Hip Hop has had an impact on the perceptions of African American men and women through various viewpoints. The forms of masculinity presented in ‘Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes”, showcased things that are not exactly masculine, but are actually sexist, cocky, and homophobic. Music videos specifically in the early 2000s presented rappers in large jerseys, baggy jeans, du rags, and throwing money in the camera. Added to that would be the “eye candy” walking around, or dancing, which were the half naked video vixens(seen in Nelly’s Tip Drill video).
I was disgusted when Byron Hurt asked a young man at the beach what he thought about the women walking around in small shorts and bra tops because he called them “hoes”. Not only that, but during a very busy time at the beach a lot of men thought they had the right to touch women inappropriately because of the way they were dressed. The lyrics presented in some songs involved a lot of violent terms, and if it was not violent, it involved calling another man out of their name like a “b****”, or a p****”. Masculinity, in a nutshell, was degrading women, being homophobic, violent, having a lot of money, and making other men feel like they are less than each other.
I noticed in this documentary that Byron Hurt asked a few of the rappers on the street why they only rapped about violence and selling drugs and some responded along the lines of “that’s what sells”. One rapper did a freestyle that was different from others and expressed a positive message and said “this is not what people want to here”. Around that time, I would have to agree with him because even now, a lot of people are into “trap” music and not actual hip hop. However, I think that the degrading of women in music videos has gone down tremendously. The sexualization of black women still occurs, but I think rappers today are focused on sending a particular message in their music videos. Tyler The Creator, for example is an artist that focuses on visual elements in his videos, but he is not the stereotypical rapper. J. Cole is another rapper, a lot different than Tyler, but he has never been the type of rapper to focus on anything but a deep message behind his music. I am proud that hip hop is improving in their visual aspects and representation of black people.