Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Byron Hurt
'Hip Hop' documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt. Photo by Shawn Escoffery/ITVS.

To obtain a print-quality JPEG of this photo, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (815) 753-1681 or e-mail

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

March 18, 2008

‘Hip-hop head' documentary maker will visit NIU
to screen film exploring gender roles, music

DeKalb, Ill. — Byron Hurt—a self-proclaimed hip-hop head, former star college quarterback, documentary filmmaker and gender violence prevention worker—will visit Northern Illinois University to screen his film exploring gender roles in hip-hop and rap music.

Hurt's documentary, “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the Holmes Student Center. A discussion about hip hop music and masculinity will follow. The event is open to the public but seats are limited; call (815) 753-0320 to reserve.

“Beyond Beats and Rhymes” premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and has been shown at more than 40 film festivals worldwide. It also was broadcast nationally on PBS. (For a preview, see .) The documentary features interviews with rappers, including Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes.

PBS calls the film “a personal and heartfelt documentary that goes beyond the bling to explore gender roles in hip-hop and rap music…Hurt tackles issues of masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia in today's hip-hop culture by talking with rappers, moguls and fans.”

A New York native, Hurt quarterbacked the Northeastern University Husky football team from 1988-1991. He has a diverse career background in the media, with work experience in broadcast television, print, public relations and long-form documentary.

Hurt is a founding member of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading college-based rape and domestic violence prevention initiative for college and professional athletics. He is also the former associate director of the first gender violence prevention program in the United States Marine Corps.

Over the last 15 years, Hurt has lectured at more than 100 college campuses, presented at numerous professional conferences, and trained thousands of young men and women on issues related to gender, race, sex, violence, music and visual media.

Hurt has been featured or mentioned in various newspapers and magazines. He has also appeared on The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Access Hollywood, MTV, BET, ABC News World Tonight, the Michael Baisden Show and the Michael Eric Dyson Show.