Checkout Blake’s ad for Santa Cruz Skateboards in the new issue of Thrasher!
Adidas Skateboarding introduces Miles Silvas, Na-Kel Smith, and Tyshawn Jones to their global team – congrats!
Interview by Richard Massie
Ethnicity: Black – Creole
Date of birth? February 24th, 1995
Where were you born? L.A. – Cedars-Sinai – The day I was born was the same day Eazy-E found out he had aids, he was in the same hospital.
Where’s home? North Hollywood
Did you graduate high school? Yep. I graduated from Beverly High but I didn’t really go to school. I booked my last 2 periods as film class and would leave every day at noon. My teacher Mr. Carey was cool as fuck, he knew I was out filming so he didn’t really care. I would go to class but just ask to use the bathroom when it started and he knew that meant I was trying to leave.
I couldn’t really talk to anyone at school, our minds weren’t on the same page. Like when I missed 11 days of school because we went to Japan, when I got back this kid asked where I had been and after I told him, he’s like “Damn, that dope.” Then I asked him what he’s been up to and he’s like, “Man I’m just really trying to get this job at Chick-fil-A.” (Laughs) You feel me?
So what is it that you do for a living? Damn. Umm… work at Chick-fil-A (Laughs) It’s weird. Like I make money of making t-shirts and videos but that’s stuff I would do for free. I’m just able to make money from it, it’s crazy. I guess I’m just displaying our culture.
How would describe what Illegal Civiliaztion (IC) is and what it means to you? It means everything to me. I would just say it’s an idea. It’s a bunch of kids that are young but handling their shit. Whether it be skating, music, designing clothes, art, photography, etc.
Illegal Civ is just showing kids what they’re capable of doing. Like this is the music you should listen to, this is how you can interact with bitches, this is what you can do, this is fun. We have this weird ability to bring things together that normally wouldn’t work. We’re bringing kids together too. Like if 2 kids see each other wearing the IC visors, they automatically have something in common.
Yeah, I agree. It’s the same with Those Folks, when someone random is wearing it, you know they’re down for what the movement represents and not just the t-shirt or hat or whatever.
You’re doing something really great with Illegal Civ. It’s moving kids in a strong and positive way. Like even when I watch the videos, I feel like a kid again. The music is always on point and it’s just kids having fun. Yeah, I think people like it because it comes from a place of joy. I like laughing and smiling more than being cool or serious.
And back to the visors, I would’ve never thought of or even considered selling Those Folks visors. Like we couldn’t make that work. I don’t think any brand, no matter how big or established they are could have released yellow visors and had the impact that IC did. Not the Hundreds, not Diamond, not anyone.
Why do you think that worked out like it did? I don’t know. We’re just good at setting trends. Like the “No Bev” thing, we started saying that and now everyone knows about it and is using it. Just like “Close your neck!” that’s just a game that everyone is doing now. With the visors it’s crazy because people told me not to do it. At the IC2 premiere in S.F. there was about 200-300 kids wearing the visor. I saw kids at Coachella wearing it, and a girl in Canada also.
It’s crazy to sit back and watch your idea become so much huh? Yeah, for real. There was 100 kids at the first IC video premiere and there was a 1,000 kids at IC2.
So how did Illegal Civ first start? It started in Pasadena when I was 14. The original members of IC was little Kevin, Nakel, Wheels, Lester, Tarzan, and these 3 kids from Pasadena that don’t skate anymore. I made my first video when I was 12 tho. I put it on dvd and trapped it out at skateparks for $9. Kids used to hit me up on Myspace and I would go meet them to sell it.
How did IC get to where it is now? Honestly, Nak brought me around Tyler and them (Odd Future) and I just saw how Tyler was making shit happen. He started inviting me to the studio to film them and I just saw how he was doing it. It made me realize life is about more than just skating. Hanging out with Tyler even made me quit smoking weed. I used to smoke a lot and even sell weed.
