For this street skateboarder, it’s all about the shoes.
There are six million reasons to get into skateboarding, and for Terry Kennedy it was fashion. “I played basketball at school with this kid who skated and I’d keep checking out his Vans and DC sneakers, so he convinced me to try skating,” Kennedy says. From then on he was dressed head-to-toe in skater stuff. “When me and my friend Black Mike—the only other guy who skated in our neighborhood—started dressing like skaters, everybody was mesmerized. They all looked at us funny. But my grandmother, who raised me, told me to skate if I wanted to and not care about what people said. Everybody had Jordans but nobody had ever seen shoes like ours.”
Now he skates like a motherfucker, and everyone from the guys he grew up with to musicians like Justin Bieber wear his Supra shoes that look like urban kicks. “Because I came up different, with a different style, when we put out these shoes the world took notice,” he says. “The first couple of people didn’t know what to think of them, but as soon as they tried them on, well, they are so comfortable, they would say, ‘And I can skate in these too?’”
The sneakers are what the fashion world likes to call day-to-night. “They look like a dress-up shoe; you can wear them while skating and then wear them to the clubs,” Kennedy says. “They are like Jordans in that kids don’t just wear Jordans on the court.” And like those iconic kicks, they also come in high-tops, which actually help stabilize your ankles while skating, according to Kennedy.
Working on the shoe with Supra inspired Kennedy and his hip-hop team of Fly Society to put out a line of clothing. “It was the right time for this, now that other worlds are into skating, like hip-hop, athletes, and fashion,” he says.
Tattoos have always been a part of skate style—and they’ve been part of Kennedy’s look ever since he was 17. “My mom passed away when I was 15, so I got praying hands on my right forearm for her and then her portrait on my left forearm,” Kennedy says. “I only get meaningful things. I have Long Beach, I got Black Mike because he passed.” He also has his grandmother’s initials on his neck, which she wasn’t too pleased about. “I assured her that all of my tattoos are meaningful, that I want to be a tool of all that made me and carry those people and those things for as far as I go in life.” His grandmother is also no longer with him in this world, but she’ll be with him in spirit as he continues to shine in skating and style.