Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Response to the Hip Hop Documentary

I truly enjoyed the hip-hop documentary from class and how it delved into the topics of women, violence, and manliness. The film described how these topics are deeply related, and it suggested that the violent lyrics of hip hop had a deep impact on the minds of those who listened to it.  Throughout the film, Byron Hurt explains what he believes to be the idea of manliness in rap music, and he illustrates his point with many examples. The most effective of these examples, in my opinion, were his interviews with those at the rap convention. In one memorable example, there was a rap battle between two African American men, and their lyrics were fairly similar in that they were either going to punch or shoot their opponent. It was clear that Hurt was suggesting that music videos and the like were influencing the black community, that it made them want to look “hard”. The violence present in hip hop lyrics is obvious, and to make a documentary on seems to be beating a dead horse. This thought led to a question that kept popping up in my mind was: How is this any different than the womanizing and violence shown in Hollywood movies, and why don’t parents simply keep their children away from these supposedly despicable forms of art?
                When thinking of Hollywood action stars many people come to mind, but I think most people would agree that Arnold Schwarzenegger would come to most people’s mind. A quick Google search simply using his name comes up with a DVD cover from his movie Conan the Barbarian, which depicts him sitting on a throne with a sword in one hand a woman at his feet. Throughout the film he slays numerous adversaries and women, though the women in a different sense. The reason behind me bringing up this movie is the fact that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into by viewing this film, and this is the same case in the majority of popular rap today. I realize the influence that rap music has on people wanting to be hard is certainly present, but how is it less influential than any other medium of violence? I think that if parents do not want their children to be exposed to violence, then they should keep a closer eye on them. Their efforts to shield these impressionable people away from these supposedly despicable forms of art will allow the rest of us to view them at our leisure.

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