There are many ways to learn more about hip hop, its impact on people, and its development through different decades. In the United States of America, hip hop is defined not only as a music style with its own characteristics and features. It is a style of human life, an explanation of people’s thoughts or even the ground people try to rely on. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a documentary movie that helps not only to understand the nature of hip hop but to connect a single style of music with the necessity of such crucial issues as social identity, inequality, and the necessity to meet the standards people set and expect to be fulfilled.
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There are many educative and provocative scenes in Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes; still, the scene from the photo session with hip hop artists such as Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli remains to be remarkable due to the possibility to understand that social identity is not what a person actually is but what other people want to see in this person.
Every scene of the documentary movie Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes has its meaning and goal. Byron Hurt, the director and producer of the movie tries to choose the most interesting moments from the interviews with celebrities, who share their points of view about hip hop and how it may influence the style and quality of life. The scene with the photo session of several famous hip hop artists shows that people are diverse, and even their passion to one music style should not be a criterion according to which all people can be divided into several groups. Many people accept hip hop as a harsh and tough style where people promote the ideas of violence, sexual diversity, masculinity, and man’s power.
Busta Rhymes underlines the necessity to look “tough” and consider the importance of “tough position in everything” (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes). His words mean that people expect hip hop to be tough. There are no options for artists except following these expectations. Still, it does not mean that they have to stay harsh in their real family lives. They can smile, make jokes, have fun, and even be kind to everyone around them. In fact, this scene helps to understand that the issue of social identity should be a kind of personal decision made by a person regarding their own feelings, emotions, dreams, and needs.
Being an international student from China and living in Seattle during the last several years, I have already realized that it is not always necessary to choose social identity in regards to the expectations of people around. Still, as soon as the choice is made, a person has no right to deviate from the decisions made. I think that America is the country where people, both native citizens, and residents, are free to decide what styles of life they can choose, what music they can listen, what words they can use in their language, and what thoughts they can develop. The only thing that is really required is to stay loyal to every decision made, and every word said.
In general, social identity is a personal sense of who they are in regard to the groups they belong to. It is an image that is created by a person, and as soon as it is created, it cannot be radically changed because it helps a person to survive in the world, find the required portion of support and understanding, and believe in personal powers and abilities.
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. Dir. Byron Hurt. Perf. Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, and Fat Joe. PBC, 2006. Web.