MIRAMAR, FL— In a passionate exchange at the 6th annual South Florida Youth Summit (SFYS) adult-only Cocktails & Conversation event, thought leaders David Banner and Jasmen Rogers-Shaw wrangled on a myriad of topics including the state of Black consciousness, manhood, hip hop and how to empower today’s youth.
“I was raised by pimps and gangsters,” Grammy award-winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist and activist David Banner admits. “When my dad told me to ‘do better’ I use to ask him ‘how?’” he shared with perplexity. “They want black men to act better, but no one told us how to.”
Likening the human brain to a central processing unit (CPU), David states, “The black man’s CPU was erased and the virus N*GGA was uploaded once he was stolen from Africa.”
While political strategist Jasmen Rogers-Shaw agrees that slavery and systemic racism are at the core of issues plaguing our communities, she charges Black men to be more responsible for their actions especially when it comes to treatment of Black women.
“There are [these] conditions that are terrible and lacking resources… it’s just a cycle that someone has to responsible to break out of it and say ‘I’m going against the grain and I’m holding other people responsible,’” Roger-Shaws vents about the amount of sexual violence in lyrical content.
Recognizing that Black women have been the backbone of progress in America and are shifting the future landscape, Banner advises, “With the power that is now being vested in our women, make sure that you don’t become as oppressive as those who oppress you.”
To settle any confusion between these two dynamic individuals, event moderator Juwan Strader (Emmy award-winning journalist, NBC 6 anchor and host of Black Voices) reveals to the audience and Rogers-Shaw that Banner testified before Congress against racism, misogyny in hip hop music, stereotypes and degrading images in 2007.
During the testimony Banner is on record as stating, “Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I’ll get better. I can admit there are some problems in hip hop, but it is only a reflection of what’s taking place in our society. Hip hop is sick because America is sick.”
Both leaders agree that this ‘sickness’ must be met with resistance force.
“I wish the youth realize their power sooner,” Shaw expressed. “We can’t protect our kids from the outside world by keeping them ignorant. We have to start younger with how children can impact the world.”
“By our example, our children will follow,” Banner adds. “Young people are waiting for us to engage them.”
He continues, “How do you get in the movement? Move! Wanna be an activist? Act! Find your place in activism and live in it.
The SFYS is the brainchild of State Representative and L.E.A.D. Nation co-founder Shevrin Jones. The Summit targets students in grades 6-12 and provides experiential learning in 6 focus areas: STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics),leadership development,social innovation & entrepreneurship, financial education,youth violence prevention and childhood obesity. For more information, visit leadnation.org.
Written by Arri Henry