SKATEBOARDING SHAMES VICTIMS

Empty Apologies, Empty Action, and the Defense of Toxic Masculinity.

July 2, 2020

The above post is from former WKND Skateboards pro Johan Stuckey. On June 30, the Instagram account @Emilylameland posted the entry below, accusing Stuckey of sexual assault as well as knowingly passing an STD to her. Stuckey and WKND had previously joked in a “roast” video about the incident.

This is really hard for me to post but i think now is as good of time as any to share what Johan Stuckey did to me. I’ve been so scared to post this out of fear of what people will think of me and the negative feedback I know i will receive but I’m finally ready. Im doing this to participate in the best way I can, and to try to help others who have gone through the same thing. After my positive test results came back I was in a very dark place. I tried to take my own life because of how ashamed and embarrassed i was. I’m okay now and the stigma around having herpes is worse than the actual virus. More than 1 in 6 people carry the virus, this doesn’t change the fact that it was given to me unknowingly. I don’t believe cancel culture is very effective. I just want this to open up a conversation in skateboarding about how skaters treat women. It is insane how sexism and rape culture is so prevalent within skate culture still... i will probably lose some friends from this but honestly whatever fuck you and dont forget black lives matter, abolish the police, believe victims, and free kids in cages.
June 30, 2020

This is really hard for me to post but i think now is as good of time as any to share what Johan Stuckey did to me. I’ve been so scared to post this out of fear of what people will think of me and the negative feedback I know i will receive but I’m finally ready. Im doing this to participate in the best way I can, and to try to help others who have gone through the same thing. After my positive test results came back I was in a very dark place. I tried to take my own life because of how ashamed and embarrassed i was. I’m okay now and the stigma around having herpes is worse than the actual virus. More than 1 in 6 people carry the virus, this doesn’t change the fact that it was given to me unknowingly. I don’t believe cancel culture is very effective. I just want this to open up a conversation in skateboarding about how skaters treat women. It is insane how sexism and rape culture is so prevalent within skate culture still... i will probably lose some friends from this but honestly whatever fuck you and dont forget black lives matter, abolish the police, believe victims, and free kids in cages.

Like Julz Lynn, who accused Neil Hendrix of sexual abuse via “sex lessons” in 2018, commenters and SLAP Board questioned each woman’s claim, making comments about their promiscuity, appearance, mental health, and other derogatory statements. Lynn was 14-years-old at the time of the alleged incident. The allegations against Hendrix have been documented by ESPN and several other mainstream outlets, as well as JENKEM detailing them in a 2018 entry. In 2019, Hendrix’s ban was lifted by SafeSport and many in the industry continued to maintain his innocence. On February 27, 2020, New Deal skateboards, who had been in full support of Hendrix, ended their relationship with him via an Instagram post.

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Having recently re-watched Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear (1991), many of the comments that followed on both Stuckey and Emilyland’s accounts echoed the bizarre and problematic premise of the movie itself:

Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) is a lawyer living in North Carolina with his wife Leigh (Jessica Lange) and teenage daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis). Max Cady (Robert De Niro), a former client whom Sam failed to defend properly, is released from prison after 14 years; Cady was tried for rape and battery of a young woman and, appalled by the attack, Sam buried evidence that might have lightened Cady's sentence or even secured his acquittal.

The evidence that Nolte’s character in Scorsese’s remake buried is that the victim was promiscuous and had the jury known this, it would have discredited her testimony. This is problematic since sexual history cannot be introduced in most rape cases, and Rape Sheild Laws were introduced in the 1970s/’80s in the United States, long before Cape Fear was filmed. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 created a federal rape shield law three years after the film.

It’s worth noting that Scorsese’s version vastly differed from J. Lee Thompson’s 1962 version:

In Southeast Georgia in 1962, after spending eight years in prison for rapeMax Cady is released. He promptly tracks down Sam Bowden, a lawyer whom he holds personally responsible for his conviction because Sam interrupted his attack and testified against him.

Thompson’s version casts Bowden as good and Cady as evil but in Scorsese’s take, it’s murkier, with Cady being an antihero and Bowden being a crooked lawyer who cheats on his wife and is violent to her and their teenage daughter.

The point of this breakdown is simple: The flawed logic of a 1991 major motion picture is still being employed in society and in our world, skateboarding with many subscribing to the belief that accusations are merely a “digital cry for attention,” completely ignoring the severity and difficulty involved in coming forward.

The below comments are from Stuckey’s “apology” post.

