In a lecture given on February 28, David Banner gave a presentation on the State of the Hip-Hop Community. In his lecture, Banner equated hip-hop to slavery using his own personal experiences and research. His main argument was that the African American community has not progressed. In his words, “African Americans went from whips and chains to whips (cars) and chains (flashy jewelry).” African Americans are stuck in a slavery mind-set that we have yet to overcome. Physically, African Americans have been freed. However, we are still mentally bound to “master” and his plantation.
Throughout his lecture, David Banner discussed how the lyrics that rappers record are based upon the record label. The owner of this record label is the plantation owner, or the white man. Everything that is recorded and released into mainstream is dependent on the approval of master. According to Banner, the plantation owner is the reason why rappers promote drugs, sex, money, and cars instead of education. Rappers do it for the money. If they choose to speak out, they face the fate of being like Tupac and Biggie Smalls: dead.
Although David Banner made some interesting points, most of it seemed redundant. For example, he relied heavily on stereotypical actions. At one point, he asked an African American student about the treatment he receives from the police officers. When the student responded positively, David Banner commented that “Rhodes got you.” The reliance on stereotypical examples does not justify actions. Everyone has a different experience based on the company they keep, their gender, and background.
During David Banner’s lecture, his comments on how African Americans are stuck in a slavery state of mind evoked a question. As African Americans, we have been stripped from our homeland. During our time in America, much of our heritage and language was lost. If slavery is the only thing that we know and can identify, why it is wrong for us to embrace slavery? Is it wrong to embrace the culture of slavery when this is all that we know and are taught? True, we must progress as a race, but how can we progress if we do not embrace our roots? As African Americans, we can embrace our culture and transform it into something positive. In order to know where we are going, we must remember where we came from. After all, we embrace our culture through the remembrance of our ancestors and their fight for freedom every February in each year.