By LANNA APISUKH
"When skateboarding in male dominated parks, remember that skateboarding is about exploring your environment and claiming spaces."
Full Name: Yasmeen Wilkerson
Occupation: skater, model, (new)youtuber
YouTube: Yaz So Mean
How long have you been skateboarding?
I started longboarding first at the age of 16. From there I’ve been in and out of skating and officially started skating street 3 years ago, summer ‘15.
What was it that drew you into skating?
I started dating a guy who at the time, was into longboarding. As the relationship came and went, my passion for skateboarding is what stayed. The adrenaline rush is what made me stay, there’s nothing like that feeling.
Fill in the blank… Skateboarding makes me feel: AT HOME WHEREVER I GO
How has skateboarding impacted your life?
Through the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned along the way, and the new places I’ve travelled to, skateboarding has impacted my life in more ways than one! I’ve been in the community consistently for the past 3 years, along with having a rising in popularity on Instagram. My modeling and commercial/ad work has gotten a rise in popularity in the past few years especially my skate video edits on YouTube. Skateboarding has proved that I can be myself, and do what I love while making money off of it and being productive and a good reflection of a poc (person of color) making waves where stereotypes state otherwise on Brooklyn girls growing up from nothing. My rise in productivity with skateboarding, as well as my positive mindset I’ve gained from it has made me want to do better to become even more of an inspiration to everyone.
Any cool skate-related projects on the horizon?
Yes!! The cats out the bag!! I’ll be going to the Middle East to be a mentor to kids in Palestine! I was excited to finally announce that I’d be working with SkatePal (@skate_pal) (skatepal.co.uk) in June, I would be going to Palestine in September for a few weeks to be teaching kids to skate and helping with educational workshops for the youth. It’s a project that I’ve had on my mind and although I’ve had doubts and several thoughts about the environment and the political unrest that goes on over there, but with careful thought and insight on the country, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to commit to what my heart tells me. I’ve worked with children in the past through East Village Skateshop, Riverside skatepark association, and through volunteer days through other organizations, I’ve realized that there’s nothing more fulfilling to me then working with children. I’ve already spread the word within the community that I’m making a fundraiser on justgiving.com/yazsomean to help costs of the trip that isn’t covered by SkatePal. As of now I’ve recieve 30% of donations from my goal of $850! A fundraiser event at the start of August might be under way if I can’t develop the sufficient amount of funds. Either way, I’m confident that I’ll be able to come up with my goal before September hits! My only wish is to keep blessing any space I go to with positivity, love, and knowledge, the world needs more of that.I would love to be apart of spreading that to corners of the world, and having people who support me would help.
What advice can you give to other females or female-identified individuals who want to learn to skate but might be nervous to try for fear of injuries or the male-dominated skate parks (that can sometimes be intimidating for beginners)?
A word of advice? Definitely to know that you’re not any more or less worthy from any other skater at the skatepark. It’s not about how technical you are on a flat bar, or how many stairs you can ollie on, it’s about having fun. Sometimes, even I, get caught up in comparing myself and my skills to everyone else. And it isn’t about that. Comparing yourself only makes it “acceptable” to point and pick at your flaws and what you can’t do. Instead think about what you can do and get better at that! Work on that! Fight through doubt and believe in yourself it does more good than anything. When skateboarding in male dominated parks, remember that skateboarding is about exploring your environment and claiming spaces. This space is just as much here for everyone else as it is for you. So just have fun and enjoy your time there. Tell anyone who thinks otherwise to “fuck off” and keep a smile.