For the past nine years, Heal the Hood has been instrumental in encouraging positive change in Jackson, Mississippi and surrounding cities among youth. As the organization re-brands and focuses its efforts on reaching new people as The Banner Foundation, the mission is still the same.
We had an opportunity to talk with Banner and some of the partners of Heal the Hood. Check out our interviews below.
David Banner on what inspired him to establish Heal the Hood:
“Imma tell you the truth, this is what happened. When I went into the belly of Katrina, Red Cross was always set up on the other side of the tracks. I watched Black people have to walk one, two and three miles to get relief. I literally watched them make all their checkpoints more convenient for White people – and it hurt my feelings.
I said I wanted to set my organization up for people who are suffering of all colors, but especially more convenient for Black people. I wanted to set up an organization where people know if they invested their money, it would go to the hood. It would go to the people who really need it. I’m being very honest with you, that’s how Heal the Hood started.”
Banner on the impact of Heal the Hood in Mississippi and teaching people how to give back:
“I just want to teach people how to give. We come from impoverished areas and people don’t think about the fact that a lot of people don’t give because nobody ever gave anything to them. People don’t know this but I always bring a lot of the local rappers around and let them watch me give. So they can be like, ‘damn, OK I remember that’s how David Banner did it.’
A lot of people think Black folks do certain things the wrong way and a lot of times it’s because they just don’t [expletive] know better. So I’m expelling that excuse. I’m showing people how to give.”
On Heal the Hood’s re-branding:
“We go all around the world. We just left East Africa. You’re the first person that will know this but Heal the Hood has actually turned into The Banner Foundation. We kept the name Heal the Hood in Mississippi because that’s what people in Mississippi love and adore.”
What giving back to the community does for him personally:
“I think it does more for me than it does for them honestly. But I will tell you that I don’t want or need any pats on the back. My dad always says you shouldn’t get extra credit for stuff you’re supposed to do. I’ve been given a lot and I’m very blessed to have come out of the environment I’ve come out of. To come out of the state I’ve come out of. Because as much as we represent Mississippi, Mississippi is a state of pain for Black people. We can run around and act like that’s not the case but I’ll never, ever, ever let them forget what they did to my people.”
Other local and national organizations have partnered with Heal the Hood/The Banner Foundation and experienced the fulfillment that giving back to the community can bring. George Chuck talked with us about his role in the movement. “Partnering with Heal the Hood has allowed me to become a vested partner with the Boys and Girls Club throughout the year. Each of the businesses and organizations I’m involved in are consistent contributors to the efforts of the Boys and Girls Club and the entire community of Jackson,” he said.
Kyle Frazier of The HUE Group, Inc. worked with Heal the Hood for the first time this year and supports organized movements. “I know Andrae and got a chance to meet David on a personal level. I feel that they are two dynamic men who are making a difference. So it is a very genuine interest to help in any way. Anytime you have a cause that is organized, focused and motivated, the results are multiplied,” he told us.
“Partnering with Heal the Hood will be a great partnership to support youth development and recreation opportunities for Mississippi and the rest of the world. We want to contribute to the purpose of the event, which is to bring Holiday cheer to resilient families in Mississippi,” Joshua Epps of SuperDopeNation said. SuperDopeNation was responsible for creating the design for The Banner Foundation.
If you are interested in working with The Banner Foundation or learning more, please visit them online at www.heal-the-hood.org.
Photo: Urban Cusp