The onslaught of news can be difficult to digest every day. X or Y politician is up in the polls; the economy is still bleak; social issues are fought over; there’s violence abroad. There are major and minor events that pass us by every day, but it’s unfortunately too time consuming, and sometimes, too depressing to sit down and discuss all of it. Harvard University worked to change this notion by hosting Grammy award-winning rapper, producer, and Rock the Vote artist David Banner as he recapped America’s past 20 years. On April 27 and 28, Banner led scholars, activists and artists in a look back and forward from the LA Riots to now. “The LA Riots: Twenty Years Later” covered everything from Rodney King to the recent Trayvon Martin controversy, digging deep into African American social issues and the state of our democracy and country. At this discussion, Banner was joined by the notable Henry Louis Gates Jr. along with other panelists from Harvard University, NYU, Temple University and more.
The question of what America is has been eating away at the media conversation for months now. We are apt to question our society when an African American 17-year-old boy is shot dead on the way home from buying candy. What’s on the horizon here: revolution or devolution? However you want to answer it, the dialogue is needed. The economy is threatening to implode; young people are facing student loan-debt instead of aspirations; and the country is polarized by bickering self-interested politicians. Banner’s voice on this array of issues is refreshing. Having much to say on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the state of American black communities in 2012, Banner remains a staunch promoter of the safety of African American youth and legislation aimed towards protecting them. In a notable summary on his conversation at Harvard University, Banner said: “The people of America, especially our youth, have the power to be heard; to change legislation and positively impact our culture for generations to come.”
We need more David Banners and we need more of these symposiums. We need to take to heart Banner’s brief and blunt words from this 2010 Democracy Class video: “OK listen, kids. Get a little closer. Your parents and your grandparents are going to die. So just by default you are going to be running things. So you might as well start early and get prepared for it.”
To learn more about the discussion at Harvard go here: http://hvrd.me/I4Wejq. Also keep up with Banner’s 2M1 Movement. In less than a month (May 22), Banner will release his new album “Sex, Drugs, and Video Games” for free on his website and on www.livemixtapes.com.
Tags: 2M1 Movement, and Video Games, david banner, Democracy Class, Drugs, Harvard University, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kelly Holleran, Rodney King, Sex, The LA Riots: Twenty Years Later, Trayvon Martin