There is a certain sense in which it’s a long way from opera, but I’m gonna listen to some anyway

19 September 2006

Last Thursday night in the UH Hilo Theater, the UH Hilo Women’s Center and the YWCA co-hosted a screening of Byron Hurt‘s film ‘Beyond Beats & Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Rap Music.’ Approximately four hundred people including students, athletic teams, community activists and university administrators attended the event, and Byron stayed for two hours afterward to lead a Q & A session that continued past theater closing time and into the parking lot. Based on the number of people talking about the film after they left, Byron’s ability to engage people with his filmmaking, his devotion to music, and his personal sincerity created tremendous success in addressing gender roles, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. Watch for the film to air this spring on the PBS series Independent Lens. Whether hip-hop is part of your life or not, you should watch this film for an outstanding case study of how gender roles are manipulated and propagate throughout society.

Elle and I were fortunate enough to spend some time with Byron the following day, and his animated interest in people and filmmaker’s curiosity were still inspiring. Due to techical difficulties with our camera, I didn’t get any pictures, but we had a great time during the extremely short visit to Hawai`i Volcanos National Park. Between breakfast at 8a.m. and the airport at 1p.m., we had some great conversations about fathers, marriage, vocations, and travel. Despite the lack of surface flows of super-hot lava from Pu`u O`o, there was still plenty of stuff to see and do.

Thanks to Byron for a fabulous program in Hilo, and highest compliments on the film. Thanks to Kenya for sparing him so close to the wedding. Congratulations to you both on your home and your marriage. A hui hou!

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