Cassiwolf Dust yourself off and keep moving forward my dude. Life will go on, evolve with time, don’t stay a caveman. I really respect this post and I’m always rooting for the guy that had everything, lost everything, and then came back 10 times stronger. This is what makes life worth it, although the times are tough you are not a piece of shit, keep your head up, look forward, keep walking, evolve. Sending love your way man ❤

Drip.skywalker It’s all good you showed nothin but love and respect when I met you I’m still a fan keep skatin fam don’t let this shit bring you down 💯

Fiftyeightdollars Bro are they tryna cancel my favorite skater

Cupmanwun Its not an easy topic to touch on. Mistakes are apart of life and shit happens. People that are commenting negative things on this post is not perfect such as myself. You just learn to live with the pain and go on with your life. Don’t beat yourself over it. You’re doing the right thing.

Stay up, Stay Alive.

PS. WKND sucks anyways. ❤️

Old_gregggggg We are only human. We all make mistakes. Learn from them and keep going forward. I’m always going to be a fan of your skating. Good luck with everything!

Andrewferguson__ MUCH LOVE YOUR THE BEST!! ONLY THING TO DO IS MOVE FORWARD AND BETTER YOURSELF!!🖤🖤

Kreevessuperman 💯 First part is realizing the problem. Taking big and small steps. Wishn the best for you! We’re all in this together 🖤⚡️👊🏾⚡️

Weast__coast This is a huge step dude. Acknowledging your actions and admitting that apology it’s not enough is a good start. I got faith in people with that mindset and hope you commit to this lifestyle you proposed. Stay happy and stay learning.

__di69ler What about the girl that gave him herpes? 🤔 are we gonna slide in her dms and give her shit too? The comments man!!! 😂

Shlaaamin Why’s no one angry at the person who gave johan da erp

Itsbeenarealone Dammit why they gotta cancel my favorite skater, even skating getting soft now. That’s fucked up what you did but that’s personal shit, shouldn’t have to announce it to the world. I can’t take this woke society anymore, we all got demons none of y’all perfect. 2020 makes me sick

Something_tropical_atriverside Herpes isn't easy to talk about brother, I get where you're coming from because I'm in the same boat. But you're doing great and we love you for it. Keep pushing ❤

A_genoe Fuck dude. Just let the guy skate. Fuck 2020

Sammylevy things happen❤️

Like many of Stuckey’s followers and friends, the comment from OldDirtyBoosh is not only ridiculous but emblematic of exactly what Stuckey wanted to achieve from his post. Stuckey was caught and made a statement. This wasn’t his conscious speaking. Stuckey was caught and even in his apology, it’s transparent that he lacked empathy. In an episode of Skatetalk Live, which Boosh is a co-host, Stuckey used racial slurs several times and made light of other sexual encounters.

The episode has since been taken down.

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On July 2, 2020, WKND Skateboards severed their relationship with Stuckey in a lengthy post, mentioning that they also were removing a video of him making offensive remarks:

We’ve taken down the roast of Johan video as it contained jokes centered around behavior we do not support, and especially now that new context has been brought to our attention. These jokes were hurtful and insensitive to the Victims. We take responsibility and apologize for giving this a platform.

As Stuckey stated in his initial apology, he is now “taking time to better educator himself of what is inappropriate to say… and why these things are hurtful.”

So both WKND and Stuckey have been unaware in recent years that the N-Word is offensive, rape jokes are offensive, and knowingly spreading sexually transmitting diseases is not only physically harmful but also wildly amoral.

If we are to believe these are earnest apologies then skateboarding has a massive education and sensitively problem. This is partially true as most people in the skateboarding industry lack college degrees and or high school degrees. There is no training in the skate industry which is predominantly run by white CIS males. Skate media also mirrors this and lacks culpability—they delete rather than printing retractions. The closest there is to standard driven organizations is USA Skateboarding—the US governing body who presides over the Olympic teams. There is little visibility or responsibility, therefore as serious issues arise we are offered apologies from brands or pros are given media platforms to curate their statements such as Jason Jessee on the Nine Club.

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Because every issue in society, not just skateboarding, becomes political instantly and there is an overarching lack of and resistance to organization, there’s no clear answer other than a push to advocacy and allyship. As individuals, the cliché “vote with your dollar” is paramount to those who wish to foster a more positive environment. Everyone, specifically the men in skateboarding can learn to believe victims in the same way they cling to “innocent until proven guilty.”

