Rapper and activist David Banner has been exercising his passion for helping elevate the Black community for over a decade but admits that his commitment to social justice and equality can be a thankless job.
The Grammy-nominated artist and Southern University graduate was recognized for his community activism work during the Sept. 12 Salute THEM Awards “My HBCU Joy” edition, a virtual ceremony which honored “a diverse selection of graduates and organizations that have impacted the legacy of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).” The event was hosted by comedian Loni Love and in addition to Banner, honorees included actress Kim Whitley, National College Resources Foundation founder Dr. Theresa Price, and the United Negro College Fund, among others.
“Throughout his career, David Banner’s name is synonymous with activism, philanthropy, and humanitarian efforts, from testifying before Congress to donating thousands for youth scholarships…” said Banner’s awards ceremony introduction. “For his love of humanity, passion to empower and serve as a visionary leader, that’s why David Banner is Café Mocha’s 2021 Salute Them Awards Community Activist.”
While attending the event, the “Get Like Me” rapper expressed that although he’s committed to the good fight, he’s grown a bit “tired” of what he feels is the Black community’s lack of focus on self-betterment, because of the focus instead being on “the approval of white people.”
“I’m very, very tired, mentally, spiritually, physically, you know, the real truth is, is that our people as a whole seem to be addicted to the approval of white people,” Banner told MadameNoire last week. “It’s in television. It’s in marketing.”
He went on to express that his fatigue is not unusual to those that put their all into social justice work for the Black community, and that the ugly truth is around us if we’re willing to look. “And so usually in our community, the people that do us right or that do the most for [others] are the people that we abused the worst,” he continued. “If you look it up, those who really fought for us are exhausted or broke or strung out on crack, you know? In most cases, they made the ultimate sacrifice and will not awarded by their people. When I say that I mean, taken care of, by the people.”
As an HBCU graduate himself, Banner has previously made his stance on the necessity of Black students being educated in HBCUs clear and has worked with organizations such as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to help increase funding for the schools.
“We want white culture and white people because we think white people are better, and that is not the truth,” he said. “We are the oldest people on this planet so how can we look to anybody else to educate us? It’s not a school thing, it’s a mental thing. We are always fighting for inclusion, why do you want to be included where nobody wants you, that is silly.”