SPEAKING OUT: Anthony Joshua
BOXING SUPERSTAR Anthony Joshua has called on the Black Lives Matter movement to to start taking more practical measures to help minorities instead of focusing solely online.
The 26-year-old suggested that activists would better uplift the black community by supporting black-owned business and school with monetary contributions.
Speaking at an event to launch Lucozade Sport’s Made to Move campaign in which he led 300 fans on a run around Hampstead Heath, the Olympic gold medalist told The Evening Standard: “Black Lives Matter seems to be a whole thing where people are chanting and protesting and I’m not really into that. Just tweeting or instagramming about cop killings. That’s not the angle I would take.
"If everyone on one of those marches donated £100 you could invest in black-owned schools and black-owned banks and do stuff for the poor.”
The heavyweight champion was also critical of what he perceived as a fractured movement, calling on more unity from all sides.
He said: “There’s a lot of black spokespeople, but they’re singing from different hymn sheets. It’s time for the leaders to come together and work out a strategy.”
The fighter, born to Nigerian parents, also spoke about his admiration for the late Muhammad Ali, highlighting his dual influence in both boxing and politics.
He said: “Ali was part of a civil rights movement and rallied thousands against the Vietnam War. There was so much more to him than a man with boxing gloves on.”
In spite of his admiration for the icon, the athlete said boxing’s influence on politics had “died along with him [Ali]” and shared that he prefers to remain on the sidelines.
“I’m a fighter so I don’t have time to indulge in politics,” he said.
Joshua’s comments come amidst criticism of Black Lives Matter UK who recently held a demonstration at London City Airport in a protest against “racist climate change”.
The stunt disrupted flights for more than six hours, but also raised eyebrows when the nine protesters arrested were discovered to be white and included an LSE graduate, a film producer and an organic farmer.
Writing in The Telegraph, Dr Tony Sewell, the CEO of the charity Generating Genius commented on the protest saying: “The more middle class style of direct action stunt is disconnected from the lives of black youth. Carbon emissions from City airport aren't on your mind when you need to navigate the postcodes of London.”
The protesters walked away with a £90 fine.
Joshua is set to defend his title in Manchester on November 26.