Adopt the same standards as you would of George Floyd. If you believe that his prior life has no bearing on how the police mishandled his arrest that led to his murder, you should have no problem believing an accusation and supporting the victim rather than offering support for a skateboarder because you like their video parts.

This is bullshit. This is celebrity. This is Kobe shit. This is “he was always cool to me” shit. This is “where is the evidence?'“ shit.

It’s regressive, it’s harmful, it’s toxic, and because there’s no blanket solution skateboarding and skateboarders as a whole need to be more aware of signals that things aren’t right.

The perpetual children that run skateboarding aren’t presenting solutions and will only offer reactive apologies to guard their brands. We can’t change that but we can increase our awareness and sensitivity. Fuck, the SLAP Boards could start by moderating comments, banning certain language through filters or just realizing that it’s too difficult to maintain a space where serious allegations can turn into rape jokes and political dissertations that completely ignore the severity and humanity of the issues in this thing we call skateboarding.

Here’s a thought.

Since we’re all at different levels of quarantine and staying at home, perhaps a massive industry video chat moderated by the organizations and advocates in skating who don’t have a voice is the first step in productive dialog and progress. Maybe?

Brands don’t have to be woke but they should care about laws and the social contracts we adhere to including an intolerance to hate speech, victim shaming, and other violations that would get most civilians fired from their jobs.

Yes, this is an alternate reality but it doesn’t have to be gross one so while we’re waiting for the next fake apology or backpedaling—if you truly care—start thinking about who you follow, support, and endorse and what you tolerate without speaking out. Work to rewire the backward thinking that was built into your experience and if you believe in the “shut up and skate” mantra, dig into the “shut up” part and just listen.

Listen.

DISSECTING THE FIRST EAST COAST VIDEO PART

Celebrating Mike Vallely's 50th With Light Content.

This week is a pivot. I’m currently working on several pieces that are wired to the perpetual unrest in our nation and it’s heavy… in a good way. We—especially those who are of privilege—should never feel comfortable or complete. Sure, we need to drink nutcrackers at the beach and chill out or whatever but I’m not talking about the benefits of unplugging. I’m old and hit a point where I don’t like separating work life and personal life. Work is personal and political. It doesn’t matter what the profession is or practice. Even as I’m trying to float something light for this entry, my brain can’t help but feel the weight of… fucking everything. 

But let’s try.

Start by forgetting everything you know about Michael Vallely. Everything. Clean slate. 

On June 29, 1970, Mike Valley was born in Edison, New Jersey. Thomas Edison was born there obviously, along with Brittany Murphy, Jim Norton, a NASA astronaut, a bunch of sports figures, and the guy who designed the MLB logo. So happy 50 years of living to Mike V and thank you for co-creating the first true East Coast skateboarding video part to exist. In 1989, Vision Sports released Mondo Vision featuring a full part of Mark Gonzales skating through New York City. It was likely filmed in 1988. He does a switch ollie on a brick bank that I believe is near Bellvue Hospital in Kips Bay. That same year, Gonz left Vision to start bLind with Rocco and that brand still exists. 

Watch it.

Now watch Mike Valley’s part in Public Domain (1988) or if you rather view the uncut version he uploaded for 25+ minutes

From the video’s description: 

In June of 1988, Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk arrived at Wildberry Court in Edison, NJ to film me for Bones Brigade Video Four: Public Domain. They carried with them the very first samples of my first ever Pro-Model skateboard, which I would be seeing, holding in my hands and riding for the first time. For the next 2.5 days we would film in New Jersey, New York and Washington DC. This footage is basically a long-form version of my part in Public Domain, gently edited down by Mark Nisbet. Not all of the footage is here, there’s a few missing clips / spots but for the most part this is the raw footage that made up Public Domain. Enjoy!

Gonzales named said part as one of his favorite street parts ever in a Thrasher Magazine “Classics” video above, mentioning that it has a “lot of energy” as it does but the significance of the part is much greater than vibe, it’s historical. Vallely starts the part by running out of his home after saying, “Oh? So you wanna go skating,” and executing a caveman down the handrail of his parents’ home. He then jams around the streets of Edison and later New York City, sometimes wearing a single glove. He does wallrides, no complys, kickflips, skates ledges, benches, and stuff, ollies into Washington, D.C., and eventually lands at the Brooklyn Banks before skating some other shit.

Is it the first East Coast single part by a skater born on the East Coast? Probably but it was the most visible and its existence turned Mike Valley into Mike Vallely. Part of the allure was that like Lance Mountain before him, Vallely made skating the mundane look exciting, inspiring groms around the US to view the crap around them differently. Sure, you might not have access to a public square with banked walls and an accidental funbox but that was the point—use what’s around you and maybe do that in some Airwalk Prototypes. 

