If you were to speak strictly in stereotypes, the term “skater dudes” might conjure up images of long-haired white boys with scarred up elbows executing 360s off a half pipe.
The “skater dude” Co-CEOs at Los Angeles-based Chalkboard Skate, Kenny Walden and Kevin Ray, have blasted that stereotype. These two “hood-grown” black businessmen have created the only company of its kind to support inner-city skateboarding while providing digital self-promotion and networking for urban skaters across the nation.
Rolling out recently spoke with one of Chalkboard Skates Co-CEOs, Kenny Walden, and discovered skateboarding has acquired a large and rapidly growing following in the hood.
Why don’t we hear more about black skateboarders?
There are several well-known black skaters. Terry Kennedy is one of the world’s top professional skateboarders, and he has a huge fanbase. Then there’s Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, Lil’ Wayne, just to name a few who skate for the love of it. It’s not something the media has really picked up on and promoted in the past.
How popular is skateboarding in the inner-city?
Skateboarding is the perfect inner-city sport since it doesn’t cost much to participate, and you can become excellent at it if you put in the time and the effort. All you need is a board and a place to roll and you’re good to go. People think of the suburbs when they think of skaters, but Chalkboard is here to support inner-city youths who are looking to participate in a sport that is physically challenging, rewarding and exciting.
What does your company do?
We promote events in the inner-city to support young urban skateboarders and provide them with a positive outlet for their talent. We work with our sponsors to provide free skate clinics and skate-related merchandise to young people interested in the sport. At our website, ChalkboardSkate.com our members can upload video footage and photos of their skateboarding prowess, and network with corporate sponsors and other skateboarders nationwide. Chalkboard Skate’s mission is to broadcast talents locally and around the world. We launched our site a couple of months ago and have gotten over half a million hits.
RO: Is there any other company that does what you do?
We are the only company that provides a self-promotion site for skaters that is specifically skate-focused. It’s one thing to upload your footage to a YouTube-type site, but you have to wade through everything else to find the skaters. At ChalkboardSkate.com it’s all skaters all the time, so it serves as a social networking and marketing hub for the sport itself.