The Pros Cruising Down Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood is a place that’s never seemed to appreciate the true talent of skateboarders. I can’t recall how many times I’ve cringed at an actor mall grabbing their board, like their life depends on it, just to switch to a stunt double to ollie up a curb. In 2021 life is a little different, skaters, their style and their culture is finally being given the recognition it deserves. We take a look at some of the pivotal tastemakers who pushed skateboarding into mainstream entertainment.
Skate culture began to be represented in TV and motion picture in the late 90s and early 2000s. These screenplays often amassed a huge cult following. Larry Clark’s “Kids” is nothing short of a cult classic. It was one of the first movies to put modern skate culture in the spotlight. Thus sparking a nationwide fascination with this chaotic and unfiltered lifestyle. The influence this movie had was prevalent throughout the late 90s and 2000s. Samples from the movie appear scattered across the late Mac Miller’s 4th mixtape “K.I.D.S.”, and Supreme also payed homage in a 2015 capsule collection celebrating its 20th anniversary. Clark would go on to make “Ken Park”, “Wassup Rockers” and “The Smell of Us”, three more movies centered around the sport and culture.
A movie that was less artistic, yet still holds the title of one of the best skate movies ever made is “Street Dreams”. It didn’t stand out for its award winning acting or gripping storyline. Simply put, it was the skating. From start to finish you’re in awe of tricks comparable to those you’d see in a video part. P-Rod 360 flipping into a crook down that rail is something you’ll never be able to erase from your memory. It will be a challenge to find another movie that gives skateboarding the lead role.
As we near the 2020s, Instagram has become an essential platform for skaters to expose themselves to the world. One of the most notorious of which, is Evan Mock, a skateboarder, model and now turned actor. Next month marks his debut in the upcoming reboot of Gossip Girl - look we all know this series won’t be focused on skateboarding, but it’s good to see the representation in mainstream entertainment. Another series that is focused on this however, HBO’s “Betty”. This comedy drama follows the lives of a diverse all-female group. They casted real-life skaters Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell and Rachelle Vinberg. The underlying message of the show is to challenge the perception that it’s a ‘male’ sport by putting women in the limelight. Model and skateboarder Lil Dre also makes his acting debut as a reoccurring character. Season 2 is airing right now on HBO.
Earlier this year Mikey Alfred left his mark in skate history with the release of his first motion picture titled “North Hollywood”. His brand, Illegal Civ, for a long time has been experimenting with the aesthetics of moviemaking. Now, the brand has evolved into the world’s first teen movie studio. Almost all skate productions are independent. This is what makes them so unique and compelling. Another example is Jonah Hills “Mid90s”. He created something nostalgic, completely and selflessly for the culture. These movies often bare the ugly truth of struggling through adolescence. Sharing a common regard for community, identify and friendship.
What these directors, writers and producers do is contribute something that shapes your childhood. It creates an image of skateboarding that embeds itself into your subconscious. Slowly it manifests its way into your lifestyle.