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Black History Month Programming Continues with Film Screening, Discussion

2/15/2011 —

Penn State York continues its Black History Month celebration with the screening of a documentary, “HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. In addition to the screening, there will be a multigenerational discussion of the film. The program is free and open to the public.

Voni Grimes, 88, a local community member, musician, and former director of business services at Penn State York; and Clifton Johnson, 23, a rap artist and former Penn State York student who is currently completing his degree in management at Penn State Harrisburg, will lead a discussion following the film.

“HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” was created by Byron Hunt, a lifelong hip-hop fan, who was tired of seeing the same stereotypical images and messages in hip-hop videos. He decided to make a film about the gender politics of hip-hop, the music, and the culture that he grew up with.

“The more I grew and the more I learned about sexism and violence and homophobia, the more those lyrics became unacceptable to me,” said Hunt. “I began to become more conflicted about the music that I loved.”

The result of Hunt’s questioning is “HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhythms,” a riveting documentary that tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence, and homophobia in today’s hip-hop culture. The film provides insight from divergent voices including rap artists, industry executives, rap fans, and social critics from inside and outside the hip-hop generation. The film also explores such pressing issues as women and violence in rap music, representation of manhood in hip-hop culture, what today’s rap lyrics reveal to their listeners, and homoeroticism in hip-hop.

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