WATCH: David Banner on Trayvon Martin Shooting Death

The passionate performer expresses his views on the senseless death of another young Black man

Over the course of the past few weeks, the nation has been fixated on the death of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old who was shot and killed in Florida by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who claims the unarmed boy looked “suspicious” and was up to no good. No weapons were found on Martin, who only had a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea on him. No charges have been filed against Zimmerman, who says he was attacked by Martin and only acted in self-defense, despite the fact that 911 operators instructed him to not follow Martin. The resulting death of another young Black man and the fact that Zimmerman has yet to be charged has evoked a firestorm of controversy and backlash. Hip-hop artist/producer and contributing blogger David Banner recently stopped by the BE offices to express his frustrations with the Martin incident and the system that allows his shooter to walk free. Listen below to hear Banner’s passionate perspective on the life and death of Trayvon Martin and what changes need to be made.

Video shot and edited by Brain Food Film.

  • Coole High

    Boycotts have always gotten peoples attention. Always worked. Why not do that and sacrifice not having some of the things that’s helping to keep these corporations and entities that don’t give a crap about black folk so rich? Yeah, I agree. Affect the pockets, get the attention. Simple.

  • D’Angelo

    Star Spangle Banner

  • Traci

    I agree with with what he said and wish he could’ve taken it a step further. If you want to look at who the real deviants and hoodlums are just take a stroll down history lane, and its all there. They try to act like all blacks are thugs, on welfare, and or on drugs. Well I say take a look at the drug toopic alone and really research how and where it came about and how and when it became illegal. We really need to launch a movement to not only do everything he was talking about with getting some laws passed on our behalf, and doing something financially, but educate black people on facts, there are some great resources out there but were not doing something right.

  • queenlaven

    because WE are not our grandparents..or great grandparents. back then, one or two groups from each block might have had their expenses paid by the rest of the people on the block in order to actively protest for a period of time. we still loaning $5 AND pissed if we don’t get it back. as hard as it is out here for many folks, COLLECTIVELY, our priorities are backwards..organized by technological advancement, reality TV, and overall apathy for others. WE must care enough to sacrifice COLLECTIVELY for the greater good of the underdog and NOT the billionaire.

    As Banner said, it will take a much more gruesome story to at LEAST grab our attention. So, what on earth will it take for US feel called to action? I don’t know..I don’t know

  • Jamie

    David, this situation had to occur to spark our attention. Our generation has gotten so comfortable with the way society is and accepting of the things that people do. I agree with you all the way that this issue extends past a race issue; sitatuations like this happen all the time whether it is based on social class issues, race issues, and position issues. Because we are frequently at the bottom of all of these, the we are a race suffer more often.
    We can continue to rally and make out cries, but we must do something permanent that signifies that we will not accept this foolishness anymore and our youth must learn to stand up on own their behalf. However, it is our responsibility to show them how to correctly exercise the power of thier voices.
    In my opinion, this country has struggled to regain control of blacks every since the election of the president because it put a new stigma on American culture. Suddenly, there was physical proof that we were capable and able to lead this country. This has been the fear of our counterparts for many years. Check history. This is why slaves were not allowed to learn to read, they were counted as property not people, they could not recieve patents for inventions, they could not vote, they could not have equal opportunity. The fight and leadership of our communities in a peaceful manner is what changed the face of America, even though it involved the sacrifice of many of our greatest leaders. The bottom line is that there is still much word to be done. While this is not the 1960’s, many things must be corrected to ensure that all Americans are treated equally and fairly no matter their race, religion, social class, or employement position.


