Rapper, actor, producer, hitmaker: David Banner has done it all. The 44-year-old dropped The God Box—his first studio album in seven years—in 2017 and immediately received high praise for the powerful, CeeLo Green-assisted single, "Magnolia." Taking Fuse inside the song's eye-opening visual, Banner explained the concept behind its production and why the process was so challenging.
"I had an idea for a book that was called If Trees Could Talk—what they would say that they've seen happen to black people throughout history," the Mississippi native explains. "It's like the tree was feeling bad about all the things that she had saw and, to a certain degree, she was a part of. She said, 'I was used in the lynching of blacks.'"
Incorporating elements of Afrofuturism while highlighting the history of racism and violence against the black community, "Magnolia" was surprisingly directed by an all-white media agency. Banner, at first skeptical about the collaboration, found the experience to be nothing short of rewarding.
"I taught them a big lesson. It was very easy for them to put black people on trees hanging and black people dying, but it wasn't easy for them to show redemption," he explains. "That's why I'm so proud of this video...I think just us having those uncomfortable conversations are what can actually change the future for both our kids and their kids."
Below, throw it back to 2012 when Banner discussed the philanthropic goals behind his Sex, Drugs & Video Games mixtape: