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David Banner has been the voice of the people and now he is being rewarded for it. Banner is a Community Activist honoree at this year’s third annual Salute THEM Awards for his support of historically Black colleges and universities. Banner is a HBCU graduate himself, so these historic institutions have a special place in his heart. He’s grateful to be honored this year and gives his father credit for what he instilled in him at a younger age.

“When it comes to when it comes to activism, my father told me a long time ago that you don’t look for the accolades. That’s the case with things that you’re supposed to do. You know, I’ve been blessed by my community, you know, with my career, and things that I do, I come from a place where most people don’t have like those types of opportunities. You know, it does feel good. Most of the time, the real truth is, giving people their flowers is usually directly connected to how well a person’s doing in entertainment and not necessarily what they do in the community. So, you know, to be recognized it feels good.”

Pushing for the continued recognition and inclusion of HBCUs is something that is crucial for Banner, but he did admit that sometimes he grows weary for specific reasons.

“I don’t know ’cause I’m tired,” he said when I asked him what keeps him motivated. “I really don’t know. I’m very, very tired, mentally, spiritually, physically, you know, the the real truth is, is that our people as a whole seem to be addicted to the approval of white people. It’s in television. It’s in marketing. And so usually in our community, the people that do us right or that do the most for [others] are the people that we abused the worst.  If you look it up, those who really fought for us are exhausted or broke or strung out on crack, you know? In most cases, they made the ultimate sacrifice and will not awarded by their people. When I say that I mean, taken care of, by the people.”

While we were discussing the student loan debt crisis, he pointed out that having to pay for higher education is a hoax because it “doesn’t cost that much money to sit a student in the room and teach them.” The Mississippi native then called out the leaders of historically Black colleges who he believed strayed away from the colleges’ true mission. 

“The problem is the leadership at HBCUs are not doing what HBCUs are supposed to do,” he said. “They were supposed to teach Africans how to be African again. The 350 years that was taken away from them. We haven’t been out of slavery for that amount of years, right? So an impression is still here. So it’s supposed to be about being African again. Not to send your brightest kids off to work for white corporations and that’s what most HBCUs do. They’ll teach you how to build a business then they put you off on white folks.”

Even though he has mixed feelings about how HBCUs have evolved over the years, his support is unwavering. Banner is a businessman, author and rapper and has been quite successful but said his proudest achievement was when he was SGA president at his alma mater Southern University.

“That was the first thing in my life I did 100% right,” he said.

The position meant so much to him that he refused to even date any women on campus so he could stay focused on his responsibilities.

“This is something people don’t know. I didn’t have sex with any girl on Southern’s campus. Why?  Because I didn’t want to use my position as a way to leverage something from the people that voted for me in that election.  I went over to the LSU campus and ran rampant,” he laughed. “But seriously, that’s how serious I was about the position I held.”

As Banner works to accomplish his mission through his businesses and support of HBCUs, he is honored to have Salute THEM tip their hat and recognize him for doing what he feels is his natural duty.

“To get this award and for someone to want to put that money and that time behind something that I believe in. I really appreciate those people that support me because I can say I am with people who have a warrior spirit. [It shows] that  people do support more than the average so-called revolutionary, you know, in America people do seem to support me and I am grateful and I thank you all.”

Café Mocha Radio’s Salute THEM Awards presented by AARP and Toyota can be viewed Sunday, September 12 at 7pm ET on, and both Café Mocha Radio and AARP Black Community Facebook pages. Following, the show will broadcast at 10pm ET on BNC TV.

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