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Top Ten Black Snowboarders of Now!

Black History Month is upon us, we feel it’s a great opportunity to recognize the diversity in snowboarding. Now, a few years back, we made a list of the top ten black snowboarders of all time. Sadly, we had to include a couple musicians and some thugged out white kids to complete the list. But fast forward 7 years and we think MLK would be proud at how far we’ve come. So we present a list of the 10 black snowboarders you should know or stay on the look out for. MOCHA BOYS UNITE

Jayell White A.K.A (THE NEW YORK CONNECT)
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Repolia Robison A.K.A ( MINNESOTA KILLA )

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Dillon Ojo A.K.A (STREET KING)

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Kody Williams A.K.A ( PRETZAL KING)

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https://vimeo.com/146825329
Brolin Mawejje A.K.A (OLYMPIC CONTENDER)

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Stephon Deifer A.K.A (STERPH)

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Jonathan McDonald A.K.A (MAMBA)

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Stevie Bell A.K.A ( I WISH YOU WERE MY DAD)

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Russell Winfield A.K.A (THAT GUY)

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Keir Dillon A.K.A (PIPE JOCKEY)

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Daniel Brown A.K.A (YOUNG DB)

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All photos stolen from the internet. Used without permission. 

Kody Williams Pretzels his Way Through Hump Day

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 A  21-year-old ripper fresh out of London, Ontario, Kody Williams moved to Big Bear to improve and show off his many talents on a snowboard. Aggressively savage on a snowboard, he currently holds the official title of “pretzel king,” along with being one of the coolest dudes in town. We sat and  chatted for several hours and let me tell you, this kid is a riot. From peeing on friends to dropping hammers, he will be someone to look out for in the near future. So without further ado, I introduce to you, Kody Williams!

RF: How did your career start?  When did people start to notice you?

KW: It felt slow at first.  But, that all changed when I moved from London, Ontario to Big Bear, California.  You see, Alone Snowboards had been hooking me up at that time but were not too stoked when Gnarly started hooking me up with gear.

RF: Why did Alone have beef with Gnarly sponsoring you also?

KW: Hahahaha.  Well, I stopped wearing their gear all together and just got down with the Gnarly program.  One thing led to another and they dropped me.  Trust me, I wasn’t too upset about it to say the least.

RF: After Alone dropped out, how long did it take you to acquire a new board sponsor?  And how did it happen?

KW: Basically a year.  My homies were giving me their old boards to ride for a while.  Then, Brandon Cordell from Burton noticed that I was riding a bunch of different boards in my 2k14 edit and asked what the deal was.  A little bit before last year’s HDHR, Brandon hooked me up with fresh gear and decks.

 

RF: So, let’s talk Burton.  What are your thoughts on Burton dropping the Knowbuddy team?  Was it spontaneous or was it something everybody saw coming?  Is Burton still sponsoring you?

KW: It’s totally fucked.  The whole Knowbuddy team was sick.  Basically, one day a mass email was sent out that read “R.I.P Knowbuddy.”  Yeah, it was pretty much out of the blue.  I am still sponsored by Burton.  They actually just sent me a new snowboard.  I spray painted “Knowbuddy” on the top and called it a day.

RF:  So, word on the street is that Burton is having their riders exclusively model their gear instead of featuring them actively performing in it.  Is this true?

KW: Haha, yeah. It is true.  I was kicking it with Wilkyboi not too long ago and he actually had to leave to do a photoshoot for them!  It’s all good though.

RF: Kody, every time an edit drops- you are always in a new city tearing it up.  How do you finance these trips?  Does Burton fund any of your travel expenses?  

KW:  No, they don’t.  They just hook me up with product at the moment.  I also work for a professional roofing company.  My boss, Jamie Bates, should definitely start snowboarding again.  Also, my parents are a huge help and they support me 100%.  It’s super tight!

RF: Do you have an exercise regimen?  Do you do yoga and eat kale?  Because you must have hips of steel, the way you have been pretzel-ing out of rails.  I feel like they should have blown out by now?

KW: Naw, I actually should probably get into something like that.  Like maybe start stretching or something…

RF: What is it like being black in a predominantly white sport?

KW: It has actually helped me.  Haha.  It has turned me into somewhat of a commodity… Like a black hockey player.

