'Heal the Hood' Takes Up Katrina Aid

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Mississippi hip-hop artist David Banner talks about his "Heal the Hood" hurricane relief concert Saturday night in Atlanta. All proceeds and donations will go to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

ED GORDON, host:

This weekend will also see the hip-hop community step up to help. Mississippi rap artist David Banner will join Little John, Nelly, Busta Rhyme and others for a hurricane relief concert in Atlanta tomorrow night. Banner's Heal the Hood charity is directing all proceeds and donations to help the hurricane victims. Banner said he had to respond quickly after he saw Katrina's effect on his home region.

Mr. DAVID BANNER (Rap Artist): Hell, yes, I had friends and family that live in Pass Christian, Long Beach, Biloxi, Gulfport, all on the coast. And I had opportunity to go where the eye of the storm hit. Communities were totally devastated. I mean, they're gone. They don't exist anymore, you know, and me, as an entertainer, a lot of times we get caught up into, you know, whether our records are going to sell or how many spins we have. I can honestly say, man, after I saw what families were going through, I'm just happy to know where my mother is, you know what I'm saying? I'm happy to have running water. It really changed my perspective about life, period.

The things that we talk about as artists when certain tragedies happen are no different than what everybody else talks about. I think the difference is, is we have an opportunity to change it in a big way. I always say that it is not an entertainer's place to be a role model. It is your responsibility as a man to do certain things in your community. And the things that I do as a rapper were the same things I did when I was a hustler. I still provided for the street. I was still taking care of kids. I was still teaching. God happened to lay on my heart to provide and be a voice and a means for our people, to be respected and get the things that they need.

Initially, this concert was a concert that I was throwing in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend the hurricane hit. And we ended up canceling it. I immediately turned it into a fund-raiser because, you know, I'm going to tell you something, dog. A lot of these rappers are tired of being used, you know, by our so-called leaders. The people especially that they put on television to be black leaders, who in the hell elected those people? They raise all this money but we never see the money go, once again, to our neighborhoods. So rappers see through that. It ain't like, `Well, Banner, we behind you.'

But we also have to make sure that we send relief to cities like Atlanta, cities like Houston, cities like Jackson, Mississippi, cities like Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where their population doubled in one day. And in these places, we can barely house and educate our own children. Now we have to educate double that when we didn't have the money in the first to properly educate the children that we have. Therefore, these cities need help. All these cities that opened up their arms to our--to Mississippi, Louisiana and we have to help them help us.

GORDON: Mississippi rapper David Banner. He helped organize tomorrow night's Heal the Hood hip-hop hurricane relief concert in Atlanta.

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