Two weeks ago, Pharrell posted a photo on Instagram of the New York-based crew of female skaters known as The Skate Kitchen.
They were styled and decked out by Dazed Magazine for some indecipherable G-Star initiative of his. In the late summer of 2016 they were recognized in the eloquently simple short film That One Day, directed by Crystal Moselle of The Wolfpack fame. The film is about inclusivity in skateparks and finding yourself. In both pieces—two different forms of media—they look sick and, more importantly, represent a piece of themselves. Truly, props to the Skate Kitchen but wow, is recognition moving fast these days. The internet, social media…yeah yeah I know and we all know it. I was about to gripe and continue this by writing something about the potential dubiousness of going from a locally known skateboard clique to Vogue and Dazed Magazine backed clothing models in under a year but forget it. Strap in. That’s the way it is.
Even so, I can’t help but feel some sort of pang for the time when you didn’t have a video camera in your pocket. A time when you couldn’t instantaneously connect to the wealth of human information, existence, and emotional range in mere seconds. At best, you had your parents’ Hi-8 camera and were lucky if you had an AC adapter to charge the damn thing.You were shakily filming your whole session and the jokes in between and the weird snack breaks and pubescent angst and the walk home after the sesh. Deep down you knew nobody was really going to see it—how could they with your dusty dial up internet, if you even had it. That kept it good and raw. Uncooked, in Skate Kitchen terms.
That’s why the clip that got me most stoked this week was a vlog uploaded by Skate Kitchen member Kabrina H Adams, aka Moonbear. Called The Skate Kitchen Takeover Union Square, the video was filmed by Moonbear “at the end of summer 2016.” Right after That One Day was making its web rounds and appearing in Vogue and The New York Times. The clip chronicles what seems like a couple of hours with other Skate Kitchen members Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg and Ardelia Lovelace as they hang and cruise around Union Square in New York City. It opens with Ardelia recounting a person who didn’t look up from her phone. “Damn, I know you have money—you ain’t paying attention to shit,” she gleefully proclaims to the camera. They pose with their unexplained cardboard box cargo and wait for each other to get out of Starbucks. They speak loudly and laugh a lot, sometimes obnoxiously. They are a group of righteous young women being very loud in public and getting in people’s way. They demand and deserve to be noticed.
In opposition to the guy who doesn’t look up from his phone, for a seeker of skate footage on the internet, the whole thing is an exercise in paying attention. For a five and a half minute clip it has minimal skateboard footage as reward. The middle is punctuated by a quick session at Union Square, where Rachelle makes a 360 no comply shove it down the four. In a week where my friends at Alltimers dropped some fire from Barcelona and the GX crew came through hard with some ankle vibrating hill bombs, this one made me want to hit the streets the most. I’ll bet ya the hard earned, crusty callous off my pushing foot that Crystal Moselle feature flick is going to be outright poignant. And props to them for rocking those wild G-Star print pants. I dunno how you rolled the loud mouth skate rat thing into fashion spread glory but good on ya and I hope you get some of that “ain’t paying attention” money. But, The Skate Kitchen, if you’re reading this please keep this rawness coming as well.