RF: I heard that you are featured in the upcoming Footyfiend movie, is that true? Do you know when Jordan will most likely be dropping that fire?  And, is there anything that we should know beforehand?

KW: Know this- you guys aren’t ready for the all out fire that’s going to come out of it!  Hahaha.  And, it could drop at any moment.  No one knows when he will do it.  JUST BE READY!

 

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RF: How was your experience at HDHR this year?  Care to share some insight on what happened with your gear? 

KW: Well, throughout my first run of the competition, I could feel that my binding was acting goofy.  All of a sudden, it broke!  I asked Wilkyboi if there were any that I could borrow.  He found a pair, but unfortunately it didn’t work with my board.  So, Lucas Magoon gave me his deck, which was so big.  It was a sketchy ride, to say the least.  In the end, it all worked out though.  The homie, Justin Mulford, ended up loaning me his board, which was a much better fit.

RF: So in an early edit of you, I peeped you making out with a gang of females.  Do the females flock to Kody?

KW: Hahaha.  NO.  Not at all.

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RF: Tell me the most embarrassing moment you have ever had with all the homies?

(LENNY MAZZOTTI chimes in)

LM: I’m going to just lay it on you plain and simple.  When Kody gets drunk, he likes to pee.  One night, we went to Sonora Cantina.  We had a few drinks there.  Then we went to the AV nightclub where we continued our consumption.  By the end of the night, Kody was shitfaced.  I had to carry his ass home.  Haha.  Well, that was a big mistake.  Right before I could get him into bed, he started to unleash hell on my shoulder.  And, when I mean hell, I am talking about the hottest piss stream that I have ever felt! Hahaha.  But he will always be my best friend.

 

RF: Well my brother, it has been a pleasure interviewing you.  I will be rooting for you as you climb your way to the top.  Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out too?

KW- Yeah, Yeah.  Shout out to my parents for putting up with me despite all the stress that I am constantly putting them through.  Haha.  They never know where I am.  Should out to my aunt, Neat!  She always hooks me up and lets me know what’s good.

Shout out to the homies that I grew up riding with back in London- Chris Fellner, Jeff Howlette, Sean G, Kirby Kustok, and probably more that I am forgetting… And shout out to the homies from Ontario too! Pocket Figures krew!

https://vimeo.com/126473685

 

 

 

Vice Sports: The Ugandan Snowboarder Gunning for the Olympics

Brolin Mawejje is trying to make it to the Olympics, the first Ugandan snowboarder ever to do so, but don’t stop paying attention yet. Vice Sports spent some time with him to get the story of how he went from the slums of Africa to the mountains of America and god damn if it doesn’t warm our cold, cold hearts just a little.

Ron Has Words with Sage Kotsenburg

Yobeat’s culture specialist Ron Fleming is back and not scared to ask today’s top pros the tough questions. First up in the hot seat, Olympic Snowboard Slopestyle Gold Medalist and Wheaties Cover Model Sage Kotsenburg.

A Tribute to Black Snowboarding

In honor of Martin Luther King JR, we’ve decided to do a post celebrating snowboarding’s rich, albeit small, African American heritage. Luckily, our friends over at Ski-Bums dug up these classic Moments in Darkness from Funblock films, which cover the olden days pretty well.

In these more modern times though, a new crew of black riders — Dillon Ojo, Austin Leonard, Daniel Brown, Jonathan McDonald — have emerged and injected our sport with plenty of flavor. Here’s the most recent tribute to black culture from none other than Russell Winfield, The Blackout Edit.

Happy MLK Day everyone.

Dillon Ojo’s Hump Day Blackout

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Le Black. Photo: Jerome Page

Dillon Ojo is boss in training. A breath of fresh air in a room of stale farts. Putting a lot of pros to shame, too. He has the board control, the right style, the right attitude and the talent to back it up. Mindblowing. A game changer. Russell Winfield was quick to preach the gospel of Dillon Ojo too, “Oh you mean my boy Ojo Cinco??? Yeah, he looked real good in the combine aka Superpark. He is a real good kid who loves to get his shred on. He is doin’ it right. He has great style and he is dating a blonde – kinda reminds me of myself. I think he needs to come up here to Washington and ride some pow with me. I would like him to take the same road as Pat Moore and dudes like that. Start off in the streets and end up on mountain tops. Ya feel me?” Bringing a presence to a sport severely lacking with so much white bread, It’s awesome to see this just-turned-18 young buck from Montreal finally getting noticed. I caught up with him at his parent’s house. He was doing his homework but put the books down to talk shred. Meet Dillon Ojo. Radical ripper in the making. Bow down. Le Black has arrived.

