As skateboarding makes its Olympic debut this summer, the latest Black History Always special Monochrome highlights and celebrates the Black experience within the action sport. The new documentary premiered on ESPN+ today.
- As the title denotes, filmed in black and white, the 30-minute documentary dissects opportunities earned and denied because of a skater’s environment and skin color.
- The cast includes generations and genders from streets and contest podiums, culture icons, and influencers – all skaters:
- Team USA Olympic skateboard park athlete Zion Wright
- X Games silver medalist Samarria Brevard
- Old school legend Ray Barbee
- Grammy-Award winning musician Lupe Fiasco
- They provide an understanding of how skateboarding is both a metaphor and a reality in their modern-day lives.
- Steven Lawrence, a member of ESPN’s Creative Content Unit, directed Monochrome alongside Atiba Jefferson, one of skateboarding’s most respected photographers and skaters.
- Clinton Yates, columnist/podcast host for The Undefeated and avid skateboarder, is a producer of Monochrome.
What they’re saying:
- Samarria Brevard: “Stories are meant to be shared, especially when it comes to the evolution of a culture. I’m just grateful to be able to share my story along with people who have done so much for our skate community.”
- Atiba Jefferson: “I have been skating for 32 years, and it’s a huge honor as a Black skater to celebrate and tell our story. It’s a history that is always studied and still being written.”
- Clinton Yates: “Skateboarding was my first real venture into the so-called white world growing up in [Washington] D.C. in the 1980s and ’90s. That fortunately dovetailed with the culture’s overlap with Black culture, and there’s no way around all the struggles and glory associated with that. I rode a skateboard for transportation and freedom. How that applies to today’s skaters, in the Olympics or elsewhere, is still a topic worth hearing about from guys that actually nail kickflips. I promise.”
You can watch Monochrome on ESPN+ now.