Bianca Banks is here to inspire the masses that if she can do it, you can too.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Banks stands for all things women empowerment, with a mission to positively impact the world any chance she can. First exploding onto the scene as a main cast member on Bravo’s reality television series Invite Only Cabo in 2017 alongside famous celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims, Banks has since moved into her #1 passion: journalism.
Describing herself as “a jack of all trades,” Bianca states, “It’s hard to say because I know I do so many things. When people say ‘what do you do?’ I guess I’m an influencer, maybe not really. Philanthropist, business person, I really wouldn’t wear one hat.”
Now, Bianca steps into her newest, most exciting venture: co-host of her own podcast titled The MND Show alongside her daughter, Jasmine Shannon. An acronym for The Mother N Daughter Show, the podcast series raises the bar when it comes to meaningful topics of discussion, covering everything from politics to parenting to relationships and everything in between.
Having her daughter at a very young age, Banks is here to break down the stigma of the limitations that come with being a single mom, giving hope to the masses that the show doesn’t stop when you have a child.
AllHipHop: What was a young Bianca like coming up in LA?
I love it. You know what? Before you called, I was just thinking about oh my God, I’m from here. I love it, and why do I love it? And I do, it’s just home. Growing up here was a great experience as far as making me aware and well-rounded: with the industry, with the arts and creatives. I had a little advantage because of that, because I never really meet people that are from here.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences coming up?
Bianca Banks: Wow, I probably had different people for different things. Business-wise or as a journalist, of course Oprah Winfrey. Because it’s Oprah. [laughs] I’ve always aspired to be like her. She started off in journalism as a newscaster, then she went over into hosting and moderating. Eventually developing into her own show, then her own network. She’s one of my biggest influences because I really feel like my heart is in journalism and she broke all barriers as a woman of color. I’ve done so many different things and now, this is the niche that I love..it just feels right.
AllHipHop: How did you fall into journalism?
Bianca Banks: Well, I’ve always liked talking to people. It’s easy for me. I like getting to know people and understanding stories. You know how when you talk to people, you’re like “okay this is fake” or You talk to people and you’re like “okay, this is real.” I always have something in me that wants to know about people and talk to people. People feel like it’s easy for me to talk to them.. A realness.. too so they end up telling me things that they wouldn’t share with other people. It’s a level of being comfortable. This process enhanced my personality and who I am in so many different ways. A lot of times previously, I was shy a lot. Now, I’m just me. Not shy, I’m all “okay, let’s talk.”
AllHipHop: Where did you start out writing?
Bianca Banks: Basically, I always wanted to launch my own podcast and my own radio show..moderate, have panel discussions. I want to have people and I ask all the questions. I want to be the interviewer. [laughs] During the pandemic, it was the perfect time to hone in on that because things had slowed down so much. It allowed me to tap into all the things that I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do because of time management.
AllHipHop: What’s the meaning behind The MND Show?
Bianca Banks: I’m so glad you asked that. So many people now have asked me, even people that have been on the show. It stands for Mother N Daughter. A lot of people ask “is it The Mind Show? What is it?” I just had one of my closest friends on, B SCOTT who asked “what is it? I always wanted to ask you.” I’m like “Why didn’t you ask me?”
Me and my daughter, we always had a really good chemistry. I had her when I was super young so we’d always talk, it’s so interesting. Again, it’s my natural thing of wanting to know how people feel. People would say “oh my God, is that you’re daughter? You guys are having these super intense conversations.” I’m like “yeah.” From that, it was always in my mind because people always were so fascinated with our relationship. I said “well, let’s do it together.” That’s how we birthed the baby.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to have a show with her? That’s amazing and unique.
Bianca Banks: Really? The thing is yes, it is unique. Obviously we can talk about anything, but it’s generational perspectives too. It’s a mother daughter perspective. It is challenging us in different ways however, because we are in business together. Sometimes my ideas and her ideas don’t marry..but it’s also making us stronger. It is interesting navigating through our relationship now she’s a young adult.
AllHipHop: How old is she?
Bianca Banks: She’s 26.
AllHipHop: Who have been your favorite guests so far?
Bianca Banks: [gasps] Oh my gosh. My best friend Larry Sims, he was great because we just naturally have fantastic chemistry. I had a senator on, he was really good. That was really good because it was during all the political stuff we’re going through, and still going through. It was when we were having all the riots..really globally. It was good to hear different people’s perspectives, especially people that are really entrenched in politics daily. We’ve had hip-hop artists. I don’t know, everybody’s my favorite!
