Music Executives David Banner and Amir Windom Share Their Passion For Activism
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2016) — The University of Kentucky's Martin Luther King (MLK) Center brings Grammy-award winning artist and activist, David Banner and Grammy-award winning music executive, Amir Windom to campus as a part of its "Convo Series" 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. The two will discuss social injustices, media and hip-hop in White Hall Classroom Building Room 106.
Banner is a music producer, rapper, actor, philanthropist, and activist from Jackson, Mississippi. He is the founder of A Banner Vision, which is a music and production agency that provides emotionally engaging music for commercials, video games and films. He uses his global platform to encourage under-served youth and constantly speaks out against social injustices.
Activism has always been a major part of Banner’s career, and in 2006 he was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators for his work after Hurricane Katrina.
“The history of Africans in Mississippi has always prompted me to be active. My people have been mistreated historically and I think that I can make it better,” he said.
Banner is a graduate of Southern University and began his music career in 1999 along with rapper Kamikaze as the duo Crooked Lettaz. He released his debut solo album in 2000 and he released his first major label album in 2003, Mississippi: The Album.
Being an artist, he has remained vocal about the current state of hip-hop.
“Hip-hop is fine it just needs some balance. We have sold out to commercialism and in turn given our culture away. Hip-hop is just a byproduct,” he said.
For years Banner has traveled around the country visiting schools and speaking to students about the injustices in the world and how students can make a change. He shares an encouraging message of leaving the world in a better place than he found it, and he advocates for others to take a stand and become active to help make a difference within their communities the same way he is.
“Just become active. Whether it is picking up paper, protesting or throwing bricks — just become active,” Banner said.
Windom is one of the top entertainment executives and creative minds of this generation. He has helped to develop and manage the careers of top artists such as T.I., Kanye West, Trey Songz and Madonna. Windom has worked on many albums that have attained gold and platinum status. Outside of music, he has helped create marketing strategies for Kodak, Coca-Cola and Adidas.
Not only is Windom a music executive, but he is also an activist and vocal about issues that affect the black community.
“I think growing up in an "urban at risk" community... And having the privilege to go to college and see the world, it shows you how much work is needed in your own community to transform mentalities,” Windom said. “So just unconsciously trying to make where I grew up at a better place gave me my start in activism.”
This is not the first time that Windom has participated in the Convo series at UK and he is a long supporter of the MLK Center.
“The MLK Center and I have partnered in the past. Because of their commitment to creating meaningful programs for their students, we came up with the idea to do the Convo series so it will be a consistent event that students can come and speak their mind and we can have a conversation versus them being spoken to by a speaker,” he said.
The MLK Center's mission is to advance UK's strategic goal of achieving a more diverse and inclusive campus environment; to support increased retention of undergraduate students who are generally underrepresented in the student body; and to enhance student achievement by helping students to have a more engaged, productive and fulfilling undergraduate experience. To these ends, the center's goals are to foster intercultural competence, promote respect and passion for the pursuit of quality education, and to help prepare students for productive and responsible engagement in a global society. For more information on the MLK Center, visit them online at http://www.uky.edu/mlkc/, follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/uk_mlkcenter, or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UKMLKC.
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