And then World Industries, the Barnyard board, veganism, leaving World, losing an entire part, filming another in a few days, ten trillion sponsors, actually doing all the tech tricks of the 90s that no one really remembers, New Deal, fights, hockey, another four thousand sponsors, not being vegan, more fights, more brands, documentaries, Battle at the Berrics, a shocking Battle Commander where he pulls a huge tre flip out of his ass, bands, Black Flag, a ton of shit I’m forgetting and Street Plant, being plant-based, and running the said brand for five years with his family. 

Maybe history isn’t important in skateboarding and filming the first East Coast part is trivial but like visiting the place your family is from, there’s something intrinsically profound about viewing skateboarding in context. At best it sparks an idea. At worst you go, “No shit!” and continue with life.

Now continue with life.  

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A MU$KA POST

(HINT) It's Kareem Campbell and He's a F*cking Legend.

@themuska bruh I am so honored and humble by your gesture and gratitude. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️. My HOF moment will surely come and if not I already feel it because of the love and respect you have always shown. All politics to the side, you deserve this HOF induction and I proudly stand with you always and forever my brother. You are what skateboarding is and the true meaning of a skateboarder and friend. Much love and i am with you to the moon and back. Your friend, family and supporter you are amazing... Reemo
#themuskahof (you deserve this)

@themuska
@kareemcampbelldotcom
@transworldskate
@berrics
@citystarsskateboards
June 25, 2020

If you’ve followed Chad Muska’s career you watched a ride that few other than 1970s/1980s rock stars have blazed harder. In the mid'-90s Muska went from “some dude on Maple” to The Hosoi of street skating, before becoming a socialite, record producer, and now, fine artist with a concentration in sculpture.

Yes, it’s fucking wild and we didn’t even mention hanging out with the Hiltons, a shameful arrest or him thanking a tree during his Epicly Later’d episode on VICELAND. Muska definitely blew it in the Summer of 2011 by dropping racial slurs while being arrested for graffiti in Los Angeles but like a much less racist W. Axl Rose, he appears to have taken that error seriously, emerging as a positive human being less enamored with the material world than his former incarnation.

While it might sound corny, Muska 4.0 is just as magnetic as a sober, vegan thing maker because he’s projecting himself rather than following celebrity tropes and bro posturing. The best example is his artwork, which has evolved from graffiti on canvas/street art to conceptual cement work—a subtle throwback to his early shitwork side hustle as a cement worker.

As he said on his Instagram account on May 3:

Mistakes are only mistakes until they become lessons, we must learn.

We don’t really know what he’s learned but we do see a serious evolution in his creative work.

Untitled Street Art (2009) Photo by Hank O’Neal (Left)

Mass (2018) - Chad Muska

Muska’s been quiet on his social channels but his most recent post and story was loud. The Skateboarding Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class which included Muska as well as John “Tex” Gibson, Bob Biniak, Chris Strople, Deanna Calkins, Dennis Martinez, Ed Nadalin, George Orto, Jerry Valdez, John Freis, Marty Grimes, Doug “Pineapple” Saladino, Ray Barbee, Rick Blackhart, Teri Lawrence, Waldo Autry, Hobie Alter, and Paul Schmitt. Both Grimes—the first Black professional skater, in tandem with his brother Clyde—and Barbee’s inclusions noteworthy as since in the Hall’s inception in 2009, they become the first Black skaters inducted. Barbee has previously performed at induction ceremonies but had yet to be nominated or named to the Hall.

Roughly four hours prior to me typing this out, Muska decided to rescind his spot in the SHoF, offering it to Kareem Campbell and captioning a post:

With great thought I would like to announce that I am respectfully declining my induction into the Skateboarding Hall Of Fame this year.
-
I believe there is a global awakening taking place and I find it only right to also respectfully suggest that you allow Kareem Campbell ( @kareemcampbelldotcom ) to take my place.
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I know Kareem would of made it in the Hall Of Fame without this suggestion, but I truly believe that now is the time to show the world the racial boundaries that Skateboarding, especially “Street Skateboarding” breaks.
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I have traveled this world my entire life connecting with the most beautiful yet insanely diverse group of humans called skateboarders, our industry needs to celebrate and better represent this diversity in our institutions, business and media.
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In no way is this an attack on The Skateboarding Hall Of Fame or any other media outlet, it’s just something I truly believe will be positive for the image of skateboarding and this world.
-
Kareem Campbell was such an influence and mentor to me, although I am not black, Hip Hop culture has always been a major part of my life, Kareem was one of the first skaters that felt like he was one of my friends and not some untouchable pro, but he just happened to be the best skater in the world!
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The music he put in his videos, the team of skaters he formed, the shoes he designed and the company’s he built were the blue print for everything I went on to do.
-
It is only right that Kareem is inducted before me.

