Students were truly caught off guard last Thursday when rapper David Banner walked into their Hip Hop in Context class.
Banner is a rap artist and producer who has made an impact on the hip hop community because of his ability to reach out to his audiences motivationally, spiritually and sincerely.
He helps his listeners understand the importance of appreciating where they come from and where they are going.
“In our quest to chase the American dream, we have forgotten our opportunities at leadership,” Banner said.
He used Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as examples of great leaders who made a few mistakes on their journeys to success.
“Yes, Malcolm was a pimp, yes, Martin was a womanizer, but that didn’t affect their ability to lead,” Banner said.
“You can’t let your mistakes stop you from becoming a leader.”
The hip hop activist stressed the importance of utilizing your strengths, talents, and weaknesses to prepare yourself for future situations.
“Take your mistakes and learn from them — you never know when you have to use your utility belt,” he said.
Mass communication sophomore Alesha Russell said, “I really appreciate Banner for coming to speak to our class because most hip hop artists wouldn’t have; and to know that his advice and words of wisdom was genuine means a lot to me.”
Banner pointed out his personal values and positive accomplishments, which he said the media rarely acknowledges.
Banner was SGA president at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, graduating with a 3.99 GPA.
He also holds a masters degree in education from the University of Maryland and was lauded by the National Black Caucus of State Legislatures for his relief work after Hurricane Katrina.
Psychology senior Marcus Waters said, “David Banner has always been a stand-up guy.
“Most people lecture at us and not to us, but Banner’s connection was real.
“He related and understood where we came from and didn’t sugar-coat his message.”
Banner ended by urging students to stay focused and to take responsibility in their universities, jobs, and communities to become better leaders for future generations.