AllHipHop: What does Black excellence mean to you?
Bianca Banks: You know what, I was somewhere today and I was the only person of color. I was looking at every person in there, thinking I wonder how it feels to be them. Their stories and how they perceive themselves. There was a Caucasian person, then a Hispanic person. I thought, I love being in my skin too. Excellence for me is never muting yourself. Never muting your blackness, and just to stay proud.
AllHipHop: What do you have going on philanthropy-wise?
Bianca Banks: We have a family foundation. We choose a student every year to give a scholarship to. Now I really want to expound on that and start my own foundations for creatives, or people that are like me. I’m in the medical field, I’m a health care provider, then I totally launched into entertainment. Maybe have something like a scholarship that helps the youth or whoever really facilitates a way, a bridge into transitioning from one career to the next.
I know a lot of people too that were in corporate, and they decided to follow their dream or their passion just like me. They’re super, super successful. I don’t know how I want to box that up yet, but basically continue to support the creatives. My philanthropy is really geared towards the youth in whatever way that I can assist growth!
AllHipHop: What were you doing in the medical field?
Bianca Banks: I’m in pharmacy. My dad, he was a pharmacist too. He started his own pharmacies here in Los Angeles. I went to school for that. I said “I don’t really know if I want to do this,” then I went into pre-med/sociology. Once I graduated, my dad said “well, come back and learn the businesses. Run the businesses,” so that’s what I did. That’s still what I do every day. I’m remote, I can just do it. I fine-tuned it now. A lot of the grunt work, I worked so, so hard. Being a young single mom too, you really have to be focused. That’s what I did, and that’s still what I do. I’m trying to flex it a little bit.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be a single mom doing all that you do? Any advice for single moms out there?
Bianca Banks: I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but there’s a little bit more societal support as far as single parents. For example, the Kardashians. People really bash them, they’re really hard on them, but I like them. They’re showing that their dad started something, but their mom took off with it. It’s really important that women have a sounding board. These women have shown everybody that they can be successful out of the traditional box.
For me when I had my daughter, being a single parent was still looked down upon.. I had to say “nope, let me march forward. Let me put my head up.” Because I know who I am and I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of my child. Make it into a positive thing for you, it doesn’t have to be negative would be my advice!
AllHipHop: How did COVID affect your work?
Bianca Banks: Well like I mentioned, I’m able to work remotely now, thank God. But when Covid hit, I had to really be on the frontlines and not leave my staff in the dark. For me, it was working regular, rigorous arduous hours at the hospital every single day. Again, I’m a single mom and now I have a little one. He’s 10. My mom’s here. My mom’s in a high-risk group because she’s elderly. We had no nanny, so we had to move in with my mom. Luckily that was good because he could stay with her and do the schooling when I was at work all the time.
Also I was engaged at the time, so I had to sacrifice that. I said “Okay, we have to be home here with my mom.” My mom is super old school, you can’t come over there and just chill. Be there. In my house, that’s my house I can do whatever I want. So that was challenging as well.
AllHipHop: What goals do you have for the platform?
Bianca Banks: I was thinking about that this morning. Everything that you’re asking me, I was thinking that. Sometimes you get into a little slump. “Should I be feeling like this?” I want to go on tour with it. I want to be able to go to different cities and interview people. I know because of Covid, I wasn’t really able to do that. I’m hoping we can launch even a small 8-city tour, where we go and we interview. We film and we can do the show live, that’s where I see myself going. The sky’s the limit. I don’t really have an area where “oh, we can do that or can’t do that. I want to take it as far as I can go.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about your time on Invite Only Cabo?
Bianca Banks: It’s crazy because I can’t believe it’s already been 4.5 years. People are still asking for this show. We’re discussing some things with the network now, but it was great. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Definitely now, I feel like I’d be more prepared to deal with that type of platform and that type of exposure. Then because you’re new to it, you’re like “okay what do we do now?” We didn’t have agents, we didn’t have management. Now, I’d be able to handle what comes with it and prosper from it a little bit better. But it was remarkable!
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for next?
Bianca Banks: I want to get into book writing. I want to write about my life because there’s so much of it that I don’t really talk about. My life and my story would be really encouraging to others that have faced the same challenges I have. It’s dope for women to know about other women’s stories. As women, we carry so much on our back.