    David u r right WE must stay activated I also think that THEY fear losing their majority “status” unless that majority is POOR bcuz then they still have all of the power …..THEY want to make u have a child even if u can’t afford it n then not help u n any capacity….. THEY want u to have the kids so that those kids have an almost ZERO chance of making anything out of themselves n ultimately end up in one of THEIR jails!!! It is a white/black situation but its even a bigger poor/rich situation bcuz these poor white people will be in the same boat as all the other sheep…..but they do an awesome job of keeping them focused on race THEY have them so bamboozled that they will die if it means keeping black people down

  • Ashley LaRae

    I’ Banner is saying right here…. we have to keep this fire lit! Banner said it all… WE HAVE TO DO OF OURSELVES! We have to keep our eyes open and pay attention…

  • MaRc4real

    D Banner you spoke some real shnit. The truth can never be debated only filtered. Black people in America have not united for a purposeful reason since the “black power” era. Maybe ‘fear’ has been used against us too. We are so divided that the power we really have is not realized or utilized by us. The kids that are demonstrating behind the Trayvonmartin incident should be encouraged, nourished and applauded. The youth historically have been the main force in every demonstration against societal injustices. I haven’t seen the youth support a purposeful issue since the 60s & 70s. They have the potential to affect change in this country once again.

  • Dave V

    I’m neither black nor white…I’m an olive…and I’m in another Continent. I’m ‘disconnected’ through distance and maybe nieve of the broader issues in the US, and the long term racial issues that may led to this shooting…the ‘social (in)justice issues’…the longterm issues of respect, stereotypes, and acknowledgement between one group and another that many african americans feel may have been complicit in this act….I see it on TV for a few seconds or minutes then its gone “…and on to the weather”. Comments on twitter, fb, etc they all represent the instant ‘concern’ of the many…and then life goes on. BUT how do ‘attitudes’ change and how can you change them over the long term…and who’s got the power to do it…who can lead?…how does a country change one group’s attitudes and way of thinking about about another group??…how many generations it gonna take…a story about Malcolm-X I read from ‘Dangerous Minds’ asked me to consider what has actually improved for the US African American since Mr X’s assassination 47 years ago….this incident brings to bear the reality that maybe not too many things have changed…you have one man in power who can take big steps for the causes…a time of opportunity.

    I feel for you… and for what its worth you have my respect for standing up, and my support.

  • marinda taylor

    On the trayvon martin tragedy i believe every one in florida should stand to gether an not pay their dam taxes to city hall as a protest to get politicians in that state tocome together an make new laws abolish old ones are revise the one in place stand in defend proscecute if you are the agressor an cause bodily harm

  • truth1j

    I agree with everything David Banner said because it is the truth. It is sad to think that after all this marching and yelling the killer is still free-it is for sure that they will arrest him and charge him but really what does it mean now? Hasn’t the message already been sent that it is going to take a WHOLE lot of marching, crying, evidence, and all this to bring one white man to justice for killing a black kid. I think this will only embolden the crazy people out there that want to kill us. You know, as much as I love being black, I love our collective history as Africans here, everywhere and at our original home-Africa, I must say that we carry the heaviest burden. We are despised by all people just for existing, it seems like white people keep us down to show all other people that they are powerful. I don’t know what the solution for us is except the old adage-unite, unite unite. But in this so-called “post-racial” world, it seems like black people try to be anything but black. It is funny when some of them seem indignant that this kind of crime occurs in 2012 and remains unpunished. It is like they have selective amnesia about the past and the present. I guess the biggest mistake we are making right now is the “elite” blacks are distancing themselves from all the other black people that they deem to be “poor” and beneath them. This message, aptly communicated by Bill Cosby, I believe sparked an onslaught on the poor by whites like never before. Bill Cosby’s speech was a turning point in black america’s history. He let white people know it was okay to do whatever they wanted to the poor cos we didn’t care either. And ever since then, it has been a free for all where they come in and destroy the school system, privatize and make profit over our condition. Black people have to be careful about the new immigrants in America, the African, haitian and carribbean immigrants. Many of them come with an elitist, holier-than-thou attitude and they are more than willing to pull down their brothers and sisters for the white man’s approval. Remember that black people in America are the most united and most conscious group of blacks in the world and our hope lies in you, Chancellor Williams in the Destruction of Black Civilization said this and it is true. Our only hope moving forward is to teach our children and our people who want to hear our history, going all the way back to Africa and Kemet (Egypt). Do you know that in Africa, they are not taught about ancient African history before colonialism? We need to teach this and awaken our minds, power starts with the mind. We need to control our resources in Africa, all black people need to have a stake in Africa just as the Chinese and all other countries do now. Don’t think Africa equals the sally sratuers commercials of starving babies, that’s the image they give you so that you detest yourself and where you are from. But in the meantime, they are in there raping, pillaging, making their careers and their lives in Africa. We need to have a stake in our god given land, the most plentiful, the richest land in the entire world. This is our only hope. Black people need to demand citizenship in Africa, and then do what is necessary to uplift and support the continent. Doesn’t mean give up citizenship here but we need to turn to Africa. Additionally, we have to be prepared for war, because when we do show unity and a turn toward Africa, trust, they will try to destroy us even more than ever. It is depressing to think that once you are aware of your place in the world, nothing will be the same. But I guess God has a purpose and one can’t be a coward or deny who they are.

