The fascination that artist, producer and actor David Banner holds for superheroes has spilled over into his new mini web series, “Walking with Gods.”
Time travel, African mythology, spirituality, and supernatural abilities are all incorporated into the web series, which is centered on the character, Aket Heru (played by Banner). The son of a celestial king, Aket is betrayed by his envious brother, Liel, and subsequently cursed by an evil spirit known as Setus. The curse erases Aket’s memory and he becomes oblivious to his God-like abilities. Setus also destroys Aket’s family in the process, but spares his life merely for amusement and torment.
Due to his amnesia, Aket embraces a new name: Alex Light. Throughout the series, he's plagued with the burden of breaking the curse put on him by Setus and restoring his true identity and supernatural powers.
“Walking with Gods” is funded through Banner’s 2m1 (two million people with one purpose) Movement, a fundraising initiative that gives back to local communities and artists around the country.
David Banner talked about what inspired “Walking with Gods,” his future plans for the web series, recently starring in the multi-million-dollar grossing film "The Butler," and his 2m1 movement.
What inspired you to start this mini web series?
I’ve always been enthralled with superheroes and the ability to be something else. And through this journey, I realized that we actually are something else. We have the ability, but we don’t study or we don’t eat right or we don’t place our bodies or our minds in the right situation to be able to capitalize off that. So, all of that stuff came together and I decided that I was going to make my own [superhero].
How long has “Walking with Gods” been in the making?
It’s been about four years actually. This started off with me and 9th Wonder’s album, Death of a Popstar. I created the character. 9th wonder also had a character. We were going to do a graphic novel cartoon. Things didn’t go the way that we thought they were going to go as far as with the major label. [We were] depending on somebody else to believe in the vision and they never did. I ended up continuing it.
Out of all the approaches you could have taken with this series, why did you choose to theme it around a superhero?
One, because that’s what I like. You have to go with things that you’re passionate about. If nothing else, even though I know this is going to be amazingly big, I always wanted to be a superhero. I go to casting calls and all this kind of stuff, and hope that people see. I workout every day hoping that somebody will believe that I’m a superhero, or that I can be that in their movies. And then I realized, ‘no,’ I have to believe first.
I’ve always been passionate about space and time and traveling. It hurts me that every time you see a black man on TV for the most part, you see him doing the same things over and over. They keep us on earth. They keep us in the hood. Why stay in people’s boxes? Why continue being somebody’s jester, when you can be the king of the universe? Why kill a whole bunch of folks when you can heal?
Will "Walking with Gods" continue to be an online series, or do you have plans of expanding it?
It’s not specifically for anything. It’s whatever God allows it to be. I have plans of it being a full-fledge movie. A full-fledge television show. I plan on going all the way with it. And the thing that I want people to understand is this is so much bigger than just one person or one character. That’s why I called it “Walking with Gods” with an “s”.
The main character’s kryptonite, as some would say, would be him not believing in himself—him having the full potential. If you take away from it from a religious aspect, think about how many people limit themselves. God has blessed us with everything we need internally, we just have to go and find. We search so much for answers outside of ourselves [but] God has equipped us with everything that we need.
You recently starred in "The Butler," which has been a blockbuster in theaters, grossing more than $100 million. How was that experience for you?
That’s one of the biggest five minutes of my life. It has really been changing the scope of my life. The people that have been calling. The things that people have been saying. And it’s fun, because I’m starting to get noticed for that more than anything right now. I mean people of all races and all colors all over the world are like, ‘hey, that’s the dude from The Butler.’ And that’s really cool. I don’t have a problem with that.
Could you briefly touch on the 2m1 movement?
The purpose of the whole movement is really to just show people that we need to control our own images—both good and bad. If we want better TV, we have to make better TV shows. If we want better music, we have to provide for ourselves and create opportunities and situations for ourselves. 2m1 is about us controlling ourselves and our money, images, and music. If people want to do it, they can hit me up at davidbanner.com and be a part of the movement.