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Beyond Beats and Rhymes

When I first heard about the documentary “Beyond Beats and Rhymes� I was not all that interested because it seemed obvious to me that a lot of mainstream hip hop is offensive, and I was not sure if it could show me anything new. But after watching the clips in class, I changed my mind. The documentary went into so much more depth than I had come up with on my own. It broke down the meanings of the images we see in mainstream hip hop, and showed it consequences.

One example was the chapter on the phrase “bitch niggaz,� in which Byron Hurt showed the extent at which it was being used (by 50 Cent on film), and then showed in detail how the phrase was harmful to our ideas about both women and men. Hurt explained that the phrase was simultaneously perpetuating the idea that real men are strong, don’t cry and only do “manly� things one hundred percent of the time, and that since real men are socially above womanly men, then real men are obviously superior to women too. The clips watched in class made me want to see the rest of the film, and motivated me to learn more details about the stereotypes spread by our media and their effects on our culture.

Another thing I would like to add is that “Beyond Beats and Rhymes� reminded me of an MTV interview with Snoop Dogg I watched last year. In the interview, Snoop Dogg was asked his opinion on the overwhelming oppression of women in the African-American culture. Snoop replied that treating women poorly, as if they weren’t fully human, was all that a lot of young boys in the culture saw; they knew nothing else, so that is what they imitated. Snoop then added that as people grew up, they usually learned that this view of women was false and harmful. He stated that if it were to ever change, it would be by the people who had learned otherwise, and that they would have to stop perpetuating the image of women as lesser beings to the younger generation.
My question after watching this interview was how does Snoop believe escorting two barely dressed, voiceless women in dog collars and leashes to a public awards ceremony show the younger generation that women are just as human as men? Although Snoop Dogg can talk about the issues of women’s oppression and the reasons behind it, he is still a huge contributor to “Beyond Beats and Rhymes’ � idea of hip hop gender stereotyping, and talk is not enough.