  • S.Marie

    I had this same conversation with some of my friends the other day. I’m happy to see that people are standing up for justice I’m happy to see that the dialogue about prejudice is happening, but like you said I would hate for this to be just a trend. Rallying for justice is great but understanding government and voting is the other side to this. We all run and vote for our president, one man in a system of many. How many of us know who are local representatives are? What they stand for? How many of us vote when laws and propositions are introduced? We need to make this a teachable moment for our children. Prejudice happens daily but unless we stay active and involved in our communities, we will have laws, like stand your ground, and tragedies like the Trayvon Martin case. We have to educate ourselves!

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  • David

    Treyvon doubled back and confronted Zimmerman, and lost.

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  • truth1j

    @David, we aren’t stupid and its not april fools so you can take those pictures and go to another site. Doctors have concluded that if he was beaten to an inch of his life as described by him and lying family members, then he shouldn’t have been able to balance himself to even walk. So what if his head has a few scratches, I wish Trayvon had been able to do more damage so he could have lived and this evil stalker and murderer couldn’t have gotten away with it. Dude, don’t come over here with the white supremacists BS. Its played out.

  • ElleB

    David Banner hit the nail on the head! Now is the time to come together and make a change. They fear us uniting because we are the backbone of the United States, we let the few control our lives and future. It’s time to take that power back and demand change in our legislation. Thank you David Banner!

  • David

    I beg your pardon, “don’t come over here with the white supremacists BS.”
    What offended you? You don’t know anything about me.

    Sounds like you AND Banner have chips on your shoulders from something that happened to people you don’t even know. I, or none of my relatives are in anyway complicit on something that happened 200 years ago. This story isn’t about race, though articles like this try to turn into that. Treyvon wasn’t as innocent as the people on this website have hoped for.

    Check out this story that won’t make the national news:

    Had that attack happened to me, that Applebees parking lot would have been littered with bodies.

    • truth1j

      @David Yeah, Um..I really wished I cared what you thought about us or this case-but I don’t. I’d rather have meaningful conversations with my people-I’m not trying to convince or educate you on anything. I’m just trying to make sure you and others like you know there are consequences to your violent & monstrous actions.

  • Liveurlife Thisyear

    TO me its as simple as we live in a country that has practiced racism and classism from that day to this. I do agree that the racist, classist, power structure has gotten away with TOO MUCH.
    THEN do it AGAIN
    OR have U forgotten??? JAMES CRAIG ANDERSON!!!

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  • LaRon Washington

    Hey yall Zimmerman dude was a mexican not white. Lets keep it on the up and up here!

  • M

    THANK YOU!!!! David Banner. I just hope its not to late for the young generation to get it and make a change. We ALL have to do our part.

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  • Jamesomar

    David,you remind me of a turd I flushed down the toilet. White people did not make you slaves,
    Your own chiefs made you slaves and sold you for a roll of toilet paper. African people don”t
    Even like you,they call American blacks scum.
    I tell you what you do,go to the Boston globe,and look up Evelyn wagler.