David Banner host ABFF Independent on the ASPiRE TV

David Banner Host “ABFF Independent”, on the ASPiRE TV
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson – Editor


Recently, Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist and actor David Banner hosted season four of “ABFF Independent” that premiered early August on ASPiRE TV. “ABFF Independent” is a weekly two-hour show that presents the best independent short documentaries and movies of drama, comedy, love and family films from emerging talented Black filmmakers. Also, this month ASPiRE will present two marathons of "ABFF Independent," series that will air August 29th from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. EDT, as well as seven episodes that will air on Sunday, September 20th from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. EDT, hosted by David Banner.

Lavell Crump a.k.a. David Banner was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Outside of entertainment, David Banner is a philanthropist and civic activist who holds a degree in business from the University of Maryland. Over the course of David Banner’s career, as an actor he has appeared in films such as Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Stomp the Yard 2 and Ride Along, just to name several. The Grammy Award-winning artist is also the founder of the multimedia company A Banner Vision, the foundation Heal the Hood, Inc., and The Banner Foundation.

I, Consciousness Magazine, had the opportunity to interview David Banner, a man filled with joy and happiness, who is extremely humble and down-to-earth. He shares with the readers and fans insight regarding his experience of hosting "ABFF Independent" on ASPiRE TV, his latest and upcoming projects, along with his community initiatives. I can say that it was an honor to speak with such an individual who takes accountability and responsibility for his role in society as he continues to grow and allows God to guide his vision and dreams. 

Aaron Robinson: Hey David, how are you doing today sir?
David Banner: I am amazing!

Aaron: That’s good! I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us.
David Banner: No problem! Thank you guys for having me!

Aaron: Congratulations on everything that you’re doing. You’re doing some bigger things. You already did the big thing; you’re doing more bigger things!!!
David Banner: Its great man, it feels good too my spirit brother - doing right and then getting paid, that’s love! (Laugh)

Aaron: You are the host of the 4th season of “ABFF Independent,” a weekly show that will present the best of independent short documentaries and movies from emerging Black artist. Would you like to briefly tell us a little about this?
David Banner: I think that’s important to highlight. Especially now of days, it’s important for people of color to tell their own stories. I was watching X-Men this morning and they had a white dude building the pyramid. And I was like nooooo, that’s not the truth! It made me feel that what ABFF and ASPiRE is doing is that much more important because these are our stories told by our people without editing. One thing I like about what ABFF and ASPiRE is doing, they let me be myself; they let the movie makers be themselves, of course in the confines of what ASPiRE and what Magic Johnson (Magic Johnson Enterprises) believe in. Those confines are usually in the reach of what we’re told to be as a people anyway, and I think it’s very important.

Aaron: There are many films that never make it to the big screen that highlight Black people in a positive light. What do think those challenges are that Black directors, executive producers and so forth face when it comes to the film industry that the masses may not want to be portrayed or get their artwork out to the public, or even get their foot in the door?
David Banner: Well, I’ll tell you something as an actor. It’s one of the reasons why I stepped away from music for a while. It’s also one of the reasons why I stepped back from acting for a minute too, to making my own films - becoming an independent film director and producer. It’s funny because people complain about the state of Black people, but they’re constantly investing in those images, continuing sending our children and people down those roads. Out of the 15 movies that I’ve done, about 10 of them I’m just getting out of jail, I sale crack, or my name is Boozy G or L Dog. Is that all that they think about Black people? And then we even look at our own movies in a lot of cases, not the ones that we have on ASPiRE - when we do have the freedom to make movies or make videos, we put ourselves back in the same position. Just to be honest, the system is paved for Black people to be viewed in that light. As a working actor, everything that you go out for is something that is derogatory to Black people. Then when you do make those types of films that uplift Black people and it’s not a slave film or drug film, then it’s even hard for us to not only get in position, and not that we’re not going to be able to get them in the movie theaters, but it’s also hard to get our people to watch and support the film.     

Aaron: Going back to the ABFF films, what were some of those films that you gravitated toward that portrayed a powerful message that stuck out to you?
David Banner: Aww man, there are so many films brother. Let me tell you what I like the most. I don’t want to lean toward one film because there were so many great films. What I did like was the fact that I have to give ASPiRE the credit for this. It’s the wide range of the types of films that they are allowed to show. They have cartoons, horror movies, not just comedy and drama. They always try to play us as clowns or as if our lives are always filled with drama. [Laugh] We do have our healthy dose of it, but there’s also other aspects. I want to tell you a personal story. There was this guy whose daughter came out of the room crying hysterically. He was like, “Baby what’s wrong?” She was a Black little girl around 5 or 6 years old. She said, “Daddy, Daddy, are Black people going to be in the future?” He said, “Why did you ask that baby?” She said, “Because I was watching cartoons and I didn’t see any.” You know what I’m saying! So we also have to be futuristic. We also have to paint an idealistic world to even give our children an opportunity to aspire to be more.