It’s crazy how similar Illegal Civ and Those Folks are. From the idea behind it being a collective of artists and skaters, to how it all started. I saw someone running their own brand and it sparked the idea for me to create something of my own.
Do you think Tyler knew he was helping you? Yeah, definitely. When we were taking photos of the first IC shirt on Fairfax and he ran up like, “I need a shirt! Take a picture of me wearing it.” He would always do random shit to help me. He really embraced me.
He just saw something in you and showed you what was capable? Yeah. It’s really just about everyone staying on it and never not doing something. We were always filming, always editing, always skating, always making music. Everyone makes their own moves but we move as a whole. If you’re not holding someone back, they will want to support you. We’re just encouraging kids to be kids. Go chase it. Find something you want, write it down, and do something every day towards that.
Like me working at Chick-fil-A, I wanted this forever. (Laughs)
How old were you when you started skating? I was 5. My friend and I used to take turns going down the hill on a longboard.
So you’ve been skating since you were 5 and you’re still this weak? (Laughs) Yep. I started getting good but I tried to ollie the McCambridge 8 stair and ate shit. After eating shit over and over that’s when I realized I’m not supposed to do this shit.
Would you say skateboarding is responsible for Illegal Civ? Yeah, that and music. I love music. I have 11,000 songs on my computer. I got old Daddy Yankee vinyls and shit.
Who’s your favorite skater? Nakel or little Kevin. I don’t really care about any skaters but my friends. Like I’ll watch someone’s video part once and then not care about it at all.
Where’s your favorite place you’ve visited? Iceland. The women out there give it up hella easy. It’s beautiful out there.
What’s your favorite cartoon? 100% the Simpsons. I’ve seen every episode. Look what I got! (reaches in pocket and pulls out his Gameboy Advance with Bart Simpson’s Escape from Camp Deadly)
What’s your favorite cereal? I don’t drink milk so I don’t eat cereal. I used to love milk but when I was 4 this guy was watching me and poured me a bowl of cereal, and when I was washing the bowl after I ate it, I just threw up all over the place. The milk was so old it was basically cheese. That was the last time I drank milk.
That’s probably why it hurt so much when your weak ass couldn’t ollie that 8 stair. (Laughs)
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Watch the Simpsons. I have a tv in the kitchen and I put on the Simpsons while I make food. Then I listen to music and figure out what I’m gonna do.
What did you have for breakfast today? Biscuits. I had one with apricot jelly and one with grape jelly. Wait, I’m trippin. It was strawberry jelly, I don’t even like grape jelly like that.
No bev? Umm.. water.
That pause sounded like you didn’t. No, I had bev. I never eat without bev, that’s unsafe. You can choke and die. My friend Tyshawn loves eating without a bev – that’s his shit. He also drives a Honda Accord.
What’s something you have to do every single day? Watch the Simpsons. I feel sus if I don’t.
If you could have any job in the world what would it be? Chick-fil-A (Laughs)
What’s your go-to choice at the ice cream truck? At Stoner I get a banana split with everything except nuts.
Wait, you said you order a banana split but just ask for nuts? You are SUS. (Laughs)
Do you prefer more peanut butter or more jelly? More jelly. But I put the peanut butter on first as a base. And I eat peanut butter and jelly on croissants.
What’s the last song you listened to? “One Spliff A Day” by Billy Boyo
How old were you when you lost your virginity? 15. I talked to the girl for a year before we smashed. She wasn’t my girlfriend tho. Sex is important, like make sure you only have sex with girls you like. A random girls is cool every now and then but it’s important to respect women.
Do you have a girlfriend now? Olan. (Laughs)
What’s next for Illegal Civilization? Teen Vogue, LACMA, clips, clips, and more clips. NIGGA.
Any last words? eeskabobi poopoo teetee… nah I’m just kidding. September 1st! IC2! Let’s get it!
Illegal Civilization 2 drops September 1st with each set of the IC x Spitfire wheel collaboration.