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V Exclusive! David Banner Speaks Out on Trayvon Martin’s Death; Proclaims Power To The People With ‘2M1’

David Banner is on a roll. He is passionately voicing his opinion on the controversial shooting death of 17-year old teen Trayvon Martin. Indeed, the platinum Mississippi producer, who has paced hits for the likes of T.I., Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown, has been no stranger to taking a stand on social issues. But with the release of his upcoming March 22nd project Sex, Drugs & Video—a star-studded set that is being billed a “free” album—Banner is in a very conscious mood. VIBE caught up with the rapper, beatman, activist, actor and adman (his ABV company has produced commercials for such companies as Gatorade and Mercedes Benz) to talk about Martin and how his new project means much more than just music.—Keith Murphy 

Before we talk about your Sex, Drugs & Video project, let’s get into what seems to be on everyone’s mind: the unarmed murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. What’s your take on his tragic death and the protest surrounding his shooting? And is this par-for-the-course for people of color?
It happens to us. But I wouldn’t never take any one death and turn my head to it like I’ve gotten used to it. And that’s part of the problem in America. America has convinced us that we are not important and that our lives are not worth anything. It even starts with something as small as the word nigger.

How so?
Anytime we have a complaint about anything we have to remember that we as black people have allowed that word to be desensitized so much that anyone can say it. There’s no respect for a black life or the struggle that black folks have gone through historically. If that shooting happened to any other race the guy that shot the kid would have never walked free.

So you don’t subscribe to the whole self-defense excuse in Martin’s shooting?
No. For a person just to say, ‘Oh, it’s self defense…’ Come on dude, you are talking about a child, man. And the thing is, hip-hop is supposed to be the voice of the streets, the voice of the people. That’s why this new project I’m doing is so important.  We wouldn’t have to worry about what a label thinks if we want to make a song about Trayvon. We can communicate with our fans the way that we want to without worrying about anything. If we want to make a song today about Trayvon and get it to our fans directly this is what I’m trying to do.

So, let’s talk about that free album project. What’s the concept?
It’s the ‘2M1 Movement’. The name of the free album is called Sex, Drugs & Video Games. Again, it’s a movement, and I’ very blessed and I thank God it. The album is really more about freedom…the fans and the artists. We want two million people to download the album. The whole industry has gotten to the point where the most important people are made to feel powerless. I saw what the comedian Louis C.K. did…how he put out his project and went straight to the fans. What I’m trying to say with this project is that urban music is not looked at as a viable entity anymore. The urban DJ’s can’t really get work. You see a person in a club now with just a laptop. You don’t see us in advertisement or all the places we used to be. So instead of begging or hoping that people see some worth in our music, how about we get together and show that our music is still a viable entity? And the way that we can do that is through paper.

So since you are giving this album for free, where does gaining power come in?
Everyone can download the album for free on my site at davidbanner.com. But I am asking for a donation. 2 million people donating a dollar…that’s power. This is a jamming album. We got Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, the Game, Bun B, Nipsey Hussle, Ras Kass…and it goes on and on. And we shot a video for every song. So every Wednesday up until the album drops on May 22, we are dropping a song a week. Then we will drop a video the following Wednesday. I have a song called ‘Californication’ with me, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey, and Ras. I’m going to show people that we can still make albums. Because people got tired of buying albums because it wasn’t nothing but the single on it. So I’m about to show ‘em…we are not tripping on one single. The whole album is jamming.

What was your process of picking the artists for this album, especially a newcomer like Rocky A$AP?
I got three tracks on Rocky’s new album. I knew about Rocky early on. We knew the same people so we ended up meeting. It was just an incredible vibe. He was like a little cousin to me. Ever since then we have been working together. I told Rocky about the project and he was, ‘Big bruh, I’m with you.’ And the crazy thing about it is it’s so much bigger than music. I want 2 million people to download the album.

What do you hope to do with those two million people?
By July 22, I want to have those two million emails and change the world. I want us to have the ability to make our power felt. After we raise this $2 million, I’m going to shoot a movie and release it the same way. Instead of us begging people to shoot the kind of movies that represents our culture properly we have to do it ourselves. Like I said, I’m going to take the same equation of Louis C.K. He showed it can work.