Aaron: Being a successful recording artist, producer and actor, what was your interest in wanting to go into filming and acting?
David Banner: It’s something that I always wanted to do. Then when God gave me the opportunity to be and do whatever I think [I can be], I said I was not going to limit myself to just one thing. I can actually say man, all the stuff that I ever said I wanted to do I did. I said I wanted a Grammy; the project that I worked on won Grammys. Then I said I wanted to be a record producer; I was able to do that. I said I wanted to make my own independent film; I did that. I wanted to help change the way that people thought about Mississippi; hopefully, I’ve done that.  Once God showed me that I can do whatever I wanted, acting was always an interest to me. Then acting for awhile was a way for me to get away from the music. Imagine this bro… I don’t know if you remember this when we was little, but like being able to be whoever we wanted when we went outside to play.

Aaron: Yes, I remember that.
David Banner: If we could put a towel around our neck, we could be Superman. We could go out to the woods and play and make it a whole other world. We could get on our bikes and act like they were motorcycles, and we really felt like they were motorcycles. To be able to do that when you’re grown, I think that’s dope! I can go play and be somebody else. I’m just sick of playing like we’re slaves and I’m sick of playing like we’re criminals. We got enough of that in real life.

Aaron: You are releasing a new album in the near future titled “The God Box.” What was your inspiration behind putting together this album?
David Banner: I haven’t put “The God Box” out yet. It will be out probably in about two months. “The God Box” is where I sort of am now. You know, I kind of had to take a break away from music for a while to really build myself up, get my character up, and really figure out who I was. Then I had to figure out how I can bring it through ideology to the general public. I don’t care what you are rapping about - whether its gospel music, whether its revolution, or whether it’s the club. Whatever it may end up being, it still has to sound good. So I took some time out and figured that out and I think people are going to be able to see that in “The God Box”. If they want to check out my new single, it’s called “My Uzi” featuring Big Krit.

Aaron: You also give back to your community in Mississippi by supporting youth in recreation programs and also provide relief and recovery for low income people with your foundation Heal the Hood, Inc. How did this initiative transpire?
David Banner: My dad has always taught me to give back to the community - give back to your surroundings. That’s just how we were raised. My father was a fireman. I’ve always been that type of person. I’ve always interacted with the community man. Heal the Hood, Inc., and The Banner Foundation has always been a part of me. How it started was, I use to do shows; I use to get between $15,000 and $30,000 a show at the time. I would just take whatever money that I got around Christmas time and would literally take that money/cash, and go give it out to the neighborhood. I would knock door-to-door in the worst neighborhoods and people would come to the door and I would hand them $100 dollars and they would be like, “Aw David Banner! Then I would go to the next house. It really grew from that and it grew into something so large. Once Katrina hit we just took it to another level. When it was a need for another level, we as men and women pushed it to the next level and just got out there and started helping our people.

Aaron: That’s a beautiful thing! I appreciate everything you’re doing for the people.
David Banner: Thanks!

Aaron: Over the course of your life, you overcame many challenges such as being homeless. However, you overcame and made a name for yourself. Do you have any words of encouragement for those individuals who are going through trying times and would like to be successful someday?
David Banner: One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about pain and hard times, people connect pain and hard times to the devil or evil. I don’t believe that to be totally true. I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen; I’m not saying any of that. In most cases, when pain or hardship happens, that’s God toughening you up, showing you what you’re doing wrong. When stuff gets hard, we usually blame everybody but ourselves. When you go to the doctor and you have a pain in your arm, that’s God showing the doctor where he needs to work on it - your body showing the doctor where he needs to work on, right? It’s the same way with pain and hardship. When something is going on, it’s usually something that you need to fix. So stop running from pain and hard times and stop getting high and drunk when it comes to pain and hard times. Just deal with them head on; then you will get stronger. Once you deal with that, you won’t have to deal with that anymore. The world will have to bring something else. Learn from your mistakes. Instead of getting down and depressed study what’s going on. Study why that is happening and then don’t do that again.

Aaron: Absolutely! Before we end the interview, would you like to say anything else regarding hosting ABFF or anything that you would like to share?
David Banner: I would like to tell people to support it. We don’t get many programs like this and we complain so much about us not having them. When we do have it and have so many good people in the community that help, we just leave them out there by themselves. It’s no different than Malcolm, Martin, and all the rest of these people who have stepped up to the foreground to help us. It’s like when we do get these sparks of positivity we don’t use them. If it’s something negative or somebody beefing, or if it’s some drama, we in that all day! I think it’s real important for us to support ABFF and to support ASPiRE. Have it on your cable provider and fight for it. Once I got into the show and saw all of these amazing independent films, all of these different people, and all of these different genres of films, I was like dude we need to help this! We need to help them make this happen. I think that’s what’s important. Support it. If it’s something that we can do better, tell us. I’m on twitter @therealbanner. If you want to talk to ASPiRE TV you can get them at @tvASPiRE. We are here and we’re listening.
Join David Banner on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Davidbanner
and on Instagram @davidbannerlikespictures.
For more information about ASPiRE visit www.aspire.tv and facebook.com/aspireTV


  1. Good Interview! #inspiration #knowledge Keep doing your thing DB..... Peace to The God!


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