viewed your documentary, and am contemplating your conclusion. I am in agreement with your view and would like to further promote your thought, as well as share my own, on how one might confront this most serious negative influence on a society as a whole.
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3/2/07
Vladimir Sanchez
San Francisco, Ca

First, asking your questions: Yes, the documentary really opened my eyes on hip-hop and gender. I was not really aware of the lack of respect for women and its impact on daily life. The section on Daytona, where young guys were touching and filming women on a street as if they were just an entertainment object for them was shocking for me. As the father of a 4 year old daughter, I have started to open my eyes to the cultural trends and behaviors that trigger misogyny and disrespect for women. i do not want my daughter to be treated that way and neither she walking with fear on the streets. I think people does not realize the influence of the media on people, young kids and adults, the daily repetition of the hate lyrics, the reinforcement of stereotypes, and the worst of all is that is totally business driven. white guys in suits ans ties filtering and promoting what they observer is going to increase their bottom line, not having in mind the social impact of this forced and filtered trend.The macho-thug-bad ass guy is totally a stereotype, and I think it's just another reflection of the society in America. I just immigrated 2 years ago to the USA, from South America, and there there is also a tend to make gods of these "tough" guys, again because the social and economic differences give the kids an escape valve in the hate lyrics, but there is not much done by them besides complaining and trying to get rich on the next 2 days. money = respect This documentary is a great contribution, the diverse angles it shows makes it a complete and integral reflection. continue your work.
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3/2/07
JULIE CROSBY
ATLANTA, GA

After seeing the Independent Lens documentary, I had to take down my books and re-read the first chapter of Ralph Ellisons Invisible Man (copyright 1947.) A young black man is invited to a meeting to give a speech, actually his oration at his high school graduation. Unbeknownst to him, he and several other young black schoolboys are to be the spectacle of a host of white men and women, pillars of the community. The boys are first obligated to watch a white woman dance in the nude; then they are blindfolded and commanded to beat each other in a boxing ring; finally they are told to take money from an electrified rug. Through it all, the young blacks are a spectacle for the white people. After having been beat up and ridiculed, the young man gives his speech, and is given a briefcase, which contains a scholarship to a state college for Negroes. These are the words he is told: Boy, take this prize and keep it well. Consider it a badge of office. Prize it. Keep developing as you are and some day it will be filled with important papers that will help shape the destiny of your people. Whoever thought that racism or ridiculing people of another race went the way of the dinosaurs needs to see this documentary. Thank you for opening my eyes!
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3/2/07
Bill Allen
Minneapolis, MN

Finally, some plain, honest talk about the disaster hip-hop has become. Brother Hurt, you've done a courageous job exposing the commercial basis for the disintegration of hip-hop and rap (that were once promising and vibrant art forms). But, your film has also emphasized how unaware many of us have become of the corrosive effects the negative messages in much popular rap has on our ethnic identity. Ironically, as shameful and degrading as rap can be to women, you've helped those who will see understand how it actually undermines our identity and dignity as African-American men. Thanks to you, the producers and Independent Lens for keepin' it real!
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3/2/07
Rhoda
Marietta, Georgia

I am a black female. In general, I do not like rap. Every once in a while, a rap song with a good beat will come along and I enjoy it, but overall, I cannot connect with the hip-hop culture at all. The music is too sexual. A week ago, I went to wash my car. A young black male pulled up with music blasting. While he dried his car, a song came on that literally said, "... I want to f*ck you." I couldn't believe my ears. I mean, he had the stereo up full blast for the whole world to hear. He seemed so proud, and I was totally disgusted. I hear this type of cr@p music again and again. It wasn't this way long ago. Rock bands and most pop singers do not constantly sing about sex acts.

My opinion is that the reason why black males are so overly sexual is because they're not succeeding in the workplace. They feel whipped out there compared to Caucasian, Asian and Hispanic men, so they concentrate on something that they believe they can be good at... sex. Basically they are bored and their idle minds are being filled with a lot of junk.

