Skateboards and Black expression

Black_skaters__wright_nytimes

God bless the New York Times.  The paper of record for the country has provided further evidence of the cultural shift taking place.  Another indication of the change in sensibilities among African Americans.  Back in May, I made note of Black skaters, but Sunday’s Style section piece takes a deeper look at the reasons why skateboarding–skating–is moving out of the ‘burbs and into the cities.

For example:

Over the last two decades, the sport shifted away from ramp-based vert skating to street skating, a variation that made use of urban structures like stairways, curbs and railings. As the importance of access to ramps dwindled, skateboarding’s fan base grew increasingly diverse.

And this is worth noting:

As the stigma against skateboarding in the black community has dissipated, hip-hop artists have become some of the sport’s most influential advocates. Instead of being called a “white boy,” black skaters are now compared to rap artists. “If you hang around your African-American friends that don’t skate, you’re going to get the nickname ‘Skateboard P’,” said Iusu Beckle, 18, another Brooklyn native who skates at the museum.

The original “Skateboard P” is Pharrell Williams, the rapper and producer.

As a group ventures into new areas, the very act of doing so shakes loose old orthodoxies.

Read the full article here.

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  • http://www.annansi.com/blog g. kofi annan

    Good insight. I’ve been noticing the same thing out here in Jersey, and was wondering about the basis. It allows kids growing up in the hip-hop generation an alternative image to subscribe to.

  • http://theamericanrace.typepad.com/tar/2007/11/black-is-not-on.html The American Race

    Black Is Not One Race…. duhhhhh

    Sorry, but I’m compelled to get a quick hit in on the story I’ve been waiting for the tweezers of journalism and sociology to finally grasp: Black is not a race. Specifically, we have been wrong to maintain the idea

  • http://www.htdstudio.net Howard Duffy

    I think when I was a kid, back in the late 70′s/early 80′s there were alot more of us skating. I remember when Tony Hawk was a 17 year-old kid with his own house and a new Subaru (how cool was that?!) But I also remember there were some Brothers on the Pro set that I looked up to, most notably Steve Steadham (Google/Wiki him) that paved the way. As rampant drug use and gang activity (on its way back?) became less of a defaulted choice in the mid/late 90′s we found that skating fit nicely with our backpacks, Mountain Dew and Pharcyde CD’s. Those were the days…

  • http://www.MemberSpeed.com/blog/ jen_chan, writer MemberSpeed.com

    Honestly, I don’t see why a sport should be limited to certain people only. Neither race nor color should define talent and interest. But hey, this isn’t a perfect world and there are so many complexities that come with life. If only more people would just learn to let go and share the love. At least, change does seem to spring up.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ssmmkk1 e cigarette

    This reminds me of this time when I was 15 and skateboarding. I tried to do a trick of a picnic table, the board went straight down and I landed on top of it. Let me tell you this was the worst bruise I have ever had in my entire life. LOL