How did you get into snowboarding?

I got into it around the age of 14. It was just something I felt like trying. I got into it at my local hill — Mont Saint-Bruno. After I met the crew I ride with today, they showed me pretty much everything I know and that’s the Bruners crew. They are all of my best friends that I hangout with today.

What was your first day like?

My first day was actually horrible (laughing). I didn’t take any courses or anything and I just grabbed my cousins’ board and went to the hill. I just bombed down the hill. I didn’t know how to stop. To stop I would just cut and flip down the hill. I was just flipping down the hill. The only black kid at the hill and everyone was laughing at me! It was embarrassing. After awhile I got better and I really got into it.

When in doubt, just ass it out.

Exactly (laughing).

 

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What was better – your first day snowboarding or losing your virginity?

Losing my virginity was probably a lot better because who doesn’t like losing their virginity (laughing)? My first time I blew it. It was real weird. I blew it snowboarding the first time, too! They both kind of sucked. Losing my virginity was better.

What was your first setup?

I don’t even know! It was plastic bindings, plastic board. It had two screws for each binding.

Good times though, huh?

Awesome! The board kind of sucked. Whenever I would fall, those bindings would actually move around because it was such a crappy board. My first actual good board was a Apo Selecta and it had the Union/Airblaster collab bindings.

Your nickname is‚ Le Black. Has this nickname ever offended you?

No, not at all! I actually like it. It’s funny because here in Quebec there are no black folks. It’s cool and that name is really good because I am one of the only ones. I am known as “Le Black.” When you say “Le Black” you know that’s me!

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Where are your parents from?

My dad is from Trinidad and Mom is from Montreal.

Does it bug you that people talk about your race in relation to snowboarding?

No, I don’t mind it at all. There aren’t that many black people in snowboarding. Durrell Williams, Russell Winfield, Stevie Bell, Austin Leonard — yeah…That’s about it (laughing)?

Snowboarding is turning into wakeboarding. It’s so fucking white, expensive and boring.

That blackout edit! Right there was like ¾’s of the known black snowboarding community.

You really beat some ass down at Big Bear last month for HDHR besting all the pro and hoes. What was your secret?

I didn’t have one really. I was just hoping to win. I think I had $50 bucks left in my account and so I was like, “I need to win some money!” I went there with the mentality I was going to do everything and hope for the best. I finished second.

Is this a good omen for the start of this season?

Oh, it’s great! That comp is scene here in Quebec is some big thing. That helped me out. Everyone was so stoked on that and that gave me even more coverage out in the States. That’s the main thing — trying to get coverage in the States. The snowboard scene is big in Quebec but everything revolves around what is going on in the states. Anything I can do to help my name outside of Quebec is perfect of me.

Dillon_ojo_photo_ricard_hopeGang signs. Photo: Richard Hope

I read that you only learned French a couple years back. How is that possible in Montreal?

I don’t know (laughing). I went to school and took French and was never really interested to learn it. In high school I didn’t learn that much. When I started snowboarding, I met the guys that I snowboard with today and they’re all French. It was hard talking to them. I only spoke English. Because of them that’s how I got my French and now I can basically speak it fluent. I have been speaking French for 4 years now. Some people here in Quebec don’t even know that I am English.

When I said I was going to talk to you, everyone said, “Does he speak English?” I responded, “I heard Dillon barely speaks French!”

When I go to the states everyone thinks I am French (laughing). Sometimes I just try talking in French just to make things fun. Usually I just say, “Dude, I am English. You don’t have to try talking in French!” And everyone is like, “Oh! I thought you were French!”

In Quebec City you don’t usually find many people who will speak English to you.

If you speak in English in Quebec City you will have some people who will try but most people will just get pissed and flip you off because you are talking in English (laughing). Montreal is not as bad. Montreal is like at least a good ½ English when you go into town.

