Portland Trail Blazers: Carmelo Anthony, T.I. talk social change

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 19: NBA player Carmelo Anthony attends the B/Real Premiere Event at Kimpton La Peer Hotel on October 19, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Bleacher Report)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 19: NBA player Carmelo Anthony attends the B/Real Premiere Event at Kimpton La Peer Hotel on October 19, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Bleacher Report) /
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On a recent episode of his YouTube show “What’s In Your Glass?”, Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony speaks with T.I. about the current state of the US

Portland Trail Blazers star Carmelo Anthony usually begins his show “What’s In Your Glass?” with a virtual toast of glasses and includes some discussion of wine among other topics.

In the most recent episode with rapper T.I., he did neither of those things. They immediately began discussing the current atmosphere of the United States due to the many protests around the country in response to George Floyd’s death.

Anthony said because of all the activism, the black community has the country’s attention. With the spotlight, he said it would be smart if African Americans began planning how they want to handle issues with which their community struggles such as poor education systems, high incarceration rates and poverty.

“How do we come out of this as a black community?” Anthony said. “What strategies are we putting together? What issues are we bringing to the forefront after this is over? What bills are we trying to get passed?”

The 10-time NBA All-Star said it’s important to get local officials elected because change is going to start “from the ground up”. He said nothing would happen if the black community tries to go “to the top”.

“If you don’t vote, you absolutely lose,” T.I. said. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

The Atlanta native added that everyone has the ability to affect change through buying power. If people united and decided not to support businesses or people, they could build or destroy any corporation or person he said.

Boycotting businesses has been successful. In 2018, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Hertz, and some other companies all said they would no longer offer discounts or special offers for National Rifle Association (NRA) members.

The companies faced boycotts after the NRA, a guns right advocacy group, supported teachers carrying guns and opposed student gun control activists following the Parkland High School shooting in Florida.

In 2012, multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson reformulated all of its baby products to remove a formaldehyde-releasing preservative after boycotts over the company’s use of harmful chemicals in its baby shampoo.

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Anthony acknowledged the importance of a collective, unified effort to make a difference. But said leaders like himself and T.I have to be careful with what they say and do because they are the influencers in their community.

“There’s a lot of steps that we have to take to make change and we have to start somewhere,” Anthony said.