Tackling Tough Issues
The Black I: Youth Media Workshop
Featuring HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
Misogyny, violence and homophobia are difficult issues to discuss regardless of your age and maturity. They're even harder to tackle if you're talking with teenagers. Kimberlie Kranich, co-director of WILL's Youth Media Workshop (YMW), knew the teens she worked with would benefit from examining the Independent Lens film HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.
"The documentary takes hip-hop, an art form our teens love, and uses it as a way to challenge societal issues. It gave us a rare opportunity, an opening for thoughtful discussion with youth," explained Kranich.
YMW students were excited about the film and they were integral in presenting it in their local community. They wrote filmmaker Byron Hurt and convinced him to travel to Champaign-Urbana to participate in a town-hall-style event. At the event, the students joined Hurt and local hip-hop experts on a panel for a discussion of masculinity and hip-hop culture. Their contributions to the dialog encouraged youth in the audience to participate as well. As a result of the students' efforts, the over-capacity crowd engaged in a discussion that helped them gain new perspectives.