Growing up, whom did you most like to emulate on your snowboard?

The first year I hardly even knew anything about snowboarding. I just strapped in and went. I didn’t know any names — pros or anything. I didn’t have any background information. The first movie I watched was Bandwagon. That was all the big name jibbers out from Quebec. I pretty much looked up to them. When I first started hanging with the Bruners now, my friends, they were the ones who inspired me to do what I am doing and they were the ones who helped me get where I am today in snowboarding so everything I do is thanks to them, so they are my main heroes.

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So many lifeys. Photo: Jerome Page

What is the most important – peace and joy or wisdom?

Peace and joy for sure. For me, the main thing in life is just to have fun and to care about friends and family.

What is Dillon Ojo’s spirit animal?

A black bear (laughing). I don’t know. I just thought of an animal that was black and then bears are pretty boss. I am not saying that I am boss, but it would be cool to be a black bear.

With lots of snow, lax restrictions, lack of rent-a-cops, and a police force who turns a blind eye, the urban landscape of Quebec City and Montreal have become a gold mine for snowboarding. Is there anything else that helps make these places a mecca? Dillon drop some knowledge on us.

You almost just mentioned everything. Quebec’s got everything you could think of — from shredding the kinks to perfect down rails. You could just drive around Quebec and go by spot by spot by spot. People think Quebec is dying down in spots! That’s because everyone always looks at the same ones. People from Quebec find spots everyday that no one knows about. The place is so big and there is so much elevation and there are so many rails. Cops are really chill. A lot of times you will get kicked out like anywhere in the world but most of the time they will be chill and pretend like they didn’t even see you. You’re not going to find any backcountry, or powder or big hills, or good parks in Quebec. All you are going to have is the streets. Everyone learns in the streets.

Do you eat a lot of poutine, drink a lot of Molson and eat at Tim Horton’s a lot?

Yeah (laughing). I go to Tim Horton’s about every 2 days. I grab a nice cappuccino and a donut. Poutine I don’t eat that much. Back in the day I ate so much It doesn’t even excite me anymore. Molson? I usually drink ghetto stuff like Carling and Pabst, that kind of stuff.

How could snowboarding be more radical?

It can always get more radical. Just look at how snowboarding is progressing today. Once a year an extra cork gets thrown in! Rail Riding! People go bigger or get more creative with things. Snowboarding is never going to stop progressing I think. There is always going to be new ways to make it better, or cooler, or snowboarders taking tricks in more of a skateboard direction for rail riding and now people are starting to hit more skate spots that back in the day weren’t even a spot to hit. Park riding is also getting bigger and crazier. I just think snowboarding is always to keep progressing because everyone is going to always have an open mind to think of new things.

With Canadian health care do you get free medical marijuana?

No we don’t. You can get a pass for medical marijuana but there aren’t all those marijuana shops. You can’t get it as easy as you can in the States. You really have to have some crazy sickness or know the doctor.

Arthur Ashe, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama – all the super white, stiff country club sports eventually get toppled. Are you the black Jesus who has come to save snowboarding?

No, the black Jesus of snowboarding is Russell Winfield (laughing)! Definitely goes to Russell. Russell invited me this winter to come out and ride some powder with him. I have never hit powder in my life. I have never stepped on a powder board. I am fucking psyched that he is pretty much going to be the master and I am going to be the grasshopper to that.

Russell Winfield is going to pop your powder cherry.

Yeah (laughing).

You took the year off of school to film‚ Bangarang. The part speaks for itself – it’s insane! How else did you mentally prepare for a video part most pros would give their left testicle for?

That was my first winter off school. My goal was to get something that got people talking. That got my name out. That’s why I took the winter off. I am trying to make something out of snowboarding. That’s my passion. I love it. It’s the most fun thing there is in the world. This winter I am thinking school off again. I am going to put out a better part and see how it goes.

Where does Dillon Ojo go from here?

Well, hopefully up. I am going to film another part this year and see where that gets me. My goal is to have fun, but if I can get people hyped and people to help me pursue this sport that’s all I want. That’s what I am going for. That’s my dream.

Sponsors?

