The 2016 Memphis Black Expo was a culture rich experience. The five-day event explored black history in Egypt, and gave black business owners the opportunity to showcase their merchandise.
On Thursday night, the expo kicked off with a Conscious Cinema and Panel Discussion at the Malco Paradiso featuring the legendary Dick Gregory followed by a “Welcome to Memphis” reception on Friday at Stax Museum, honoring singer Stefanie Bolton and famed producer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell.
The real treat came on Saturday at the Cultural Festival and Black Business Showcase. Special guests included TV One’s Roland Martin, Egyptologist Amr El Hadidi and Hip-hop artist David Banner.
EGL got a chance to chat with David Banner on what to expect from his upcoming album The God Box, which he has deemed one of the best hip hop albums ever.
“Just great music, a different perspective. I had somebody tell me today, who is mixing The God Box for me, he said, ‘It’s eclectic but it’s jammin.’ Like it’s a breath of fresh air but it still has that Southern under bottom. In no way am I comparing it to Outkast or what Organized Noise did, but that’s sort of the feeling I get when I listen to it. Like you can tell that it’s Southern but you’ve never heard anything like this before, so I’m excited about it.”
Banner also spoke on the importance of a conscious community.
“I’ve been doing lectures all over the United States and now I’m about to go global with my lectures and like we’ll see today, usually it’s 500 to 1200 people every time I speak now, so I’ve realized that in order for me to expect my people to buy a conscious album, I have to do my part on making sure they are conscious. So when they come and see me lecture or when they see an interview, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s what David Banner is talking about.’ Then they hear it on the album, then they look at the news, ‘Oh, that’s that bullsh-t Banner said they were doing to us.’”
Last, he explained why he doesn’t tell people what The God Box means to him.
“I want to tell ya’ll something Erykah Badu taught me. I don’t really tell people what The God Box means to me because you don’t know how God is working with the person that’s listening to it. Have you ever had somebody and they were your favorite artist, like to me Tupac felt like he was sitting in front of me and talking to me, but imagine if Tupac explained the song and it didn’t match up with what you thought. That would hurt your feelings. You would be like, ‘Damn.’ So you just be quiet and let people digest it the way that God is working with them at the time.”
Amen! David Banner dropped so many influential gems. Be sure to pre-order his album The God Box, set to hit shelves on August 19.
On Saturday, there was also a gospel festival, African American inventions global museum, car &bike show, black beauty pageant, soul food festival and a youth empowerment conference.
“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porsha Williams hit the red carpet at the Visual Art & Fashion Party at Empire Lounge on Sunday. She was stunning, rocking a black gown from Reve Boutique. Watch her werk below.
The fashion show was inspired by the expo’s theme, “Salute to Egypt.” Black designers and visual artists proudly showcased their regal designs. It was absolutely beautiful.
The 2016 Memphis Black Expo was definitely one to remember! For more information about the expo, visit www.memphisblackexpo.com or use the hashtag #MBX2016 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Written By: Ericka Smith, Entertainment Editor