Terry Kennedy: Grind Hard Pt.2
In part 2 of our interview with Terry Kennedy, he explains why his television show is shown on BET, and not MTV, why he chose to sign with Supra Shoes, and also explains why there are no hard feelings between him and Curren$y.
TWV: I want to go back to you hosting the Strong Arm Steady mixtapes. On those mixtapes you mentioned having a show coming on MTV, which is crazy, because the show ended up on BET. Is there something that happened with that?
Terry Kennedy: MTV always wanted me to do stuff, but they always wanted me to be that “Compton Ass Terry” character. At the time, that was just me, being me for that moment. A muthafucka was happy, out skating on tour with Bam. It was cool, but I’m not always like that…that was just a moment. I feel like as a person, I have more to offer. I have shoes that are #1 in the nation, I have a business entity that’s booming, a record label and more to offer to my community. I went to BET and said that this is where I stand, this is what I have going on, this is who I am and this is what I want to offer. It didn’t take much selling with them. They saw the positives and they felt it was dope. They saw I was humble, I’m making business moves, I’m taking care of my family and I’m a solid young man. That’s what I’m looking to bring; I don’t have time for anything else. I’ve been through too much in life. I’ve lost too many people in life. I want to show the positives. I doubt it would have gone any other way if I wasn’t messing with BET. I’m dealing with people of my culture, my kind, who realize what I’m trying to do and where I’m trying to go. MTV couldn’t relate. I’m sorry. No offense to them, but I’m glad they didn’t get it. I’m glad I did it with BET because they let me be me.
TWV: You had Ice Cube on the show. I’m noticing you’re becoming a pretty big representative for the West Coast in general, not just for black skaters. When the West Coast videos are on, I see you in the videos. When rappers come out here, they’re shouting you out in the club, shouting you out on Twitter. How did that happen? Were you after that kind of recognition?
Terry Kennedy: That’s something my cousin brought to me. He said “You know why, Terry? Because you get along with everybody and you got a good heart with everybody.” I think that’s why everybody respects me because they see my heart more than anything. Anybody that crosses my path, they see I’m a solid dude. That’s why I guess Cube wanted to mess with me because I never knew these dudes beforehand. Snoop gave me the same attitude. Snoop said “I’d rather this generation look up to you, than anybody else from our end because everybody else from our end is still on that tip…negativity. With you, it’s nothing but positivity.” That’s all I want everybody to see about me. I’m a humble cat, and when I win, I want everyone else to win. What I do is a reflection of my city, where I’m from and who I am.
I can’t take none of this with me, but my legacy can live on. When my legacy lives on, I want people to say “T did good, he came back to our neighborhood, put skate parks In the area, he stopped gang violence, things could have gone bad, but he took it to a positive, focused get money path.” That’s why any kid who comes up to me, I tell them “You do good in school, you keep a good head on your shoulders, you be comfortable in your own skin and you tackle this world.”
TWV: For those who haven’t been to the Beach (Long Beach, CA), you can see the difference. They have skate parks all over the city now, there’s a lot more skaters and you can clearly see it.
TK: It cuts a lot of the negativity down. We’re trying to build a skate park in Watts now and we’re telling them it will keep a lot of that negativity down. It will keep a lot of the kids safe and keep kids going in the right path.
TWV: I saw the video with you and P Rod with the Tony Hawk Foundation about the building of a skate park in Watts. Are you guys still doing that? Are they still taking donations?
TK: Yeah, people can still donate over at the Tony Hawk Foundation. We’re currently dealing with people in the city, like neighbors, who claim the park will bring a lot of noise. [More info on that here]
TWV: Now, lets get on to your shoes because they are huge right now, and actually, skateboarding shoes have become popular in the streets, period. How do you feel about the increase in popularity of skateboarding shoes, not just among skateboarders, but people in general?
