Shine My Crown Read by Alexa
Skateboarding is considered a subculture to many. However, there aren’t too many images of Black female skateboarders in the media — or anywhere for that matter.
Proper Gnar, the first skateboard company owned by a Black female, is revolutionizing how women of color are represented in the skate world.
The company was founded in 2012 by Latosha Stone. According to the Proper Gnar website, Latasha is on a mission “to banish the stereotypes and orchestrate the beginning of a new dawning. Her brand empowers, uplifts, and showcases women, especially women of color, to jump onboard and skate.”
She quit her factory job during the pandemic to focus on the brand full-time.
Her boards are pretty gnarly. A melange of bold, beautiful Black imagery and feminine colorways. And she doesn’t just do boards. Proper Gnar offers a wide range of skatewear and accessories.
Latosha has been working hard on her brand for close to a decade — and it’s paying off. After being added to Beyonce’s directory of Black-owned businesses, she’s been getting major looks from the media. But the work is just beginning.
“There’s been a lot of support around the brand, I feel like my people really got my back. It’s a weird place to be in because there’s so much negative going on in the world,” she said in an interview with Paper Magazine. “But at the same time the brand is doing well. I’m essentially dealing with ups and downs at the same time. For instance, something good will happen with Proper Gnar but then I think about things like Breonna Taylor and how the police who killed her are still free.”
Latosha was recently featured as a stunt double on the DC comics series “Naomi.” Her sights are set on ensuring the film world is more inclusive of Black skateboarders. She called the on-screen experience “life-chaging.”
“Now I know for sure that I want to do more skate filming and acting because that is so fun. How it came about was, I was in this skate girl group chat on Instagram and they sent the casting,” she shares with Yeah Girl. “I submitted and they hired me as an extra first, but then they were like, well you look like the lead so we’re going to bump your rates and you can be her stunt double and all you have to do is skate around.”
Latosha tells Paper she hopes she can be a shining example of individuality to others.
“I want to show people that you don’t have to look or dress a certain way to be a skater, and you don’t have to be amazing at it either. It’s cool to be a beginner, you don’t have to be able to do these crazy tricks, as long as you’re on a board and having fun, you’re a skater.”