Okay, I’m really going to try and stay positive on this one…..really. Lil Wayne likes to ride skateboards now. Maybe you’ve heard this already. Fine…..just fine. He was inspired by Alex Midler, so he decided to pick up a board and become a “skater boy.” Again fine….just fine. Then things changed. Then he started his own “skate company.” He’s now pushing around with some professionals, he’s on the Berrics, and he’s getting shine from a ton of people including Lil Stevie. Then he went and said “Yes, I made skateboarding cool,” and now he has a signature shoe for Supra……maybe the Mayans were right.
photo courtesy of ditcradio.com
On the positive side, he’s taken some decent slams and continues to get back up. He’s trying to get better at skating, and seems to really be putting his heart into it. I like to see that. He’s promoting skateboarding, and clearly he has a lot of people listening. These are all good things. I do however have some serious concerns.
photo courtesy of livemusiccityblog.com
You did not make skateboarding cool. Please be careful about what you say and how you approach the world of skateboarding. For many of us skateboarding has been cool since you were in diapers. I’m only 4 years older than you my friend, and yet skateboarding has been cool for me since 1984. For others skateboarding has been cool since before Jay Adams made it cool. For others skateboarding has been cool since before Nashworthy urethane became the norm. For many of us skateboarding was cool when the world loved us, then when they hated us, when they thought we disappeared, and then when they loved us again. Skateboarding was cool when we were beat up just for skateboarding. Skateboarding was cool even when most girls hated us for skateboarding. Skateboarding was cool when…as an only child in the streets, my friends and my board were my escape.
I’m glad to hear that you are promoting skating, and it’s a good thing that some kids now think skateboarding is cool because of you. Again though I ask that you are careful in your words and actions. Right now there are kids sleeping in cars and on couches in Southern California just to get sponsored and make a life out of skateboarding. Those kids are hungry as fuck. Those kids would kill for a shoe on Supra. Those kids are what make skateboarding cool.
Congratulations on your success in the music world. I don’t like your music at all, but I give you credit for coming from meager beginnings and succeeding like very few ever have. I ask that as you move forward, please set a decent example for our kids in any way that you can. Don’t tell kids to drink Mt. Dew, let alone mix it with Codeine and Jolly Ranchers (you should stop that shit too by the way, it sounds fucking horrible). Set a good example in terms of skateboarding as well. Don’t forget, that for many of us it is not a passing fad. Skateboarding is who we are. There is a storied history to our world. Have some respect for that.
Ok so I’ve written briefly about Ray Barbee before and here’s why. He is absolutely one of my all time favorite people. I don’t really fan out over anyone (except maybe Gonz). I am however more likely to get riled up like JoJo the Idiot Circus Boy when I come across someone like Ray, than say …(insert random Us Weekly celeb here). Ray Barbee began to influence my skating back in the Public Domain days. To see someone my age, with similar style, skating street, keeping it fluid, and basically stringing together trick after trick…was mind blowing. I followed Ray through the years, and always admired the way he was true to himself, and the way that he grew as a person. For those that don’t know, music and photography are very important to him as well. Ray is a positive person with an incredible outlook on the world. Often in skating the people that get press and highlights are the complete piles of shit. We all love a comeback story, but it just seems like the glamorizing of self destructive behavior is so rampant in our world.
I’m all for bucking the norm, and punk rock ideals influenced me tremendously in my life as well. I don’t think you need to be a lazy, negative, gutterpunk to carve your own DIY path though. You can be a responsible father and husband. You can save your money. You can live in moderation. You can be an educated postmodernist. You can be an artist. You can think for yourself…. Too many good people in the world of skating have been lost to apathy, drug use, and lack of forward thinking. Sometimes when you throw tons of money at 15 year old kids (that have had little guidance in general) this type of thing can happen. We all have free will though, and we all truly care about skateboarding. People like Ray Barbee should be highlighted more often. Take a look at Chris Nieratko’s newest Adventures With Chris, check out Ray’s Independent At Home, and watch the all too short Epicly Later’d. For the young skaters out there please just think for yourself, don’t be a pile of shit, and keep doing what you love. Thanks Ray.
photo courtesy of stussy.com