By Precious Smith
Today’s generation of Black millennials should give their smartphones a break and become more involved in the community. Hip-hop Activist David Banner shared this and other insights when he spoke at a Black History Month event at Xavier University, on Feb. 28, 2018.
“As both an Activist and a Millionaire, I can really do whatever I want to do. But I use that power to seek, encourage and inform people who want to be something besides what they see on television,” Banner said.
Banner said he strives to not only serve as a positive representation of a strong, Black male for communities around the country but also his hometown community back in Jackson, Miss.
“I am very proud of him. I just don’t picture him the way the world does,” said Loyce Alexander, Banner’s cousin from Jackson, Miss., who attended the event in New Orleans. She said that she sees him as the cousin she’s always looked up to. Banner’s intellectual and leadership skills first began as a student at one of Louisiana’s top HBCUs.
“From serving as the [student government] President for Southern University during his time as a student to traveling around the world as an African American Activist, he’s made me beyond proud,” Alexander said.
Banner’s career as a Rapper and Record Producer has allowed him to work with Chris Brown, Yung Joc, and Lil Wayne. He has appeared in the 2006 “Black Snake Moan” film starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson while also serving as Executive Producer of an Adult Swim show titled “That Crook’d ‘Sipp.” Banner’s desire to open the eyes and ears of today’s generation of young people has become a cornerstone for his public life. Traveling the world with his thought-provoking “The God Box Lecture Series,” Banner has emphasized crucial topics ranging from the social injustices Black people face to examining education today.
One topic that Banner discussed at the event was the lack of support within the African American community. He stated that the Black community lacks a genuine appreciation and acceptance of one another.
“There is far too much colorism within our community,” Banner said. He pointed out that today’s generation of young Black women continues to single out this distinguishing factor between one another. “Our melanin is the same, no one sister is superior over the other,” Banner said.
Banner’s experiences about growing up Black in the American South encourages many African Americans to maximize their role within their community. As a child he said sometimes he questioned his fathers’ love for him. His father did not show emotions the way he would have liked. One day Banner came home from school ecstatic to show his father that he had finally made all A’s and thought his father would be proud. After seeing the grade report, Banner recalled his father telling him: “These are the type of grades you are supposed to receive.” His father then handed the grade report back to Banner. He said his father later explained that success can never be solely based on pleasing and making others proud.
The success and accomplishments of Banner stem from the self-motivating man his father sculpted him into. He used that self- motivation as a driving force for his career and activism. Once Banner did that, he realized that no one would ever be able to take his pride away from him, even if that meant working twice as hard as a White male to achieve success. Banner now realizes that his father’s way of showing him love was through tough love. He expected Banner to want to make good grades for the sake of himself and his future success as a Black male battling all the odds pushed against him.
“I have a deep appreciation for my father because he didn’t strive to be my friend growing up…he strived to be a great father figure,” Banner said.
Students who attended the event said Banner set an example to them about how to use their fame to help the community.
“I admire how knowledgeable David Banner is about the misconceptions within the Black community and also how willing he is to share such pivotal information with us millennials,” said Chynna Dubuclet, a Xavier student.