Kareem quickly thanked Muska before declining the offer and adding that, “My HOF moment will surely come and if not I already feel it because of the love and respect you have always shown” and saying many nice things about him. This is exactly what Kareem Campbell would do because he’s proven that his career and imprint will always be driven by Kareem Fucking Campbell.

Kareem Campbell is an innovator in street skating as well as an entrepreneur in a white-dominated industry. He became one of the most high profile street pros, started his own hardgoods and shoe companies, and blessed us with a flawless career, plus Reem will occasionally snap the greater 360 flips whenever he feels like it.

Kareem should be in the Hall of Fame and to anyone aware of his output, he already is.

aint nuthin changed but the weather
@kareemcampbelldotcom
January 17, 2020

Now we could turn this piece negative or a critical takedown, citing Muska’s gesture as performative or worse, an example of white privilege but the biggest problem with that angle is that it takes the spotlight off Kareem, his significance to skateboarding, and how important Black culture and contributions have been to it.

Nope.

Last year I interviewed Kareem’s former teammate, Lee Smith for Skateism , discussing race in skateboarding at length.

Here’s a relevant bit:

Why do you think Stevie (Williams) became such a name and figure and someone such as Ray Barbee, who was so groundbreaking and influential never even got a shoe model?

Because he’s the nice dude and like Stevie is the hood guy. Americans love the rags to riches story. I mean that cause that’s a symbol of the American dream. But also if it’s like from the hood to like to Beverly Hills or whatever, people fucking love that. That’s a great marketing tool and a great selling point. It’s spicy.

It works over and over. People loved Chad Muska because he’s the white trash hero turned socialite and now artist.

Exactly. Another thing about Stevie is that he was one of the first black skaters to step outside of skateboarding and then market himself to a whole other hip-hop/celebrity world and say, ‘Hey look, I’m part of you guys. I’m on this level playing field but I make money from skateboarding.’ And then all those people in those and that in those scenes are like, ‘Oh, he’s this black Tony Hawk!’ then people from outside of skateboarding, this core skateboarding scene, the black community, and the celebrity community started gravitating towards his story.

That could have easily been Kareem Campbell, who not only was pushing street skating but one of the first black skaters to actually own his own companies but again, that didn’t happen either.

I think that with Kareem the thing was—as somebody who was kind of close to him and rode for his team—was that he might of bit off more than he could chew by taking these two brands (Axion / City Stars) that he had and trying to be the face of them and doing it all on his own on the business side. Stevie essentially started DGK but like at the end of the day, Troy Morgan is the one that’s doing most of the business.

Maybe it wasn’t the best decision to take Menace out of World Industries when he felt that Steve Rocco was making all this money off Axion and Menace that he could split off and do it himself—he could make that money. But he was really just a 24-year-old kid who didn’t have the time to run two companies and be a top pro skater in the game and enjoy life at the same time. I believed in him because… he’s like my hero.

Sure, City Stars wasn’t Menace but it was Kareem’s and also, a launching pad for P-Rod and others. What it also proves is how difficult it’s been historically for Black skaters to have ownership in the skateboarding industry, even when they’re driving culture. *This is the focus of a future piece… a heavy one. Just a heads up.

So we’re here and I assume the Skateboarding Hall of Fame will add Kareem in 2021 or possibly tomorrow via Instagram and that’s another milestone he deserves but if your view of him was formed by video games, the ghetto bird, or late-career Kareem Campbell, I’d like to direct you towards his part in World Industries New World Order (1993).

Kareem ollies a kid, does one of the best front 360s ever, wears a leather hat, reps the Venture “Awake” long sleeve, and flicks every trick in his part with funk. OK, it sucks that World spelled his name incorrectly but skateboarding is known for epic typos but he gets first part and makes skating to Onyx look incredibly smooth not aggro.

For context before you view or rewatch this classic part—most likely filmed in 1992 and early 1993—skateboarding was eeking its way out of the Gross Era®; a time where speed and power gave way to slothy, drunken flips that often looked like a bug’s frantic twitches post-Raid bath. Clothes were ill-fitting and garish but slowly slimmed and toned down by 1993. Like Gino Iannucci in 101 Snuff (1993), Kareem’s footage stood out by being crispy and stylish. Like Iannucci, there’s a wildness to their precision.

