Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Interview By Migdol

If you should one day meet Terell Robinson, his warm smile and calm friendly manner would never reveal his past to you. You would never guess that he came from a world where you could be skating a flat bar one minute and watching a guy get his head bashed in with a baseball bat the next. Terell’s family was entrenched in the 90’s gang wars of inner city of Los Angeles. While a lot of his peers of today were getting rides in mommy’s SUV from their nice comfortable little suburban homes to the skatepark, Terell was literally living in a war zone. At the tender age of 5 he watched his aunt and her boyfriend get gunned down in their front yard. You could say skateboarding saved his life, though Terell credits his grandmother and uncle with that. When you’ve gone through the kind of shit he has, the low points of a skateboarding career are trivial.

I CALLED YOUR FRIEND CARLOS AND TALKED TO HIM FOR A WHILE. HE’S A GOOD DUDE I LIKE THAT GUY.
Yeah, he’s like my brother, that’s my nigga. I love that guy. We grew up together. We’ve been through battles and wars, whatever you want to call it. We’ve been through a lot of shit together and we’ve still got a good friendship going.

LIKE WHAT, WHAT KIND OF WARS DID YOU GUYS GO THROUGH?
Just street wars, we were running from gangs all the time. Where we grew up it wasn’t like you could just walk down the street at 9 o clock at night with out having something to protect you on you. People out there will fuck with you.

LIKE WHAT, HAVE YOU BEEN ROBBED LATELY?
I actually got robbed walking to the Mobile station to get some minutes for my Boost Mobile phone. I was walking and three Bloods asked me for a dollar. I gave them a dollar and whatever. I walked out and cuz just stuck me up. He was like, “Yo, give me your phone.” I was like, “Man, fuck the phone, it ain’t worth my life. “ I called my cousins and they came and got me and went searching for them but I don’t really care about retaliationthat shit isn’t really me.

Terell Robinson KF noseslide

Terell Robinson Kick Flip Nose Slide. Sequence Sean Peterson.

If you should one day meet Terell Robinson, his warm smile and calm friendly manner would never reveal his past to you. You would never guess that he came from a world where you could be skating a flat bar one minute and watching a guy get his head bashed in with a baseball bat the next.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW IF YOU WEREN’T RIDING A SKATEBOARD?
Seriously, I’d probably be in jail with my dad or something, or playing basketball, no college, and no high school diploma, nothing. Actually if it wasn’t for my grandmother and everything that she has done for me I wouldn’t be shit.

SO WHY DON’T YOU BREAK DOWN WHAT YOUR LIFE WAS LIKE GROWING UP.
I lived with my grandmother ever since I came out my mom. I’ll tell you that. It was a weird situation. My dad threatened my mom, and was like, “You’re giving my son to my mom”. My dad made my mom give me up to my grandmother.

WHY DID HE DO THAT?
She got mad because he brought another woman to the hospital when I was being born. So he kind of fucked up and my mom got mad at that shit. Basically, he was like, “Your going to get mad at me, I’m going to fuck you over”. I’ve got love for my mom but because I haven’t been around her, it is a different bond between me and her. When I go around her I’m, like, “Hi mom”. And that is it.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET TO SEE HER?
There was one time when I hadn’t seen my mom for like three or four years. Now I see her like once every three or four months. I actually try and go see my little brothers and sisters and give her the opportunity for my mom to see me and see how well I am doing. I still love my mom but the bond is not there. Even with my dad, I don’t have any bond with him.

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Crooks Photo: Herman Jimenez

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAD. CARLOS TELLS ME YOUR DAD IS A CRIP.
Yeah, he is OG though, he aint with it no more. He is OG, you see him and your like, “Oh that’s an original gangster right there. Don’t fuck with him”, kind of thing. My dad ran Butler Block, that’s my street.

