The H.I.S. BET Town Hall Meeting at Morehouse College in Atlanta on September 19 brought about passionate discussion about the identity of the Black man and how it may evolve in the future. For acclaimed rapper-producer David Banner, who served as a panelist, the only way to ensure that future evolves past decades-old stereotypes is to start by empowering our children now.
“The images of Black men that are projected [in mainstream media] are consistent with the thoughts of our oppressors. And I’m so amazed that Black people are surprised about the way that we’re being portrayed because we’ve always been portrayed that way,” Banner tells H.I.S. BET. “I think what has happened though, the shift has been in us accepting and even wanting to portray that image ourselves. [That] is the problem.”
One remedy, he says, is balance. “A lot of people think that I think there is a problem with the image of Black men and women. I just think there needs to be balance, you know? Because black people are not all positive and they’re not all negative. There’s a balance.”
“The thing that I fear is [that] now we are creating a generation of kids that only know the negative aspect of Black people, and that’s what they want to be.” It’s our duty in the community to change that dialogue, Banner says.
“I’ve never seen another population of children who want to be n-----s and b-----s. That’s the default: I am a n----r and I’m proud of it. And I think that is our fault because our children are a reflection of what we did or did not do.”
(Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)