Cannabis brand ambassador is a prestigioius moniker for a CelebStoner. Rapper T.I. is the latest to ascend to that coveted title. On December 28, Viola Extracts announced T.I. (nee Clifford Harris) was their new "Social Justice and Reform Ambassador."
Al Harrington, CEO and founder of Viola, stated:
“As we continue to increase our social imprint within the cannabis industry, I am honored to welcome my brother T.I. into the Viola family. His work helping communities of color over the years directly aligns with Viola’s core values as we look to meet the needs of underserved communities by fostering new opportunities for people that look like us.”
Viola sells flower, concentrates and prerolls in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada and Oregon.
It's a meeting of celebrities from the sports and music worlds. Harrington played in the NBA from 1998-2014 for eight teams, averaging 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as 6-foot-9 poward forward. Inspired by his grandmother Viola, Harrington founded the company in 2011. According to the website, "Our focus is to empower minority ownership by creating a coalition of minority investors who own and operate Viola." The company is helping guide applicants navigate Los Angeles' social-equity program via its Viola Cares intitiative.
“I have the utmost respect for Al and all the work he's done with Viola to increase minority representation in cannabis and help Black and brown communities who have fallen victim to the War on Drugs. Together we will expand social justice reform by providing tangible resources for disenfranchised communities and opportunities to build economic autonomy within the cannabis industry.”
Viola Cares is teaming up with T.I.'s social-justice non-profit Us or Else, which has helped to rejuvenate Center Hill, the section in Atlanta where T.I. grew up.
A hugely successful recording artist, T.I. has scored eight Top 10 singles, including several No. 1s ("Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life," both in 2008), and released 11 albums from 2001-2020. He's earned three Grammy Awards and has been nominated 19 times.
T.I. has a long rap sheet of gun and drug charges and has spent significant time in jail. In 2010, he and his wife Tameka Cottle were busted for possessing Ecstasy. Since it was a parole violation, T.I. was remanded to prison for 11 more months.