Stepchild Snowboards, Union Bindings, Empire boardshop, Thirtytwo, LRG, Etnies, Gshock, Dragon, Pop Headwear, Duh Bolts

The Blackout

Black snowboarders are totally trending right now, so it was only a matter of time until we got one edit with all of them! Russell Winfield made it happen and even threw in one white chick and Riff Raff’s brother for good measure.

Far From Home — From Uganda to the Tetons

Here’s a little video we’re posting sans any irony. It looks like it’s going to be a damn heartwarming tale of Brolin Mawejje’s journey from Africa to snowboarder/medical student and red-blooded American.

Coming from humble beginnings in Uganda, Brolin Mawejje found his way to America as a 12 year old only to face abandonment and isolation. Through luck and determination, Brolin found his niche in the snowboard community. The snowboarding journey he has embarked on has taken him from the icy slopes of the east coast to Jackson Hole and now Salt Lake City, UT. A current pre-med student at Westminster College, Brolin aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon along with intentions of representing Uganda in the 2018 Winter Olympics for the first time.

Far From Home: Uganda to the Tetons will tell his story through the organic dialogue of those who either helped him along or tossed him aside. The film will retrace Brolin’s steps from his early life in America, to his monumental achievements as a state wrestler, nationally ranked snowboarder, and neuro-oncology intern at Harvard.

Hot damn, we might just add him to the list. For more info check out http://www.farfromhomemovie.com/

Promo Shot: Gabby Maiden

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Gabby Maiden snowboards, and reads YoBeat for FUN! So weird.

See all our fans HERE!

MLK DAY Coverage: The Top 10 Black Snowboarders of ALL TIME

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Obscure file photo

If Martin Luther King Jr were a snowboarder, he would have lobbied for cheaper lift tickets, shorter lift lines and equal coverage of halfpipe and slopestyle. Unfortunately, MLK missed out on the action, so we had to come up with something else to pay tribute to him on his 80th birthday. So we present YoBeat’s list of the top ten black snowboarders of all time.

1. Russell Winfield: There has to be a first for everything, and Russell Winfield paved the way for the nine other riders we’re about to talk about. He also made a solid mark on the map as a drunken badass during the glorious Whiskey days. Ask anyone one who remembers when and they will tell you, Russell was a total asshole, who could ride hard and party harder. He’s tough to top.

2. Keir Dillon: Keir is an amazing rider who’s signature trick, the Keir roll, made him much more than just a halfpipe-shredding novelty.  Solid video-parts, contest results, and a long career lock Keir in at number two.

3. Stevie Bell: Stevie said it himself in the Forum release Forum or Against em’, he’s black and he’s good. From his parts in Tech Nine flicks to his banger part in the latest Forum movie, Stevie has become not only our number three pick but also one of the most impressive up and coming pros out there today.

4. Ben Hinkley: Before Shaun White or Travis Rice, there was one household name in snowboarding. Well, actually you probably didn’t know his name, but you did know “that dude who did double front flips in the X Games.” That’s why the lawn dart himself makes our list at number four.

5. Ahmon Stamps: Ahmon Stamps is a northwest staple, his gleaming smile brightening up any opening day. He had a pro model Grenade glove and was known to inform campers of his “favorite place to pass out” in Government Camp while giving the High Cascade tour. That last fact alone puts him at a comfy number five.

6. Gabby Maiden: As the first female on this list, Gabby earned her place with not just good looks and some techy rail moves, but by being easily the most recognized snowboarder, ever. Don’t believe us? Try riding Tahoe with her and not hearing every person yell “Gabby!” as you ride by.

7. Lil John: He might not be technically “pro” but the dude probably puts more money into the snowboard industry than sixty snowboarders combined. Plus, he gets after it. “Yeah” John, lucky number seven.

8. Kory Wright: Not be to confused with the alleged kidnapper Kory Wright, who is very, very white, this Wright is actually originally from the Bahamas. Gaining fame for being from the unlikely locale for a ‘boarder, and an Olympic hopeful, Kory swoops in at number eight.

9. Seal: Google image search Seal and you’ll likely find proof of his snowboard prowess, and word has it he rides with Shaun White. Add his marriage to Heidi Klum and he’s an obvious choice for number nine, beating out other contender such as Coolio, Dre Dog and the Game.

10. Tie: Travis Kennedy and Mitch Reed. They’ve both been dropped from their sponsors at one time or another, but no one will dare call it racism.