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Liberation Film Series presents
Liberation Film Series presents "Hip-Hop Beyond Beats & Rhymes" Film Screening & Discussion
Sat, Jan 12  2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
General Motors Theater - Detroit
Film Screening


The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Liberation Film Series presents a free screening of Hip-Hop Beyond Beats & Rhymes, followed by the discussion, Did You Ever Really Love Me?”: What Hip Hop Teaches Us about Race, Gender & Sexual Politics, with Dr. Dionne Bennett, in the Museum's General Motors Theater.

hip-hop-beyond-beats-and-rhymesHip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture.

Director Byron Hurt, former star college quarterback, longtime hip-hop fan, and gender violence prevention educator, conceived the documentary as a "loving critique" of a number of disturbing trends in the world of rap music. He pays tribute to hip-hop while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood.

The documentary features revealing interviews about masculinity and sexism with rappers such as Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss, and Busta Rhymes, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and cultural commentators such as Michael Eric Dyson and Beverly Guy-Shetfall.

Critically acclaimed for its fearless engagement with issues of race, gender violence, and the corporate exploitation of youth culture.

Filmmaker's Bio

BYRON HURT | Director, Producer, Writer
Central Islip, NY native Byron Hurt is a filmmaker, gender violence prevention worker, and former star college quarterback. He has a diverse background in the media, with work experience in broadcast television, print, public relations, and long-form documentary. He was a production assistant for Stanley Nelson's American Experience PBS documentary, Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind and is the producer of the "underground classic" award-winning documentary film, I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America. Hurt is also the associate director of Mentors in Violence Prevention-Marine Corps (MVP-MC), the first system-wide gender violence prevention program in the history of the United States military. Hurt has lectured and facilitated workshops at colleges and universities nationwide including the University of Kentucky, Southern Oregon University, Washington State University, UMass-Amherst, St. John's University, Loyola Marymount-Los Angeles, University of North Carolina, and the University of Nebraska. Visit his website at

Film Festivals

Official Selection, 2006 Roxbury Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Melbourne International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 American Black Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 San Francisco Black Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Hot Docs International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 International Documentary Film Festival (Amsterdam)
Official Selection, 2006 Urban World Film Festival
Official Selection, 2006 Sundance Film Festival

Press Reviews

MediaRights | Shira Golding | July 17, 2007

The Nation | Dave Zirin & Jeff Chang | May 8, 2007

Reuters | Matthew Bigg | February 20, 2007

Current | Jeremy Egner | December 18. 2006

Vibe | John Cantwell | June 28, 2006

Rotten Tomatoes | Tim Ryan | February 2, 2006

WAKE UP, MR. LISTENER | Erin Trahan | February 2006

Rotten Tomatoes | Tim Ryan | January 26, 2006


Wiretap | Suemedha Sood | March 1, 2005

Praise for the Film

"I am certain [Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes] will only add to the national and international dialogues around hip-hop culture, and its tremendous effect on our era."
- Kevin Powell | Activist, Hip-Hop Journalist, Author

"Byron Hurt has a sophisticated and complex framing of the issues and is poised, with Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes to make a critical and long needed intervention on these very important facets of American youth music and culture."
- Tricia Rose | Author, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America | Associate Professor of History and American Studies, New York University

"Both honors rap for its courage, as well as holding the producers and creators responsible for disseminating what are often degrading messages."
- Gail Dines | Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, Wheelock College

"Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a visually interesting and sociologically important examination of the gendered performance of black masculinity in hip-hop culture. ...A fast-paced, theoretically-conscious analysis of the socially significant issues of gender and race identities as performance."
- Susan M. Alexander | Teaching Sociology

"Byron Hurt's documentary is one of the most useful tools I've come across for deconstructing "masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today's hip-hop culture." Instead of taking the traditional route of blaming a vaguely defined and erroneously homogeneous hip-hop culture for women's degradation, Hurt focuses the discussion squarely on the individual men who participate in creating a limited conception of black masculinity that limits both men and women. He does so by featuring interviews with men and women who create and consume in hip-hop in various capacities, and puts the responsibility on men for developing solutions to eradicate violence."
- Mandy Van Deven | Co-author of Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets

"This film poses fundamental questions about how Hip-Hop culture represents and expresses basic attitudes in our society about love, violence, and compassion."
- Orlando Bagwell | Actor

"Gives hip-hop an unrelenting, hard stare, questioning its stance on misogyny, hypersexuality, materialism, homophobia, homoeroticism, hypocrisy and the resultant stereotype perpetuation."
- Grayson Curran | The Independent Weekly

"A tough-minded, erudite dissection of misogyny and homophobia in hip-hop - in the tradition of Supersize Me - this is the one that has people buzzing, 'It should be taught in high schools!'"
- Scott Brown | Entertainment Weekly

"Invaluable for understanding not only one aspect of African American culture but how it relates to the rest of American culture as well."
- San Francisco Chronicle

"If politics has Michael Moore, then Hip-Hop - excuse me, commercial rap - has Byron Hurt. In the same manner that Moore stuck tough questions to the guts of politicians and company executives, Hurt hit up established and aspiring rappers, television and record label executives and even Russell Simmons."

