Carmelo Anthony is turning his love for wine into a great conversation.
The NBA vet recently sat down with legendary rapper LL Cool J to chop it up about his career beginnings but also important subjects that are currently plaguing the country. For starters, the two stars spoke on the coopting of both cultures –music and sports– which has erased the pioneers who helped make both so profitable today.
The NBA does a great job of giving its greats its flowers, but the story is different when it comes to music.
“Our culture has a tendency to commoditize and marginalize members of our culture as we move forward. I think sports has done a great job of embracing the icons, like giving Kareem love, giving MJ love, and giving different guys love,” explains LL. “The NBA has done a good job of remembering that but for me with classic hip hop, for a long time a lot of people didn’t know that because you started then [the previous generation] doesn’t mean that you’re not modern and you’re not thinking about what’s going on, what’s new, what’s happening.”
Later on in the conversation, Anthony — who never went Hollywood– recognizes that despite all the fortune and fame, LL never changed up or forgot where he’s from.
“When I was a little kid watching the hustlers in the neighborhood, we know they weren’t necessarily doing the right thing, but in our neighborhoods, certain things happen, people feel they have to make choices. Let’s not have a social debate about it, it is what it is,” he said. “I’m not cut from a cloth where I can go Hollywood. It’s funny because at a certain age, people have only known me as a famous guy. There’s a certain age group that doesn’t know I ever had a normal life.”
The Portland Trailerblazer has also made his voice heard when it comes to social justice issues, which have been a hot topic in America since the killing of George Flloyd in March. Melo joined the protest that wanted justice for Freddie Gray’s death in 2015 and stood with his NBA brothers to bring awareness to police brutality in 2016. As recently as this summer, he clarified that while we do need police, he’s been a victim of racial profiling, and certain officers need to be held accountable for their wrongdoings. Alongside Chris Paul, he’s also been a huge help in the push to get NBA players registered to vote and out to the polls.
He asked LL Cool about his stance on racial tension right now, and he preached how important education is– and not just in school.
“We’re in a situation where it’s never been more important for our people to know who we are and understand our value, and to invest in ourselves, invest in education. And when I talk about education, I’m not just talking about what happens in the public schools or even the private schools. I’m talking about the dining room table at home. You can either be sitting there watching some nonsense [on TV] or you can be filling your mind with something else that’s going to sharpen your sword and make your future brighter.”
When it comes to voting, LL says that if senior citizens can stand outside for hours on end to cast their vote, no one should have excuses. Election day is November 3, but most states have already begun pushes for early voting like never before because of the coronavirus.