Rapper, actor and philanthropist David Banner told students gathered at South Carolina State University's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium that black people should not accept media portrayals of African-Americans.
In the midst of Black History Month, Banner, the graduate of two historically black colleges and universities, stunned an audience of more than 300
African-Americans with the accusation: "African-Americans don't love themselves."
"Black people have accepted what the media have portrayed them to be," Banner said. "We have to work to repaint the picture of black folks."
Banner's appearance kicked off the second annual Hip-Hop Symposium, sponsored by the Miller F. Whittaker Library in collaboration with the Campus Activity Board's "Awakening Lecture Series."
The theme this year is "Black on Black Crime."
In a question-and-answer session, Banner challenged black women in attendance to explain why they perm and straighten their hair.
In response came the defense that "hair perming" is equated with being able to get a decent job as a professional and not being viewed as a threat by bosses who are usually of a different race.
"This is what I mean when I say black people don't love themselves," Banner said. "Perming your hair is a clear example of 'black-on-black crime' and media control. Black-on-black crime is not just a black person committing a violent act against another black person."
Focusing deeper on the media's impact, Banner said the continuing depiction of blacks as aggressive and as a threat to society lowers the value of black life.
"Blacks have accepted the way they are portrayed in the media as a reality," Banner said. "This sad reality makes it easier for a black person to commit a crime against other people of color."
Touching on a recent issue in the news, Banner labeled as unfair the media coverage of domestic violence allegations against singer Chris Brown regarding striking his girlfriend, Pop singer Rihanna.
"Chris Brown is being convicted and character assassinated in the media and we don't even know what Rihanna did yet," Banner said.
Banner emphasized the importance of African-American couples staying together to properly raise a child in a world much different from when their parents were growing up.
"It's up to you to raise your children," Banner said. "If you don't, someone else will."
The mission of the Hip-Hop Symposium is to inform students about the crisis of black-on-black crime and encourage dialogue.
"We hope that this symposium will bring awareness to a very important social issue in our community," said Sherman Pyatt, coordinator of collection development.
"We hope to encourage our students, faculty, staff and the Orangeburg community to identify problems, search for answers and discuss these issues in a critical manner," he said.
I guess I may be in the minority on this one because I understand exactly where David was going with this. I think alot of people are getting caught up on the messenger and not the message. Although, Banner went too far when he brought up Rihanna and Chris Brown, I must say I understand the sentiments of his earlier statement. My only problem with Banner is the fact that he is a perpetuator of this hatred. I can't name one video of his in which a female lead has natural hair so in fact he is not praticing what it is that he is preaching. He is no better than the rest of these so called Rap-prophets. They say one thing to the people, but do something entirely different when it comes to their own actions.
Now don't get me wrong I know God has a way of using interesting messagers to deliver his message. As a sista that perms her hair, I can understand why he would say it is a form of Black on Black crime. We (black women) have been conditioned in this country to believe that white is right and so whatever we can do to make ourselves more appealing to a European esthetic is what we are going to do in order to get the job done. I'm not saying it's right but that is the way it is. We have made progress in this hair issue, but we have a long way to go. Maybe when we start controlling our image than we might become more accepting of it. I know you guys are probably going to beat me up on this one, but I'm ready.