I enjoyed some rap years ago, but now I just want to plug my ears. It makes no sense to me what they are singing about. It's not helping the black community. We need some serious mentors, especially in the entertainment world. The problem keeps repeating itself. The black family will continue to erode. Black men aren't about anything. They are so full of anger and they cannot take authority. Black women will continue to have unplanned pregnancies and raise up children without fathers. The black family desperately needs help. I don't know where the answer is coming from. I get my help from the Lord. I think the black community needs to go back to the church and God will heal each person's low self-esteem issues and raise up a stronger generation.
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3/2/07
Allen
Colunbus, Ohio

Criticism without activism is useless. I enjoyed your film and I believe it is capable of igniting the appropriate discourse, but only in the most ideal setting. Im disappointed by any conversation that ends with the problem any problem ultimately being blamed on the system. It is up to us to take responsibility for our own actions and destinies. That is the only way they will manifest themselves in our daily lives. For your next project, might I suggest thinking about a way to convince young people to take their education seriously. Then perhaps more of them will be able to look you in the eye and defend their own personal role in the proliferated perceptions. You've demonstrated great courage by putting this out. Will you help foster that same courage in others?
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2/28/07
CodecMichael Derrick
Lake City, South Carolina

I am an administrator in a middle school and can tell you that I think the general public is unaware of the impact of the hip-hop culture on today's youth. Most young people in my school idolize gangsta rappers and love what they see in the videos on tv. Students spend so much time listening to music and watching videos that school is simply not a concern at all. This cycle is not going to be broken until well-known celebrities in music, entertainment, and the sports world step up and start promoting a positive message about what changes need to take place in America. The achievement gap between black and white students is as big as it has ever been and well not close nation wide until these changes take effect. If anyone has been paying attention to Oprah's Leadership Academy and the special that was on tv, you might be aware that she was questioned about why she would be helping children in Africa when we have children in America that need help as well. She put it wonderfully when she said that those children and their parents value education and children from similar backgrounds in America do not.
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2/28/07
Codec
Madison, WI

I'm not much of and mc myself but I do rap and write. All the other stuff you posted is trill as shit but putting it frankly,dead prez already wrote that song and your straight bitin'. Love,peace, godspeed p.s. it might just be that I think the idea of mind/word whatever sex is tacky,pretentious and played out im just a cynical prick though.
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2/28/07
John
Virginia Beach, VA

The film is an excellent piece of work. This film is long over due. As a man who grew up listening to hip-hop, I completely understand and agree with the Filmmaker, Byron Hurt. It's hard to believe that it has come to this end. We really have adult men out their in the world teaching their children to be criminals, thugs, pimps and anything but a real man. I hope that Black men across America wakeup before it's too late to save our sons.
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2/28/07
Scot Kuyten
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

The film maker did an excellent job overall on this topic, but the one thing he messed up on was calling it Hip Hop. There is no Hip Hop in Busta Rhymes and Jadakiss, they are both Rappers, not Emcees. Jadakiss looked high on crack in his interviews, dilated pupils times ten, and Busta Rhymes couldn't emcee if his life depended on it. Rappers are just material objects, used by record companies to make money. Emcees are the real deal, the true talent taking it farther than using the same beat in every song and gunshots throughout the album. Hip Hop comes from the heart, not from what someone tells you to write. The film did not change my perspective on Hip Hop, as I could have told you rappers are ridiculously stupid and fake. As far as masculinity is concerned, every man is always in a bigger dick contest. Every rapper (male) is so self conscious about their size that they have to talk about how big it is and how little everyone else is, hence all those weak battle raps and songs from the countless small losers that call themselves rappers. There is no masculinity in rap, there never was. All of these rappers are still mushy and gushy when they see their moms and grandparents, so wheres the masculinity, i'm a hardcore gangsta f*** everyone in that? They are all fake. Mark Anthony Neil is wrong in his statement, because the record companies promote that useless, tasteless s*** THEY like to call Hip Hop. If they promoted the well talented, normal human being emcees like Sean Daley (Slug), Adam Drucker (Dose One) and the countless underground emcees who busted their balls physically and mentally to create the masterpieces they still push out there today, then it wouldn't be considered Underground Hip Hop, and those losers in mainstream "Hip Hop", would be non-existent because they dont have what it takes to succeed. Race has a huuuuuuge part to do with the Hip Hop game. Anyways, good documentary. Excellent information, well worth buying on dvd (if available). I just hope the film maker doesn't actually like that filth, and is more of an underground kind of guy.
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