Rampant gender stereotypes abound in hip-hop (hello Lil’ Kim). Fortunately, there are folks like filmmaker Byron Hurt in the world. Hurt’s recent documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, delves beneath the underbelly of the genre to examine its less-than-glamorous aspects, and his involvement in the Rap Sessions 2007 National Hip-Hop Discussiontour sees him doing similar work. This year’s theme: Does hip-hop hate women?

Hurt will lead a traveling panel around the country to discuss the ways in which mainstream hip-hop culture influences relationships between young men and women, and also to encourage women working in the genre to seek a more empowering agenda. “These discussions,” Hurt says, “like the film, are centered on providing young people with a language for challenging the ways visual media impacts our lives.”

He’s joined by hip-hop journalist Joan Morgan, professor and author Mark Anthony Neal, and Vanderbilt University professor Tracy Sharpley, for a multi-city tour that will examine hip-hop’s gender roles and hopefully, as Hurt notes, “get hip-hop’s core audience to think critically about the music we consume and participate in.”

Tour Dates
03/05 Purdue University
03/20 Spelman College
03/28 Buffalo State University
03/29 Spelman College
03/31 University of Rochester
04/03 University of California, Berkley
04/04 San Jose State University
04/12 Vanderbilt University
04/18 Case Western University
04/28 University of Chicago
05/02 University of California, LA