When I first starting skating (as in skateboarding) I was hella' young. I believe I was 8 or 9 years of age. At first I thought skating was a white boy sport because all I saw were white boys doing it (skating). The funny thing is...I hung around a lot of these white boys and they were cool to kick it with.
One day I found out one of my best friends (Kevin Henderson-a black kid) started skating and that opened me up! In fact, Kevin was the first black kid I saw skating (ever). It blew my mind! I guess I was probably thinking to myself, "Wait a minute here, Kevin is black and he shouldn't be out there skating." It was almost as if I thought black people were not capable or worthy of skateboarding. I really don't know what was going through my lame adolescent brain but whatever it was I got over it and started skating about a month later!
Skating was/is one of the best things that ever happened to me growing up! Why? Because it kept me out of trouble and away from the ignorant cats that were starting to get into gang violence. Instead of pretending like I was hard or claiming a set, I decided to skate and learn how to do kick flips, ollie down stairs, and catch method and Christ air's off of fly ramps! The more I skated the more diverse the people around me began to be. I was skating and hanging with all kinds of people. White, Asian, and Hispanic kids were all getting into the sport and I learned a lot culturally from each kid I was hanging with. Skateboarding made me a more diverse individual and opened me up to new experiences. Race wasn't and still isn't an issue for me.
Enter Germany (before the Berlin wall came down). I was there when all this transpired! I moved there in 89' and attended Baumholder American Highschool. When I first touched down on campus I was either liked or dis-liked and that was mainly because I was a skater! Most of the hate came from the "black dudes" who were mainly from the east coast and the south. To them I was just a scrawny little black dude contributing to the "white boy" culture. After all, black people don't skateboard. Right? The funny thing about all of this is that I was embraced by the white boys and girls across the board. The black girls embraced ya' boy as well! Overall, I was "winning" but I still felt like the odd man out. I didn't want to be the odd man out at the point. I wanted to fit in and be down with the "in" crowd. Now-a-days I don't want to fit in at all. I do my best to stand out!
Two years pass and I decided to cut back on skating for a lot of reasons but the main ones are: (1) My parents kept telling me skateboarding would never make me any money and that it would die out eventually. Basically I had no future if I decided to skateboard. My parents didn't have any vision. They didn't know what was to come for the sport of skateboarding. (2) I wanted to chase girls and make music (especially hip hop). Hip hop started to take over as my hobby and by the time I graduated high school I wasn't skating at all. I was knee deep into dancing (yes dancing), writing rhymes, and making hip hop music. Hip hop took over my thoughts and all I wanted to do was be a part of the culture. It was a wonderful time because hip hop was still fresh and we had artists like A Tribe Called Quest, NWA, Public Enemy, DJ Quik, De La Soul, and many others. The game was balanced and diverse.
In retrospect, I wish I would have never stopped skating. Years have passed and now I see tons of blacks kids skateboarding and a lot of these kids (not matter the race) are making good money as skaters! We have the X-Games and all the specialty programs on ESPN dedicated to the sport of skateboarding. Who knows, if I would have stuck with skating I might have been one of the elite skateboarders. I feel I had the talent and the motivation to be one of the best. The only thing stopping me was the much needed support and myself. I blame myself more than anything.
Now that I'm a grown ass man, I decided to get back into the sport I once was so passionate about and kind of start over. I don't skateboard everyday like I use to but every now and then I pull out my board and make a video of myself ollieing over a water cooler just to let myself know I still got it! Yeah, I still got it! Kick flips and all.
To Lil' Wayne and Pharrell: Stop posing like you're skaters to sell a record. We skater's (old and present) know a fake when we see one. As a matter of fact, I challenge both of you bama's to a skate competition! Now how petty is that?!