The 2015 MLK Planning Committee has selected David Banner to be the keynote speaker at the MLK Kickoff on Jan. 14, 2015 at 7pm in the Commonwealth Ballroom. Name ring a bell? Here is what you need to know about this Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist, civic activist, and actor!
1. He signed on to Universal Records in 2003- the same record label that has successfully recorded with stars such as Erykah Badu, Billie Myers, Goldfinger, Akon, Lil Wayne, Nelly, and more!
2. He has been nominated for a variety of awards, including BET’s Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Hip-Hop Collaboration, and Best Producer
3. He has a film career, starring in films such as This Christmas, Stomp The Year 2 Homecoming, The Experiment, and Ride Along.
4. He was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in recognition of his work after Hurricane Katrina.
5. He has testified in front of congress about misogyny and racism in hip-hop music.
6. He is a major contributor to the Heal to the Hood, Inc. which aims to donate to and reconstruct impoverished neighborhoods. In a statement about his work with the foundation, Banner has said, “I’m from Mississippi … people in Atlanta, in Houston, Lafayette Louisiana, we have no choice, we live in these places, we couldn’t walk away from it if we wanted to.” He believes, “ We can’t turn off the TV and it goes away. It’s our responsibility.
7. He received a key to his hometown of of Jackson, Mississippi for his activism in the area, including being a keynote speaker at the event “Reading Revolution: Black Males Achieving Success Through Literacy.” The event, hosted by the United Way, emphasized the importance of reading and graduating from high school.
8. His single featuring Chris Brown and Young Joc, “Get Like Me,” has nearly 25 million views on YouTube.
9.You need to pick up tickets to hear him speak! Free tickets are available at Breakpoint Games and Lounge starting Jan. 5!