Since when has skateboarding become a standard by which we judge black masculinity? Prior to Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams, you would not see skate culture—promotion of local skate shops, perfection of kick flips and ollies, etc.—in music videos. Back then, the culture had an explicit expression whether it was Mr. “Skateboard P” himself or Lupe’s “Kick, Push” video—featuring a series of images of Chicago’s skate spots.
Nowadays, excluding the life of Odd Future, skateboarding implies an authentic identity. Black clothing stores arrange their advertisements with a male model holding a skateboard; artists like Lil Wayne demonstrate their skating “skills” in the latest video. I’m fascinated by the function of these 4-wheeled decks as the expression of Black masculinity.
Skating connects an individual to the nature of the concrete jungle: it’s not just a method traveling across the urban landscape, but a technique of therapy. The ride to the skate park without a doubt brought us good in itself. However, there were days when the success of a “tre-flip” also provoked a clear mind about police brutality.
Maybe skating, as an additional process of letting daily emotions die down, was naturally incorporated into the resources of Black masculinity. I must admit that Tyga’s “Faded” video seems to have a commercial representation of the growing reality of Black skaters. Regardless of the probable liquidation of this lifestyle (by mainstream artists), Black skaters continue to increase their population in the streets. Perhaps you should engage them; you’ll be surprised by what you learn.