You also have had success with your own Ad Company, which did a very high profile campaign for Gatorade. How is that part of the biz going for you?
My Ad company is still here. We’ve worked with Mercedes Benz, Marvel, and Capcom. And we are about to do some work for the Resident Evil game. It ranges from so many things. It’s just another avenue to show people that we are a viable entity. We did work on the Footloose movie that was just released. It’s bigger than hip-hop. I want any kid to know, especially people that come from impoverished situations, that we shouldn’t limit ourselves. And this is what this ‘2M1’ movement is all about. If you notice, it’s not just about a song or a free album. I want people to know that we are giving our culture away. Everything is for free. It’s to the point now where people look at hip-hop and say, ‘Wow…should I pay for it?’

That’s just the downloading culture we live in today, right?
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m giving you Chris Brown, A$AP Rocky, Wayne and more and yet you still want to complain about a dollar? The people that donate will get all the videos too, and I’ll be hitting their emails with exclusive songs; songs that didn’t make the mixtape. I’m showing artists how to treat their fans. We don’t look at what we are doing. We have allowed our music to be degraded. If people don’t pay for it, it’s not an art. This is what I’m trying to say with everything that I’m doing.

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Oprah Responds To Viral Video Of Her Eating Unseasoned Chicken

A hilarious old video of Oprah Winfrey making an uncomfortable face as she dives into a piece of unseasoned chicken has been circulating the Internet all week. While these sort of silly videos wouldn't usually garner a response from the billionaire, Oprah surprised everyone when she shared a video explaining the chicken-eating experience and her initial reaction.

To give you some context, the video is a clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, in which O invited her guest Anna Ginsberg to make her award-winning chicken dish. After one bite, it became clear that Oprah wasn't too pleased with the chicken's bland taste. She even asked at the time if she could add a little seasoning.

I often think about the time Oprah did a cooking segment with a woman whose chicken recipe won $1 million, and Oprah's jaw dropped when she tasted it and realized the lady didn't even add seasoning pic.twitter.com/rfs7PS1Jc3

— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) December 9, 2018

Now, more than 10 years later, Oprah is setting the record straight. In her new video posted on Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 13), she noted that she likes to provide a pleasurable experience for her guests but also live in her truth. On that particular day, she was presented with a dilemma. "I was having a moment of trying to decide: Do I want her to have a great time? What is my real moment of truth?" she said. "Because the truth for me was that I'm used to having salt and pepper on my chicken. That's just the truth...That's what I was thinking, 'This chicken needs some salt and pepper.'"

So that's that; Oprah has spoken. She may have played it off at the time, but like many others, she would prefer her chicken with seasoning.

 

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Over the weekend, a 2006 video of @oprah tasting an *interesting* chicken dish made its rounds online. We asked the O of O, what REALLY went through her mind as the cameras were on her—and she answered. Swipe left if you haven’t seen the hysterical video! #tbt

A post shared by O, The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) on Dec 13, 2018 at 7:13am PST

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'Sesame Street' Praised For The Inclusion Of Homeless Character

Sesame Street continues its crusade to include statement-making characters on their block. This time around, families will be introduced to Lily, the show’s first homeless character.

According to USA Today, Lily- an adorable hot pink, red haired puppet- was first introduced to the show in 2011, but in new online clips, Lily opens up about being homeless and staying with friends.

"Now we don't have our own place to live, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home," she says to Elmo in one clip. In her initial appearances on the show, Lily discusses her family’s food insecurities, meaning they didn’t have much to eat.

“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma – the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop.

“We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future," she continues. "We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment – home is wherever the love lives.”

In recent years, Sesame Street has introduced a slew of ground-breaking new characters, including Julia, a puppet with autism, and Alex, a character whose father is incarcerated.

READ MORE: 'Sesame Street' Introduces A Character Who Has A Father In Jail

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Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.

 

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Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

READ MORE: Cardi B Buys Her Mother's House

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