Youth React to Documentary on Issues in
Beyond Beats and Rhymes 9 pm Friday, May 25, on WILL-TV
Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A
Local Response 9:58 pm Friday, May 25
in WILL’s Youth Media Workshop wrote a letter that convinced
filmmaker Byron Hurt to visit Champaign-Urbana to speak about
his new documentary on masculinity and hip-hop.
Hurt and local hip-hop experts spoke to an overflow crowd for a
March 13 screening and town hall discussion at the Spurlock
Museum’s Knight Auditorium. The YMW students filmed the
discussion as well as some of their own reaction to the
documentary for a half-hour video, Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A
Local Response. It airs on WILL-TV at 9:58 p.m. Friday, May
25, after a 9 p.m. re-airing of Hurt’s documentary, Hip-Hop:
Beyond Beats and Rhymes.
“For the follow-up program, the students interviewed Byron Hurt
and also talked on camera about what they had learned
from their hip-hop project,” said WILL’s Kimberlie Kranich,
co-director of the Youth Media Workshop.
Hurt, a former college quarterback-turned-activist, is a
self-described “hip-hop head” who took an in-depth look at
masculinity and manhood in rap and hip-hop, where he says
creative genius collides with misogyny, violence and homophobia.
The Youth Media Workshop used Hurt’s film to encourage students
to take a critical look at hip-hop. One of goals of the YMW
project is affirming youth who create more socially relevant
hip-hop, Kranich said. “One of our own students, Nick Green,
wrote a rap that was featured on the national Web site for
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” she said.
The students had a lively dialogue with Hurt when he was in
town. Urbana High School student Jay Walker told Hurt he was mad
when he watched the film because it seemed to show only the bad
side of hip-hop. Hurt responded that he wasn’t trying to say all
hip-hop was bad. “I don’t want hip-hop to be banned or to be
censored,” Hurt said. “I don’t want people to stop listening to
hip-hop. I just want people to listen to hip-hop from a critical
perspective, so that we just don’t accept everything that we
Ninety-four percent of people who attended the town hall meeting
said in feedback questionnaires that participation in the
screening and discussion helped them see how the recording
industry promotes a narrow range of hip-hop music to consumers.
Ninety-four percent said attending helped them better see how
violence against women and gay people are part of mainstream
culture and mainstream hip-hop culture.
Kranich said the survey results showed that the event had an
impact. “These are the kinds of discussions we want to have
happen, and they are continuing,” Kranich said. “Since our
event, teachers and youth program leaders have been showing the
film to their students and having talks with them.”
More about Byron
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