With his documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, activist Byron Hurt proves that you can both love and criticize a culture. Hurt has a strong affection for hip-hop but little tolerance for rappers who revel in their own violent machismo. In many mainstream rap videos, women are nothing more than props just some scantily clad objects to drape across the hood of a Bentley and "faggot" is the ultimate insult. Beyond Beats and Rhymes tackles questions about masculinity, misogyny and homophobia in hip-hop culture, and Hurt isn't going it alone: He's interviewed rappers (including Chuck D and Mos Def), social critics (such as Michael Eric Dyson) and hip-hop moguls (Russell Simmons). The documentary airs on Sunday, February 25, as part of PBS' Emmy Award-winning "Independent Lens" series, but you can catch a sneak preview this evening in the Des Lee Theater at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue). The free screening begins at 7 p.m. and is followed by a post-film discussion moderated by Craig Blac (of 104.1 FM) and featuring Montague Simmons from the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, M.K. Stallings from the Urban Artists' Alliance for Child Development and Bill Beene of the St. Louis American. Call 314-361-7229 or visit www.mohistory.org for more information.
Thu., Jan. 25