"Free-form, first-person docu is an ambitious collage of revealing interviews and pop-culture overviews, employed to illustrate Hurt's meditation on the uglier aspects of hip-hop culture."
- Variety

- Boston Globe

- Reuters

"A fascinating subject rarely explored in the depth this short documentary submerges in."
- Michael Ferraro | Film Threat

"Byron Hurt's ground-breaking documentary is the talk of the Hip-Hop circuit and those in the know."
- National Black Programming Consortium

"Provocative and edgy"
- South Bend Tribune

"Incisive, informative and entertaining... Though the film bears a viewer discretion warning, it is exactly the kind of program that should be watched by teens who embrace hip-hop music without thinking of the stereotypes it perpetuates and the thug lifestyle it endorses."
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A profound analysis and self-criticism by a member of the Hip-Hop Generation."
- Esther Iverem |

"Filmmaker Byron Hurt takes the hip-hop industry--and audience--to task in his new documentary."
- TimeOut Chicago

"A groundbreaking montage that questions masculinity, homophobia and misogyny in the hip-hop industry for those who live and breathe the culture."
- Philadelphia Weekly


Featured Panelist for “Did You Ever Really Love Me?”: What Hip Hop Teaches Us about Race, Gender& Sexual Politics and Q&A

Dionne Bennett Photo

Dionne Bennett, Ph.D. is the Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Detroit  Mercy. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Anthropology and Literature from Yale University. She is the author, with photographer Matthew Jordan Smith, of Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement through Words and Images, co-editor of Revolutions of the Mind: Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project 1996-2002  (CAAS Publications, University of California Los Angeles, 2003), and a contributor to Black Los Angeles:  American Dreams and Racial Realities (NYU Press, 2010).  

She has been a fellow of Harvard University W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American  Research, the Ford Foundation, and the UCLA President's Office. She has been an associate of the The Hiphop Archive at Harvard University since its founding in 2002 by Marcyliena Morgan, Ph.D., and recently co- authored an article with Professor Morgan entitled: “Hiphop and the Global Imprint of a Black Cultural Form” (Daedalus, Spring 2011). She teaches university classes on the Race, Gender & Sexual Politics of Hip Hop Culture, and has given presentations about Hip Hop Culture at universities throughout the country including  Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago.

In Los Angeles, she was a co-host for Beautiful Struggle, an African American-themed talk radio program on  KPFK Pacifica Radio.  As a television writer, researcher, and segment producer, she has worked for the NAACP Image Awards, the Essence Awards, the Democratic National Convention, and the Fox Movie Channel. 

Her research interests include African-American & African Diaspora Studies; urban anthropology; psychocultural anthropology; social justice and intersectionality studies; media and cultural studies; critical and comparative race theory; women's and gender studies; the study of sexuality, desire, and emotion; and Hip Hop culture, which, of course, combines all of the others.


Recommended Reading and Viewing

Hunt, Darnell, & Ramon, Anna Christina (2010). Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities. New York: New York University Press.

Morgan, Joan. (2000). When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down. Simon and Schuster.

Morgan, Marcyliena H. (2009). The Real Hiphop, Battling For Knowledge, Power, And Respect in the LA Underground. Duke University Press Books.

Morgan, Marcyliena H. (2002). Language, Discourse and Power in African American Culture. Cambridge Univiversity Press.

Morgan, Marcyliena H., & Bennett, Dionne. (2011). Hip-Hop & the Global Imprint of A Black Cultural Form. Daedalus, 140(2), 176-196. Retrieved from

Morgan, Marcyliena H., & Bennett, Dionne. (2006). Getting Off of Black Women’s Back: Love Her or Leave Her Alone. Du Bois Review, 3(2), 1-18. Retrieved from

Neal, Mark Anthony. (2005). New Black Man. (1 ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Neal, Mark Anthony, & Forman, Murray. (2011). That's the Joint!, the Hip-Hop Studies Reader. Routledge.

Pough, Gwendolyn. (2004). Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere. (1st ed ed.). New York: Northeastern.

Rose, Tricia. (2008). The Hip Hop Wars, What We Talk about When We Talk about Hip Hop--And Why It Matters. Westport,Conn.: Basic Civitas Books.

Sears, David. O., Sidanius, James., & Bobo, Lawrence. (2000). Racialized Politics, The Debate About Racism in America. University Of Chicago Press.

About the Liberation Film Series

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History’s Liberation Film Series: 2012-2013 Season entitled An Exploration in Youth-focused Intergenerational Conversations educates the youth, and others, about the real world and the Black people - many unknown - who struggled, globally, to make it better. This series offers the regional community a refreshingly new opportunity to experience a season of culturally important, conscious, enlightening, and engaging films. Immediately following each film, a speaker led interpretation and Q&A session will provide the audience deeper insights. No other theater in the region offers this type of focused programming and premiere educational opportunity. To encourage literacy, a bibliography, supplemental reading materials, and useful links for each film will be accessible on the Museum’s website, and the speaker’s books and related texts available at the venue.

This unique film/discussion series is the result of the financial support and/or collaborative consultation with Eastern Michigan University, The Media Education Foundation (MEF), Michigan State University, University of Detroit - Mercy,  University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, University of Michigan - Dearborn, Oakland University, Wayne County Community College District, Wayne State University, Good People Popcorn, Dr. Errol Henderson - Penn State University, and other leading scholars and community activists.

Click here to learn more about the Liberation Film Series.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
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