Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Antwuan Scenario.

For those of you not up to the ever-increasing speed at which skateboarding gossip travels, over the last few months the guys at Epicly Later'd have been shining their soul-exposing spotlights and lenses on skateboarding's very own Bobby Brown, a young man by the name of Antwuan Dixon. Ever since his debut part in Baker Skateboards' 2005 full-length visual obligation Baker 3, I've been an avid follower and awe-struck supporter of Antwuan's ridiculous ability as a skateboarder and the breath of fresh hood air he brought to an otherwise stinky, hessian landscape. When all hope was almost lost and all my friends started wearing corduroy nut-huggers and fitted American Apparel t-shirts, Antwuan came along and made skateboarding hip-hop again and I couldn't have been more thankful.

Anyway, so this Epicly Later'd thing is an internet-based means of insight into your favorite professional skateboarder's personal lives. Results have definitely varied, but the general vibe is that professional skateboarders are pretty laid-back individuals who deal with personal demons like everyone else blah blah blah let's all just skate etc etc. Unfortunately, when it came to the highly anticipated Antwuan Dixon files, it may as well have included a live intervention or at least an emotional piano soundtrack floating about in the background because each installment of the four part series was more confronting than the last and by the end of it all I was sitting there fearing for Antwuan's health and safety instead of grabbing my board and hitting the streets all inspired and shit. Is this actually Antwuan's life? Or has the whole thing been hammed up by the producers of the show in an last ditch effort to alert Antwuan and his team-mates up of his self-harming reality, or to simply attract more viewers? What you take from the following clips is completely up to you. However, discretion is advised, Antwuan likes to party.


1/4


2/4


3/4


4/4

This whole thing left a pretty sour taste in my mouth and judging from the responses I've read online in the wake of the final instalment, no-one else is really tasting the rainbow either. It's been well known since day dot that Antwuan never did and will continue not to give a fuck. As soon as the booming instrumental dropped on that first 360 flip from his debut part in Baker 3, you could tell that he was going to do things his way, with every successive piece of footage dripping with that lazy, effortless swag the likes of which hadn't been seen since a young Stevie Williams.

Off the board though, I think there's a difference between not giving a fuck and NOT giving a fuck, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Antwuan can run around and puff as many L's and swig as many 40's (I'm white) as he likes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a young man living his life the way he sees fit or unfit and I'll admit right now that if I could get away with it I'd probably lead a pretty similar existence, only you wouldn't catch me going near a fing weight bench at any point in time ever.

However, if you're being paid a wage or generous endorsement royalties by a company whose target market is situated between impressionable 10 year olds and wayward adolescents, you should probably stop giving a fuck about how little a fuck you give. Being a waster is fine; aside from the elderly and people that trip over all the time, I think wasters are damn near the greatest form of impromptu live entertainment one can view. Developing a reputation as a waster and becoming a side-show for everyone around you on a consistent basis, when you should be out earning and maintaining the respect of the people that helped bring you out of a negative place, is not so fine.

And it's not even Antwuan's demeanor that concerns me the most. It's that of his team-mates and supposed homies, all passing the buck and side-stepping the real issue with self-assuring rhetoric and 'whatevers'. Instead of say, kicking him off the team until he gets his shit together or (god forbid) actually intervening, these guys are all "i'm not going to sugar-coat the actions of our team members" and "that's the BAKER/DEATHWISH lifestyle". Are you serious? When did condoning drug addiction and sapping the talents of your team members become the BAKER/DEATHWISH lifestyle? So what started out as mutually beneficial agreement between a kid from the projects and a multi-million dollar skateboarding company has become a poisonous relationship through which this kid has been given access to all the vices he can get his hands on and will be promoted and marketed accordingly as 'the guy with all the tats that straight doesn't give a fuck and also skates sometimes'. Brilliant!

This is only my interpretation, maybe since all this Epicly Later'd business someone has taken Antwuan aside and given him the positive wake-up call he needs, but I doubt it. It really kills me to see someone with so much talent have his reckless actions condoned by the very people making bank from his actions, the people that are supposed to have taken him under their wing and AWAY from a supposedly pre-ordained life of crime and addiction. It seriously looks like the guys at BAKER/DEATHWISH picked Antwuan up on his talent, saw his gradual fall from grace and said "you know what? This is pretty cool as well, lets feed into this and see what happens". I really hope I'm wrong though.

Moreso, I hope that amongst all the attention and praise Antwuan gets for being skateboarding's favorite side-show, that he can find the help that he clearly needs and doesn't appear to be receiving from those closest to him. He is one of the most naturally talented skateboarders I have ever seen and possesses more than enough potential to be remembered as one of the best from his era. Hopefully the people sitting back and watching the destruction will take it upon themselves to help him realize this.

God Speed.