Just a few weeks ago, BA (Brian Anderson) was announced as a professional addition to the Antihero Skateboards team – September 27th, 2016. And it had been years of us seeing him riding their skateboard decks…
After a memorable career riding for legacy brands such as Toy Machine and Girl and even having started his own board brand with 3D Skateboards, Brian had a long-standing period of time where he didn’t really HAVE a board sponsor. Content and strong with Nike SB, Supreme and Independent Trucks as his supporters, Brian moved back to the east coast, where he grew up and has been silently killing it. His current home in Queens, NY is a new place for him and his career as he moves forward as an openly gay man. For more on his recent coming out, check out our blog piece HERE.
Brian Anderson, as skaters who have followed his career loyally will know, has been a perfect fit for Antihero for years. With his powerful style, unique approach, gnarly appearance and long-time home in San Francisco, it made sense that Antihero (under SF-based Deluxe Distribution) would take him under their wing as a pro rider. If they had made that announcement at any point, it would have been a good call for the culture of the brand and for Brian as their friend. But waiting until after the coming-out unveiling made it even more significant. Basically Antihero, a brand that is well-known for its dirty street-based roots, made a strong statement along the lines of “we don’t care what your size, color or orientation are, we’re skaters and we’ve got skaters’ backs.” Contrary to the “hard ass” attitude put off by the brand over the decade(s), they took an unwavering stand on Brian’s behalf.
Skateboarding has begun to hit a tipping point of popularity, where those running the brands, teams and organizations in the industry need to remind their followers of where skaters stand, who skaters are and why we’re all listening in the first place. Skateboarding started as a complete fringe activity. Something middle-aged Americans would look down upon and elders of our culture would literally scorn. Skateboarders had no choice but to band together and stick up for one another. The only other option was to retreat into whatever other life we would settle with. It was either keep skating or give up. Over the last 25 years that street skateboarding has been alive, it has grown tremendously, shrunk almost as much and has seen a huge change in audience.
Skateboarding has become cool, yet again, in the greater American (and even international) society. And it has become shrouded by that coolness to include fair-weather fans, “posers” and those looking to take advantage of the industry. As little or as much as those people pay attention to actual skateboarding, they look up to skaters for their style, resilience and lifestyle. And now that it has the current limelight of hip urban culture, it’s important to remind the masses that skateboarding was built on inclusion. It was founded on the fact that if you skate, you’re cool. And petty opinions on human traits such as homosexuality do not alter our willingness to help our brothers and sisters.
Antihero has never compromised who they are as a team or as a brand, but they did show the skateboarding world that gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or however else you personify your sexuality, a skateboarder is a skateboarder. Period.
Brian Anderson is as much a legend now as he was before he came out. He’s as much a legend now as he was when he closed the doors at 3D Skateboards. The only thing that has changed is the fact that he has a board graphic shares Antihero’s name and his own.
Welcome to Antihero, Brian. We’re stoked they’ve got your back and glad that skateboarding does as well.
Keep skating, everyone.