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David Banner Delivers an Impactful Lecture Before A Packed House
7/20/2016 4:22:15 PM

Activist David Banner during his July 16 lecture at the International Longshoreman Association Local 1422 Hall. Photo: SaPrina Nickelson

Communiversity co-founder Jeffrey “Uni” Nickelson, hip-hop star David Banner and co-founder of Communiversity Delvin Davis pose for a group photo after Mr. Banner’s lecture at the ILA Longshoreman Hall on last Saturday, July 16, 2016. Photo: SaPrina Nickelson

Jeffrey “Uni” Nickelson (center) and Black Collective Founders (l-r) Travis Pearson & Jason Gourdine pose for a photo prior to David Banner’s Lecture at the ILA Longshoreman Hall. Photo: Hakim Abdul-Ali
By Hakim Abdul-Ali

Amidst the shadow of swirling controversy, renowned hip-hop veteran David Banner made a memorable visit to the Lowcountry last weekend. He gave an electrifying speech in another one of his "God Box Lecture" tours on July 16, 2016, which was held at the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 auditorium hall on Morrison Drive. The program ran from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

First, before I begin, it must be noted that Mr. Banner was originally supposed to be giving his lecture at one of the local high school's auditoriums but the promoters of this event, "The Communiversity Organization," were denied access to it, after being promised to use it, due to a situation where an anonymous Euro-American individual called a local news medium to protest Mr. Banner's presence in the city. That apparently led to the school system mysteriously canceling the use of the school for said event.

That left the promoters, with many tickets sold and several vendors already under contract to have to literally scramble to find a large enough venue to handle such an occasion. A sense of urgency unfolded and the local and beyond Black communities responded in unimaginable supportive ways.

Well, the very conscious-minded officials of the ILA, as they have so often done in the past, came through and rented the use of their spacious facility hall and the rest, as they say, is and was history. Beyond hyped description, the place was "packed," with wall to wall attendance and some people still were buying tickets to get in after Mr. Banner's lecture began. Officially there were 700 plus individuals who witnessed this memorable occasion, with a 100 or so turned away at the door.

To say that the David Banner's lecture at the ILA hall was a stunning success is to undervalue the impact of his appearance in Charleston and the African-American community's role in supporting its own. It was that, and some more, as the current awareness and uptightness modes resonating throughout this country's so-called minority ethnic groupings being at an all-time-high, set the dynamics for Mr. Banner's message.

Recent and continual killings of Black men, mountain ethnic divisions, concerns about policing policies and escalating rampant racial unrest among all political segments of American society are fueling national discussions, debates and lectures like what occurred in Charleston last weekend. David Banner, 41, is a spirited voice who speaks to and for what many Black Americans feel brought those concerns full circle.

Mr. Banner unabashedly spoke on many topical subjects and relevant issues of concern to the audience in his not quite two hours delivery of concern to the local and national Black communities that had the audience glued to his every word. The Mississippi born and bred rapper/record producer/activist, now calling Atlanta home, spoke on everything seemingly imaginable from economic empowerment to political influence to history to how he makes money to education for and against the African-American community-at-large.

Peppered with his unique Southern style speech delivery and his insightful, exuberant approach to looking at things, David Banner is an upfront, in-your-face, no holes barred type of communicator. Spiced with frequent cuss words, with which he made no apologies in using in emphasizing his points, Mr. Banner was (and is) a vibrant speaker, always in constant motion, working the aisles as he delivered his impactful speech.

He left no stone unturned in his indictment of the problems that Black folk face in dealing with the system, including from religion to hair styles to skin color to, well, you name it.

Oftentimes, mixing his slant on truthfulness with sheds of humor, David Banner made it plain and simple that he wanted the audience to recognize the state of their collective and individual immediacies.

The very receptive audience, made up of mostly young and older Black adults, many resplendent in Afro-centric and contrasting present day wearing apparel, was apparently not turned off by his, sometimes, direct and self-critical remarks at times. They loved it.

After all, they came to hear this controversial young man, who's made a name for himself in the music industry and the business world, take a reflective look at himself and themselves, all along telling it like it was and is with his distinct Mississippi flavor.

To Mr. Banner's credit, he told the audience that you didn't have to agree with what he was saying, but all he wanted them to do was to "think about things that are going on in their midst." He challenged them to be supportive of each other and their culture in everything from business commitments to community involvement.

That tone of concern was established by another speaker who preceded Mr. Banner, Veronica Pearson, 38, originally from Charleston and now living in Charlotte, North Carolina, who encouraged all in attendance to learn to do more for and to support themselves. She's a successful businesswoman, who's involved in media, and advocates Blacks becoming involved in controlling their own lives with positive inputs.

Mr. James Johnson, in his twenties and who was once in prison, followed her on the program before Mr. Banner's appearance, made a plea for the local community to reach out and assist those who were incarcerated in making a smoother transition back into society.

On that note, Mr. Banner spoke to the need for Blacks to embrace talking to one another and put hatreds aside. Many in the audience who heard his message also came from Georgia, North Carolina and Florida and were extremely appreciative of his comments and views.

At the conclusion of his tireless speech, Mr. Banner said that he offered five things that the Black community needs and must do in order to advance it own causes. They are:

1. Gain knowledge of self.
2. Learn to educate.
3. Produce our own.
4. Distribute our own.
5. Buy our own.

It's to be noted that Mr. Banner was wearing a bulletproof vest under his green dashiki top shirt as an obvious result of the times. During his time in Charleston and at the lecture he was ably under the watchful eye and security protection of the Nation of Islam's security component including and comprising brothers from Atlanta, Mosque #38 in Columbia, South Carolina, and the NOI's Charleston Study Group.

The David Banner "God Box Lecture" event was more a family happening than a speech gathering because the local community supported the gallant efforts and steadfastness of "The Communiversity's" founders, Delvin Davis and Jeffrey "Uni" Nickerson, and their staff in presenting this program. Mr. Banner saluted them for their efforts in his presentation and advised the audience to recognize what these young brothers are trying to do here in the Charleston area in bringing about a unified Black semblance of consciousness for all to envision.

If the resulting showing of that intent, amidst all the controversy surrounding David Banner coming to Charleston, had any worthwhile indication and meaningful purpose, then Mr. Banner's appearance in Charleston was an enormous success, if you merely judged by the attendees' satisfaction at his lecture alone. But, in many other ways also, it could be viewed as a success as he addressed and spoke about a painful sense of urgency that's engulfing many young and older Black people in this country, and that is that Blacks have to take charge of the things that control their inherent futures and destinies.

The evening ended with the audience being advised and reminded by Mr. Banner and others to leave in peace and unity, with no negative activity whatsoever. That was accomplished, and in an obvious sign of solidarity the enthusiastic throng departed with a feeling of thankfulness for being at the lecture. It was a rousing success.

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: HoraceMungin Submitted: 7/21/2016
Thank you my dear brother for this informative piece of reporting. With this, I was nearly at the event because the mood and sentiment of the speech was captured so vividly.

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