TK: The funniest thing is that somebody asked me about my most prized moment that I had recently, and I said it was my autograph signing at the Shoe Warehouse (A shoe store found in Southern California’s lower income neighborhoods, now referred to as “Warehouse Shoe Sale“). I thought that was the craziest shit ever because I grew up over in that muthafucka. It was weird for me because I couldn’t afford Foot Locker, but the Shoe Warehouse was local and had everything in the neighborhood , even Jordans. It’s important to always stay true to who I am and my roots because I understand coming up and couldn’t afford a lot of stuff. It’s like giving people quality at an affordable price. That’s what I think is dope about Supra. It’s about tackling the inner-cities, allowing kids to have some fly shit, but make it affordable. Jordan didn’t do that for us. His shit was like $200. I just remember me trying to get a hold of those shoes…it was tough. So I was like “Let’s give them something dope, fly and at an affordable price.” With Supra, that’s where they killed it at, that’s why I love em. When I told them I wanted my shoes at Shoe Warehouse, they looked at me crazy. I told them these are the kids that when they buy shit, they eat it up, they love it and they respect it. Once we started doing the Shoe Warehouses, we started getting bigger and bigger, because the inner city, that’s where it’s at. People try to ignore it, but that’s where everything is birthed from. That’s the roots. The malls, they get stuff secondary. The streets get it first. So you gotta be close with what’s going on. That’s what I told them. We do Shoe Warehouse, we are close with the city, with what’s going on, with what kids are looking for and what they like. Kids don’t go to the mall anymore. They go to a skate shop, they go to a Shoe Warehouse, something close in their neighborhood
TWV: And why specifically Supra, what made you go that route?
TK: Because of what they were doing. I got offers and everybody showed me what they were doing for the next year. Nothing really stuck with me. When Supra showed me what they were doing, I was like “Damn, this is gonna fuck over Nike in a couple years!” And we’re gonna fuck over Nike in a couple years.
TWV: You can see it, SB’s aren’t as popular….
TK: All the places we sell, they tell us, “Kids buy Supra’s over these Nikes, or these Jordans, or these Creative Recs”…the stores tell you. So that’s showing us; we can see the direction we’re going in.
TK: That’s the generation we live in. I’m just blessed to be apart of it. Everybody wants to be positive, grind, look fly and do what they gotta do. That’s it…especially our generation. Everybody is on the positive tip; whether it’s skating, rapping, basketball…whatever. People would rather be fly and be on a positive tip. I like keeping that in the air
TWV: Speaking of keeping things in the air, you get a lot of coverage the other skaters don’t get, including the gossip blogs. I don’t really see too many other skateboarders popping up on the Mediatakeouts and such. How do you view that? Are you bothered by that or do you just use it as opportunity to represent even more?
TK: It’s sort of like what I said with the rap, I don’t allow it to dictate my character, but I like the criticism. It makes you work harder. I don’t take it as a negative. Everybody has an opinion — and you might be right — maybe that’s something I can tighten up and do better. Even when someone brings me a negative, I say “Hey, you got freedom of speech,” it’s all love.
TWV. That’s definitely a positive way to look at it. Speaking of positives, you mentioned your first song that you cut, Curren$y was on the track. There were issues between you guys that happened before. Any chance of a Fly Society/J-E-T-S collaboration in the future? You guys both seem pretty upbeat and against negativity.
TK: I’ve never really had a problem with dude. It’s weird how we fell out. I just think, looking at his situation, I didn’t take it personal because I understood what it was. Curren$y has been grinding since No Limit and never had an album come out. So with him, I just look at him like he never wanted to be in a group with us, and he told us that. He’s always been focused on chasing what he felt he needed to do. I feel like everybody should be like that. I respect that. At the end of the day, if you feel like you can do it on your own, or you don’t need us around, more power to you. That’s just how I look at it. It’s tough for him, because he’s been on since No Limit and he never had a major label album out. You’re probably frustrated and think everything around you is fucking with what you need to do. I don’t know. I just look at it from both sides of the fence.
I look at it from his stand point, and mine. From his standpoint, he’s been on since No Limit and hasn’t cracked the way he wanted to. So he probably figures if he can’t do it on his own, he can’t do it. I had his back and tried to help him push what he was doing. I guess he didn’t take it that way. More power to him, I want him to succeed. Even when he was with us, I wanted him to succeed.
TWV: As far as success goes, you have the shoes, the show has a lot of people’s attention, you have the music coming and you have the decks with Baker. What else are you looking to do next?
TK: We’re about to start dropping all these mixtapes. We got one with Tha Bizness, one with DJ Illwill and DJ Skee just dropped a mixtape with Metro PCS that we’re on.
TWV: So where can people go to stay up on Fly Society everything?
TK: FlySocietyOnline.com. You can get the T-shirts, music, the blog, everything
TWV: Anything else you want to say before you go?
TK: I just want to thank you guys for giving me the interview. To everybody out there in the world, like I always say, be comfortable in your own skin.
Terry Kennedy can be followed on Twitter @ TerrykennedyFS
Brillyance is a rocker of fly kicks, a huge gamer, and all around tech addict. A Los Angeles, California based freelance writer and constant contributor to TheWellVersed, who can be followed on Twitter @Brillyance, or online @ RealityIsReal.com.