Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve witnessed some drastic changes in the conversation regarding policing and race in America. People have come out en masse to show their support for reforming and defunding the police, and many have asked how else we can help make further progress toward racial equality in our culture.
One of the major talking points has been to expand our efforts in supporting Black business ownership. Historically, Black Americans have been denied access to bank loans, leases on homes and retail spaces, and positions of power within business structures. If we truly hope to bring about equality in this country, we have to expand that access and foster the growth of these new endeavors. So how can we as skaters and consumers support Black skaters on their journey to become successful entrepreneurs in a global society that has shunned them for so long?
Our friend and contributor Patrick Kigongo worked hard to put together a list of Black-owned skate companies that you can support, conveniently compiled in this Google doc below. Odds are you’ll find a brand you’ve never heard of which can expand your horizons and tastes. Help support a Black-owned business today.
Patrick’s abbreviated foreword (originally appeared in Artless Industria):
“… The anti-police brutality protests that erupted across the United States in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has led to a spike in the demand to support all things Black. Millions of Americans are now sharing lists of Black restaurants and bookstores in cities across the nation. Being a Black skater, I wanted to chip in. When I realized that there wasn’t a list of Black-owned skate companies, shops, or organizations, I decided to create one.
I was floored by the range and diversity of the products these companies offer. Atlanta’s Big Black Biscuit boasts luxurious Afrocentric board graphics. New York’s Gang Corp and Public Housing Skateboard Team mix skate rat energy with Uptown iconography. Total Luxury Spa is wavy and deeply indebted to South LA’s rich Black history. And New Mexico’s Grandma skateboards are a garage operation that does everything in house, from cutting board shapes to hand-screened shirts.
Real talk, there’s something for everyone.
When I started street skating in 1994, I was the only Black kid in my crew in suburban New York. Sure, there were a decent number of sponsored Black skaters, but there were just a handful of Black-owned companies … Over the last decade, skating has diversified and globalized tremendously. Despite this progress, however, “The Industry” remains very white, very Californian, and it retains hegemonic control over the direction of skateboarding.
I believe that getting eyeballs on a list of Black-owned brands is a humble, yet necessary offering to building whatever lies ahead.
At the very least, I wanna get some of my brothers and sisters paid.”