IS HE IN JAIL RIGHT NOW?
No actually he’s not, I am surprised that he’s been out for the amount that he has been out. My dad seriously has goes to jail in and out, in and out, it’s been two years he’s been out of jail. I moved to Silmar with my uncle for two years. He straightened me out. Basicly my uncle is my dad and my grandmother is my mother and grandmother. I thank them both. My uncle took me out of Compton and moved me to the Valley. All my friends made fun of me, they were like, “You Valley boy”. I’m like, “Alright”. He was never into Gang banging. Basicly I am my Uncle when he was my age. That’s what he tells me all the time. He loved to play basketball. Instead of basketball I skateboard.

HOW MANY TIMES HAS YOUR DAD BEEN SHOT?
My grandmother tells me that my dad has nine lives. He’s been shot like seven times. The gnarliest one was he got shot in the back of his ear but the bullet bounced off his skull. The bullet didn’t go through. Man, an angel was looking over my dad that night. You just don’t get shot in the back of the head and not die. You know what I mean?

WHO SHOT HIM?
A Latino gang shot him.

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Switch Variel Heel Flip. Sequence: Sean Peterson.

WHERE DO YOU FIT IN WITH ALL THIS?
Well, just to keep me motivated I got to just keep skating, stay out of the hood and I’ll be good. I’m not trying to get caught up in no bullshit I am just trying to make this skate thing happen. I am only the second one in my family to graduate High School. I can look back and say that it is all because of my grandmother and my uncle that helped me out. There are a lot of black people really getting into skateboarding right now. That makes me happy because I come from a gang-banger family. Shit in my family you either gang bang or you die, you wind up sitting on your mom’s couch until you’re twenty five and don’t do shit with your life. I am just happy to see a lot of black skateboarders that I can look up to, Antwaun, Terry, all these dudes I respect them.

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Fakie Flip. Photo: Sean Peterson

SO DO YOU HOLD ANY ANIMOSITY TOWARD YOUR MOTHER FOR GIVING YOU UP TO YOUR DAD’S MOM?
No not at all, I was too young to understand it. I am too used to my grandmother. I have a grudge against my father for the shit he’s done. Not knowing that he had a fucking son he needed to take care of and going to jail all the time. You go out into the world and do stupid shit while you have your mom take care of your son. My dad tried to punish me while he was in jail. My grandmother told me to do something like homework or something and I didn’t do it and my dad tried to tell me that I couldn’t leave the house for a week. I was like, “your in Jail, and your gonna tell me not to leave the house for a week?” Your not here to be my father so you can’t really tell me what to do. If my grandmother tells me I am not going outside that’s it end of discussion no argument.

SO WHAT WERE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE GOT PUT AWAY FOR? I HEARD HE BEAT UP SOME COPS OR SOMETHING, IS THAT TRUE?
I think I was like 4 when that happened. He took my grandmother’s car and the cops went after him so he came back home and runs into the house and there are like 4 cops outside. My dad walks out and is like, “Fuck ya’ll, you’re not taking me to jail”. So one cop runs up and tries to grab him and my dad fucked him up, then another cop runs up and he does the same thing, just fucks him up, he fucked them all up. He beat like three or four cops up. My grandmother was like, “Your on your own. I am not going to save your ass”. They all rushed him and finally arrested him.
WHERE YOU THERE?
I was in the house but I didn’t know what was going on at the time because I was so young. I witnessed my aunt get shot. I was about 5 years old at the time and my aunt was kicking it with this dude outside in front of my house. I have two big assed bushes in front of my house and they were kickin it and a low rider just kept passing by and these guys just walked up and started shooting at the dude my aunt was hanging with. My aunty lived but she was all fucked up. The dude died in my bushes. He passed on right there. I ran outside and I looked down and my aunty was laying there just bleeding everywhere. She was like, “Its okay honey, don’t worry”. My grandma yelled at me to get back into the house.

