(Photo: Brandon Thomas Brown)
Carmelo Anthony recently left the NBA bubble in Orlando, concluding a season that was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and has continued well past its traditional June end date. Well, Melo was very busy in and out of the bubble working on his "A Black Future" 3-D Fashion Show.
The NBA All-Star teamed up with seven Black Designers to create a StayMe7o Propel Program, an initiative focused on showcasing Black creative expression. The program reimagines the cultural landscape and creative spaces where diversity has been underserved, starting within the fashion industry. This unique platform will focus on the movement for Black independence, freedom of expression, and how Black creativity always has, and continues to, move and change the world around us. This initiative champions not just emerging fashion talent but honors a vision of Black excellence that inspires a culture to create and move further, together.
The 3-D fashion show debuted virtually during New York Fashion Week where BET caught up with Carmelo to discuss this initiative. Read the entire interview below!
Watch the show here.
BET: Why name this initiative “A Black Future”? What are you hoping “a Black future” looks like?
Camelo Anthony: I really wanted the designers in PROPEL’s inaugural class to come together and design our shared visions for ‘A Black Future’. We asked the designers to consider what the future looks like for the Black community. From a creative standpoint, what does the world look like for us 5 years from now? As Black people we deal with so much trauma on a daily basis so my goal was to amplify the voices that have been marginalized and underrepresented for far too long, especially in the fashion industry. We need to create the space and allow these designers to address their own message and carve the future they, themselves, plan to progress.
No one is free until we are all fully free. We have to keep the conversations going, and keep expressing ourselves. Each piece in the collection delivers its own unique message, and we’re going to keep pushing these conversations, and ultimately culture, forward.
BET: How does this capsule differ from your last StayMe7o collection?
Carmelo Anthony: This collection and the launch of the PROPEL program is special for so many reasons. The Black community has been dealing with discrimination and systemic oppression for too long, and this unique platform will focus on the movement for Black independence, freedom of expression and how Black creativity always has, and continues to, move and change the world around us. This initiative champions not just emerging fashion talent but honors a vision of Black excellence that inspires a culture to create and move further, together.
BET: How do side projects like this one help or hinder your athletic career?
Carmelo Anthony: Championing what I care about is part of who I am, and right now it's more important than ever to recognize the power of our voices, and the reach we have as athletes. The time is now to make a change. This is not just a moment, it’s a movement. We need to embrace that change and use our creativity, our scale, our influence, and our voices to keep moving the Black community forward. I am grateful to have the opportunity to build a platform to help the Black creative community now and in future generations, because that’s ultimately who we’re fighting for.
BET: Was it difficult to work on this while living and working in the bubble?
Carmelo Anthony: It was definitely a unique experience, but given the pandemic we had to adapt to collaborating remotely and still figure out how to connect creatively and honor our shared vision. I have such an amazing team behind STAYME7O who was able to help me bring this vision to life over the past few months. We had a lot of meaningful conversations with the designers about not just the collection, but about life, and all that we’re continuing to deal with in our communities.
BET: How do you make activism for the community a part of your public and private life?
Carmelo Anthony: Supporting my community has always been first and foremost with me. I founded the Carmelo Anthony Foundation over 15 years ago to focus on community impact, and Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and I teamed up earlier this year to launch the Social Change Fund to invest in and support organizations working to champion criminal justice reform, enact policy solutions, and advocate for the human rights of all Black lives now and for generations to come. The PROPEL Program is an extension of my overall mission in championing the Black creative community and a vision of Black excellence. It’s who we are, and it’s what we have inside of us. The time is now and we have a voice and platform, and I’m going to continue bringing people along with me.
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