Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

PBS Discussion Guide (info, insight, classroom guide)

How does the film relate to the notion of caveman masculinity, hegemonic masculinity, Butler's gender performance, or other theories we have examined thus far? 

Where does R&B play into all this? Is(n't) R&B a more positive reflection of masculinity/manhood in African-American contexts? Is R&B like emo where masculinity is concerned? Or is R&B such a different aesthetic that it doesn't touch rap (especially gangsta rap) culture sufficiently? 

The Spring Break groping/filming scenes are (in)tense. Where is the line between "reflecting culture" or "acting out" and straight up sexual assault? Who decides? What do you make of that behavior in the film as related to hip hop, popular culture, and/or masculinity?

So much to say about this film. Think about it as you read for next week's class and make connections. Of course we can talk about all of this all semester. Feel free to respond in any way, shape, or form...these questions are just food for thought. 


1 comment:

Adam-Scott Green said...

R&B or soul music presents a "softer" (more emotional, less violent) image of masculinity than rap (especially gangsta rap). That might be a link to emo/punk culture. Emo/R&B expand the stereotypes for men against more traditional hardcore masculinity. I think that rap artists and rap culture play a greater role in shaping young African American males than R&B artists. For this, I would like to consider the aesthetic or cultural differences between the two genres for African American youth. The fashion, vernacular, and overarching stereotypes for African American men are represented in rap more so than r&b. r&B artists sometimes get a bad rap for this...For example, in AA culture, it's just so easy to want to question the man-ness/or gayness) of John Legend and Usher.
I wanted to point out the different images of femininity in this movie too. They showed women at the Spring Break and at Spelman college. There was an obvious difference in the way these different sects of women responded to the sexism in rap music. I wonder what level class and educational privilege plays a part in female empowerment. 
Sex! The movie dealt so much with sex. Sex sells! Commodifying the body sells! Yes, rap is very popular and it’s very sexy. However, I think there is a fine line between the pornographic and the erotic. How could we respect/celebrate the human body without objectifying it? That might be the line actually. Sexual assault, stalking, groping, filming, name calling definitely goes beyond just objectifying women. It ought to be a crime. True, this could be unpacked in so many ways!!