Is it possible that Justin Bieber is copying Lil’Wayne with his skateboarding activities, or rather, is it simply that both pop artists enjoy the outdoor urban sport? Throughout social media platforms, pop star Justin Bieber and pop-rapper Lil’ Wayne have both been posting video footage of themselves skateboarding in various places throughout Los Angeles and New York City. Most recently Bieber posted a video of himself at Venice Beach doing a goofy footed kickflip, a large feat to say the least when wearing oversized pearl-white high-tops and tight pants situated far below his gluteus and barely held up by a large studded belt. Many fans rejoiced in the bad-boy outcast role Bieber fills while on a skateboard, where others mocked his skills or warned him that he could be possibly putting his safety at risk. It is hard to determine if Bieber is trying to fit in, or if he actually enjoys skateboarding like Lil’ Wayne, who has since started his own skateboarding company named, “Truck Fit.”
The pop-rapper Lil’ Wayne has been affiliated with the New York City skateboarding company 5BORO, and can be seen on a number of their youtube channel videos. Their videos include the skate team going out into the urban city in the late hours of the night, allowing Lil’Wayne to escape the paparazzi and enjoy the urban environment in a clandestine fashion. Since most businesses and public places do not respect skateboarding, it forces skateboarders to operate outside of the law and society, providing stars like Wayne and Bieber a sport that operates away from the cameras, allowing them to go unnoticed and really enjoy themselves. Perhaps Justin Bieber is not copying Lil’ Wayne with his skateboarding antics, but rather he is joining him in a activity that allows expression through movement away from the usual harsh critics.
It is hard to determine if Bieber is going to continue to skateboard, given some of the backlash he has received from his fans and the skateboarding community. His recorded kickflip at Venice Beach California was criticized for being a rocket flip, not being level and pointed upward, and or that it had child like flipping ability. The truth is, kickflips are a very hard maneuver to pull off, given that it takes the average skateboarder a year to learn how to ollie, and then another year or so before mastering the kickflip. Most young boys go through a skateboarding phase, so it is possible that Bieber has been inspired by Lil’ Wayne and his boyhood antics, to go jump on a board and surf the sidewalks.
Although as of now it is not fair to assume Justin Bieber is copying Lil’ Wayne with skateboarding, if he were to quit skating and not pursue it, it would certainly suggest that he was chasing a fad, rather then participating in a sport that operates in clandestine environments and grants freedom of expression through movement. The young pop-star continues to be in the spotlight so it will be easy for us to deduce if he is still in fact landing kickflips, or perhaps soon we will see a video of him falling which is sure to go viral.
Opinion by Zane Foley