Carmelo Anthony’s Afro-Puerto Rican Lineage Matters, Too

NBA player Carmelo Anthony’s genealogy is often boiled down to black, not because that is the all-encompassing label, but because society is too lazy to recognize the intersectionality he embodies.

READ: Pa’lante: Carmelo Anthony’s Politics Are Rooted In The Young Lords

Anthony’s father, who reportedly died when he was two-years old, was Puerto Rican and his name was Carmelo Iriarte. As a member of the Young Lords, Iriarte fought for equality and social justice of his people. Anthony, like his father, has also made his voice heard about the injustices that face black and brown people, most recently when he stood in solidarity with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul for Black Lives Matter during the 2016 ESPY Awards.

As an Afro-Latino of Puerto Rican descent, Anthony’s stance on Black Lives Matter adds much needed dimension to the conversation about injustice against black/brown folk in this country. His presence/narrative elevates this from a “black and white” problem, and forces others to recognize people who carry intersectional burdens in their melanin.

READ Carmelo Anthony Gets Teary-Eyed After Winning Third Olympic Gold Medal

The Knicks player is not shy about putting on for his heritage, but when he is consistently put in a box, it likely stifles the potential of his power as a public figure.