• The Magnolia Literacy Project

The Power of Visual Rhetoric: A Monticello Teen's Reaction to Jackson Icons

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

By LaWanda Dickens

Roy’Avery Barnes, a 9th grader at Lawrence County High School, visits Jackson with his mom and dad often. He enjoys exploring the cultural attractions in the downtown area.

During a trip to the capital city earlier this month, he saw the Jackson Icons mural for the first time. With a commanding presence, the mural communicates with members of its audience in different ways. The experience was an educational one for Roy'Avery.


He was struck by the far right end of the mural, where rapper, David Banner, is featured. Although the Monticello teenager is a hip hop fan, he didn't know much about Banner at the time. Yet he immediately identified with his image and stopped for a few poses.

The mural prompted Roy'Avery to look deeper into its meaning. He then realized that Banner is an influential figure in the entertainment industry, notably the Hip Hop movement. After researching Banner, Roy'Avery learned of his accomplishments as a widely respected activist, philanthropist, actor, and record producer. Right away, he understood the significance of Banner's face on the exhibit.

"I like the style of the mural and the colors," Roy'Avery told The MLP, "but when I found out who David Banner really is, I liked it more. He applies pressure. He goes hard."

In layman's language, Banner excels and settles for nothing less than his best.

Jackson Icons, created by artist, Reshonda Perryman, and commissioned by Visit Jackson, is part of an initiative to highlight Jackson's cultural significance while increasing tourist appeal. Mission accomplished ... the exhibit definitely appealed to Roy'Avery!



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