YOU MIGHT HAS WELL HAVE GROWN UP IN DOWNTOWN BAGDAD DURING THIS WAR THAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW. YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH A WAR PRETTY MUCH. PEOPLE HAVE NO CLUE THAT THIS KIND OF SHIT GOES DOWN LIKE 1/2 AN HOUR’S DRIVE FROM THEIR PRETTY HOUSES IN SUBURBIA. YOU WERE JUST A KID BORN INTO THAT WORLD, IT’S NOT LIKE IT WAS YOUR CHOICE.
Yeah, yeah.

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Backside 180 Fakie Nosegrind. Photo: Sean Peterson.

CARLOS WAS TELLING ME THIS STORY ABOUT WHEN YOU GUYS WERE SKATING THIS SPOT AND YOU SAW A GUY GET HIS HEAD SMASHED IN WITH A BASEBALL BAT.
Oh yeah, oh my goodness, that shit was crazy. We were skating up in the hood and all of a sudden we hear this big ass argument and we turn to look and there’s this dude with a bat chasing someone and it was fucking gnarly. The guy just swung the bat and it was like, “ding.” He just hit him like Ken Griffey. I was like, “FUCK what the fuck just happened.” He killed him right there. We just shook and beat it. That shit fucks with your head.

I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN COVERED BEFORE BUT WHY DON’T YOU TELL US ABOUT WHEN YOU GOT SHOT RECENTLY.
It happened last year. I got shot in the ass. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were shooting at someone else and I caught one of the bullets. I was inside and the guy was outside and they just pulled up and shot the place up. They made sure they got him. My family was pissed. They visited me in the hospital and went searching for the dudes. They went out riding that night packed with nines, techs, I don’t what they had but they were packing. It wasn’t meant for me so why should I retaliate? I’m not like that.

SO TELL US ABOUT HOW SKATEBOARDING CAME INTO Terell Robinson’s LIFE. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
A friend of mine just rode by on a skateboard and I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. He, kickflipped right in front of me. I had a basketball in my hand and I was like, “Oh damn, how do you do that?” I went to his house and asked him if I could borrow his skateboard. I tried to skate for a month. On Christmas my grandmother bought me a Mongoose skateboard from JC Penny. I was psyched.

HOW DID YOU PROGRESS? HOW DID Terell Robinson GET TO BE SO GOOD?
I’d just look down at the board and was like, “Let me try this”. I just would try and go fakie and nollie. The first video that I saw was Misled Youth. My favorite skateboarder is Adrian Lopez no matter what. Andrew Reynolds and Jamie Thomas are the ones that I look up to. The main thing that motivated and influenced me was Misled Youth. Seeing them jump down that rails like that made me want to do it, my uncle made me a flat bar.

WAS YOUR GRANDMA SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR SKATEBOARDING?
She was like, “You aint gonna get nothing with that”. But now she is excited.

YOU’RE STARTING TO GET SOME CHECKS.
Yeah I hook her up. I don’t leave her empty handed. If I get something she has it too. I still can’t give her back what she has given me all her life.

AFTER YOU SAW MISLED YOUTH YOU HAD TO FIND A LITTLE CREW TO SKATE WITH RIGHT?
Yeah that’s where Carlos came into play. We would skate all day everyday. To this day we still skate all day everyday. I’ll go out to Compton and we’ll pull the flat bar out and skate all day. We are just brothers. If he doesn’t have a board, he’ll tell me and I’ll bring him one right away.

Terell Robinson

Terell Robinson Roof Gap Tre Flip. Sequence: Sean Peterson.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE HAPPEN TO Terell Robinson’s CAREER IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
I just want to have fun with it and be happy with skateboarding. I don’t want to take it too personally. I know I have to take care of business. I want all my sponsors to see that. I want everyone involved with skateboarding to see that. I want to achieve something. I want to be like Andrew Reynolds or Jamie Thomas still going for it.

TELL US YOUR SPONSORS REALLY QUICKLY.
City Skateboards, Vans Shoes, Split Clothing, Hubba Wheels, Destructo Trucks, Project Hardware, 118 Boardshop, Doyouskate.com, and my Camaro.

 

 

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