Talladega College apologizes for speech by rapper David Banner

Talladega college convocation

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An apology has been posted on the website of Talladega College after an on-campus speech by rapper, actor and Grammy winning producer David Banner.

Banner spoke at a convocation, moments after new members were inducted into the honors society. Banner, whose biography also lists him as an activist and philanthropist, began his speech by asking “everybody with a camera, turn the camera away from me.”

He had told media that he was going to speak to students about the importance of “self” and “(tick) some old folks off.”

Banner, walking through the audience at the college’s gym, questioned President Trump’s campaign slogan, asking when America was ever great for African Americans.

“Do Jewish people send their children to go to work for Nazis? Then why do HBCU’s send you all to go to work for your oppressor?” he asked a somewhat stunned crowd of mostly students.

In an interview before the service, Banner gave a much tamer version of his remarks, saying young people of today want real answers and often look to people who don’t have them.

“I think they want real answers. You know, you tell kids not to do illegal things, but there’s no Boys’ or Girls’ Clubs, they’re closing down libraries, no funding for bands, there’s nowhere for them to go and then you get mad at them because they joined a gang,” he told reporters. “There’s no jobs, but then you get mad because they sell dope.”

“What they come in here, saying all this about sex and drugs, we’re in college! What the hell do they think we’re doing?” he asked the crowd, to applause.

Banner says he remembers when people looked down on him and bouncers at clubs kept him outside the velvet ropes. He told us someone eventually gave him a chance, but he never forgot the people who are still on the other side of the ropes.

Late in the day, the college published the following statement on its website.

“At an institution of higher learning, students are exposed to a variety of opinions and views. If anyone felt offended by today’s convocation speech, we apologize. Talladega College has a diversity of students, faculty and staff, and we value and embrace them all.”

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