After viewing Tyshawn Jones’ part in Supreme Blessed (2018) it felt connected to Kareem’s part in NWO, regardless of whether or not it was an inspiration to the 2018 SoTY. Along with the durags and swag, it was that perfectly wild attack that called back to Kareem. It looked like how he would have skated New York City—where he was originally from—in 2018-ish and why people will watch TJ’s part in 27 years and recognize that it also stood out.

Awards are objects, influence is eternal. (Some Stoner c.now)

Here is Kareem Campbell in New World Order via the incredible worldblind101 YouTube channel.

WHY LEGACY BRANDS ARE BLOWING IT

The Youth Are Restless and Olds Aren't Listening

In 1989—a year before running an advertisement lambasting small companies and setting off a war with World Industries—Powell Peralta ran this ad, seemingly taking a shot at the Alva Posse.

With Mike Vallely as their premier street pro, PP’s ad was misguided—they were punching down. Alva was a successful company but not a threat to Powell and trying to bash the “bad boy” image did nothing other than making them look like fucking nerds. Powell then fired shots at World Industries via a second ad and oh boy, that didn’t work out.

See below.

Shortly after this ad ran, bLind Skateboards ran the infamous “Dear George” ad, effectively turning Powell Peralta into the Steve Buschemi meme the moment it hit the racks. It’s also worth noting that everyone who appeared in the “small companies are cut” ad ended up riding or forming… small companies. Funny enough, Tony Hawk’s Birdhouse, and bLind are standing in 2020, as well as Powell Peralta.

Yes, bLind has lasted that long without Mark Gonzales and no one is really sure how that’s a thing. (that being said, Kevin Romar is sick)

Had to send one to flat real quick 📨! #Nollie360
📸 @cameronspitzer_
#BackToStayingHome
March 20, 2020

So while I don’t really have much insight or desire to analyze why a post-Reaper bLind still thrives, Birdhouse, and Powell Peralta’s presence is much easier to quantify.

Birdhouse (Projects) never tried to be cool and by eschewing any attempts to be edgy they eventually found their place, mostly with bright cartoonish graphics and excellent skateboarding. Much like Toy Machine, they leveraged the shitty charm of ‘90s computer graphics and raw edits in their videos, putting out a string of short VHS cassettes before releasing The End (1998) and going back to the big-budget cinematic presentation of Powell’s Stacy Peralta directed projects.

What’s glossed over is that post-Stacy Powell actually put out some solid videos with Celebrity Tropical Fish (1991) being a highlight for the late Pat Brennan’s footage alone. If you’re not familiar, Brennan’s skating was the equivalent of a stoic Brian Lotti.

Powell’s proprietary wheel formula and Swiss Bearings were enough to keep them moving and while they never fully returned to the hard goods brand they were in the ‘80s, by embracing their heritage and not trying to be anything but the company with really cool skulls who also makes the best bearings in the history of skateboarding, they will be a part of the story until they decide they aren’t.

So what’s the learning here?

Brands need to be what they are.

When World ceased to be what they were, they faded.

Zoo? Same story.

Santa Cruz fumbled at being a cutting edge street brand but as soon as they went back to their classic aesthetic, they found their footing.

Could you imagine Fucking Awesome trying to pivot to anything but being FA? Or Palace suddenly sponsoring ATV’s with mesh hats and hiked up socks? Yeah. No.

This is why “Legacy Brands” don’t know what in the fuck is going on right now.

These are companies owned by people who didn’t grow up during unrest, who felt doughy during the Clinton administration, so much so that when the George W. Bush regime enacted war for imaginary reasons, no one did shit other than march around a few times. And, after eight years of that bullshit, they/we all felt OK again because the first Black President was elected and everything was copacetic until it wasn’t.

And here we are.

When you look at how Fucking Awesome, Quasi, Palace, and Frog or have responded to the moment versus legacy brands, the divide is huge. The legacy brands are holding on, while new brands are operating without guardrails.

The legacy brands are posting apologies while the young brands are putting out calls to action.

It’s that simple. Silence does make you complicit.

The younger brands don’t censor or spend weeks penning a response because they realize that time is a construct and being activated has more value.

Fuck a spreadsheet or meeting, if you have to think about how to respond to the slaughter of innocent Black people, then you already wrote your response.

THE END.

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