If you’ve seen any of the latter episodes of Issa Rae’s “Awkward Black Girl” you will be more than familiar with the production quality and look of David Banner’s “Walking With Gods”. He’s no Gordon Parks Jr. when it comes to directing super-fly action sequences but Banner can tell a pretty exciting visual story. What’s sets WWG apart from the ever-growing slew of web series aimed at audiences of color is that it’s a decent piece of Afrofuturism from the guy that made “Like a Pimp”.
Once known for producing raspy second string twerk anthems, it turns out that “Stuntin is a Habit” auteur David Banner is the exception to virtually every stereotype you could have about rappers. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in business, is articulate enough to leave Congress scratching their heads at his testimony, and he chooses decent films to star in where you’ll see him actually act well. Banner has been acting regularly since his debut in 2006’s “Black Snake Moan” most recently making an impressive showing as Earl Gaines in Lee Daniel’s “The Butler”. Most respectably, though, Banner has been putting all of his efforts into his 2M1 movement that hopes to use hip-hop and urban art to repair the communities and neighborhoods that create it. As of 2012 he’d donated over $500,000 to gang prevention in Chicago. Now he hopes to even further expand his resume by directing science fiction short films.
The four-part web series centers around a detective trying to understand how a young woman’s body was implanted into a wall. Unlike other super powered police procedurals like Heroes, the 4400, or SHIELD, however, we’re treated to the presence of more than one person of color on-screen at a time. The opening credits tell the origins of Banner’s character “Aket Huru” and how he learned to harness the mighty powers of “the god within himself”. Somewhere Rakim’s smiling (as best he can). The show features an animated sequence that greatly echoes BET’s short lived Black Panther cartoon in style and paints the rest of the project in an undeniably Afrocentric light. There are a few fun fight scenes between Banner and his on-screen wife. The man definitely took more than his nom du rap from superhero comics and the story could go many interesting ways, but what will keep you looking out for the next installment is the fun of it all. Walking With Gods takes a lot of distinctly African and diasporic mythology and packages it in way that’s entertaining and modern. Thor and the rest of Europe’s old gods get to be superheroes these days, why not Africa’s?
by Justin B. Jones