June 1, 2020/ / VIDEOS/ Comments: 49

The world is grieving the loss of yet another innocent black man killed by the cops, as protestors take to the streets across the country in memory of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd, like so many others we can’t even name, did nothing to deserve his extrajudicial treatment by Chauvin and his gang of officers, who all initially faced no consequences for their clear breach of protocol. That’s American racism in action, brutal and fatal.

But racism shows up in more insidious ways as well. Take, for instance, a ridiculous display of racial privilege and profiling that happened in New York a few days before Floyd’s murder, when a white woman, Amy Cooper, called the cops on a black man, Christian Cooper, for innocently bird watching in Central Park. In the video that Christian filmed, it appears that Amy knows she’s weaponizing the same forces that killed Eric Garner in 2014, in the same place that five innocent black boys were wrongly arrested back in 1989 no less–she emphasizes “African-American” as if it were a crime.

The United States has a police problem, and the United States has a race problem, and those are an especially potent poison if you’re skin is dark. Skateboarding, as a product of America, also has a race problem, even if it’s something a lot of us would rather not hear or talk about.

Na-kel Smith doesn’t care whether you want to hear it or not. He’s black, and has to face daily discrimination of all types, even from within our beloved skate industry. He recently shared an off-the-cuff conversation he had with friends that touches on some of the shit they’ve gone through being black skaters: from being called slurs by teammates to being asked to perform racially insensitive requests from sponsors.

Throughout the 35-minute video, you can tell it’s a tough thing for these guys to talk about, which is why it’s so important for us to listen. The least we could do was amplify their voices (with permission, of course), and we urge you to hear out Nak and company in the video above.

If you’re one of those people that don’t care, well, don’t be. These are life-or-death problems to confront, and now, more than ever, we should be listening to our black friends, peers, and loved ones (only when they want to share!) as we all process and grieve the shared injustices they face.

Take action

Act Blue
Split a donation among multiple bail funds across the country.

Bring Leilah Home
Help Boo Johnson & his family with costs associated with his sister’s passing.

Black Lives Matter
Leading the ongoing fight to end State-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever.

Campaign Zero
An organization that works on policy solutions to end police brutality.

Black Visions Collective
A Black, Trans & Queer led organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence.

Reclaim the Block Fund
Coalition advocating for community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Related Posts


  1. Grey

    June 2, 2020 4:47 pm

    But let’s also not forget Jenkem’s recent James Brockman salute.. James Brockman who called Shuriken Shannon the n-word, and subsequently got punched in the face. So, word.

  2. trumpisanazi

    June 2, 2020 5:00 pm

    kyle walker is racist, jake phelps was a racist

  3. Mayor Grimble

    June 2, 2020 5:02 pm

    Glad that KWalks, TMo, and Phelper got put on blast. Be better, dudes. Spouting off racial slurs is never endearing, and being fucked up is no excuse. For all the ways that the skateboarding community is lauded for it’s representation of inclusion and unity, the truth of the matter is that there are still a lot of people with ignorant buttfuck worldviews that are part of the family. Dudes are lucky that they didn’t get the same treatment as TMo and Corey Duffel.

  4. Big up nakel

    June 2, 2020 7:01 pm

    Never forget that gershon mosley stood up for himself against andrew “the boss” reynolds when faced with being called the n word….it costed him his career which says a lot bout the skate elite.

    • puerto rican from miami

      June 12, 2020 10:49 pm

      Facts… Gershon is one of my favorite skaters. speaking his mind ended his career

Leave a comment