Skateboarder Boo Johnson Just Likes to Have Fun | In episode 52 of Light Culture Podcast, Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits talks to professional skateboarder Boo Johnson.
Just Have Fun, the name of Boo Johnson’s skatewear company, is also a mantra he lives by. Despite personal and global tragedies, his optimistic personality and outlook on life persist. Staying true to himself has made him one of the most inspirational figures in the culture today. Boo joins David on Light Culture to give an optimistic message of persistance, discipline, fun, and positivity.Read Transcript
In my opinion, Boo Johnson could have been a professional football player. He was that good an athlete. Instead, he became a professional skateboarder. One of the biggest names in the sport today. I know that he could have been a pro at football, or maybe other things, because when he skates, I see he has the power and the grace and commitment it takes to make it at the highest level of any athletic undertaking. Instead, he decided to hang up his cleats and pads in favor of t-shirts and Vans. Because more than anything, he wanted to just have fun. The name of a skateboard company he started, and a mantra he lives by. Today, he’s a super star of a sport that doesn’t take its outsider status lightly. Even as it’s become an Olympic event, an industry with sponsorships, clothing lines, and its own media apparatus. Staying authentic and just having fun remains the name of the game. Welcome, Boo Johnson.
My brother, man, that was a beautiful intro. [laughter] I have no words, man. That was amazing, David. Thank you, dude.
Well, you know, you deserve it, man. I do some good research, I talk to people, I try to have a perspective on who my guest is. And in your case, I have to say, I was totally impressed to learn about your regimen. The way you approach what you do, and life, and everything else. That makes it, warranted to give you this introduction. And also, there’s a lot of stuff I left out too.
Yeah, man. Thank you. [laughter] Thank you.
I know you’ve been through some, uh, personal difficult hardships recently. As well as being involved in the Black Lives Matter protest. But first, let’s talk about what’s good in your life. What do you feel good about right now?
Ah, man, there’s so much good in life right now. The positive, I wake up and just that’s what I see. You know? It’s hard- A lot of people are on the opposite side. But I’m thankful for so many things. I mean, my family. The family’s very close right now. I’m thankful for being able to just wake up every morning and stay on my everyday routine, you know. Because my routine is everything to me. That’s what keeps me going. Waking up, having a glass of water, having a cup of coffee, and just riding my bike, walking my dog. Whatever it is, man. My dog, Smoky, dude, he keeps me so happy. I think just life, man. Life is beautiful. It’s very beautiful. I live out here in Long Beach, and I couldn’t complain, honestly.
Tell me what it’s like. You’re daily regimen. Because I see you’re exercising like a fiend. You’re riding your bike for twenty miles. How does this work? What time do you get up? You know, just give me like a play-by-play.
Usually, I’m up by six o’clock, you know. That gives me about an hour, hour and a half, before I jump on my bike. So, you know, I take Smoky on a walk. I get back to the house, have a cup of coffee. Do a nice thirty minute stretch. Stretching’s everything to me, you know, that kind of like opens up my mind. It releases a lot of stress. After I do that, jump on my bike ride by seven-thirty, eight. Ride for about two hours and that’s about, you know, twenty, thirty miles. Come home. Figure out what I got going for the rest of the day. I usually have so much going on. So, I check my schedule that my lady puts out for me. And we just go from there. But that morning routine, if I don’t handle those things in the morning, I just feel kind of spaced out. You know? Even when I go on trips for skateboarding, and I can’t wake up, walk my dog and have a cup of coffee, and have my space to stretch and meditate, it kind of throws me off. You know?
Yeah. I understand. It’s great that you have that. How did you develop that? When did you start to realize that you had to take yourself and your body so seriously?
Honestly, I always worked on my body and stayed pretty healthy, but the last three years I’ve been on my A-game. Let’s rewind like four years ago, that’s when I was in my early twenties, I was like twenty-three, twenty-four. You know, I’m making a little bit of money. I’m living in LA, going to Hollywood, I was just kind of being a little wild. Life was moving a little too fast for my- for my pace and what I was used to. Especially coming from a little town. So, about three or four years ago, I took a step back and realized I’m trying to last forever, and I’m trying to set a good example for my family, for my fans, and just for myself in general. And, yeah, it just clicked. Alright, I need to get in training mode. I don’t know what I’m training for- I’m training for life, you know. I gotta be ready. I gotta stay ready. So, I gotta get ready when it’s time to do whatever I have to do. You know?
So, you just woke up one day and you just did that? Realized that that was- it’s time to change. Or did you have some low point? Sometimes you have to get to the bottom before you can start moving up.
Exactly. So, during that weird time, I was kind of using some Xanax, sipping lean, and everything was moving slow. It was moving real slow. And that’s not what my mom taught me, that’s not what my dad taught me. And, yeah, one day, I went back to Tehachapi to visit my mom and, I never argue with my mom, like she is everything to me. She’s my world. And we got in a little argument. She broke down crying. I was crying. And she just like overheard from, you know, the grapevine that I was sipping cough syrup and this dumb stuff, and that shit hurt me so bad, seeing my mom in that much pain. It’s like when you’re like ten again and you disrespected your mom, and your heart kind of gets heavy. That was the bottom of the barrel, where I was like, “Alright. Check it out. Imma switch the game up and make sure she never feels like that again.” And make sure I don’t feel like this ever again. Because it wasn’t cool at all. And now I’m like in fucking fast mode. I’m just like, what do I need to do next? I’m up so early. I get everything done by noon. I’m like, alright, what else could I add to my plate?
What you’re saying is even more of a tribute to your ability and discipline to be able to just like make up your mind and say, “I gotta change.” And then actually do it. So many people are in that position. They decide they want to do something, but then they don’t. You know, when it comes right down to it, they don’t.
That’s exactly right, bro. Discipline has been my motivation for the past three years. That’s the word I left out. Consistency too. If you don’t have those two things, it’s very hard to like to stay in line. I haven’t eaten meat or – I’m a pescatarian. It’s been two years. I still eat fish, but I even stopped eating meat and fried chicken. Like, and those are my biggest things in the world. And for me, I mentally was able to do that and, you know, once you find that mental state of mind where you’re like, I actually do not need this in my life, and replace the bad with good- it’s everything.
Yeah. It was even harder to quit, uh, than drugs. Right? Fried chicken, man, that’s-
Oh my god.
That’s a powerful drug.
Cause It’s not like I’m against chicken or- It’s just like a mental thing. I know it’s gonna make my body feel better.
Yeah. You said you meditate in the morning as well. And I’ve seen you mention Alan Watts as somebody who you think about, and somebody who I also, used to read and spend a lot of time thinking about what he had to say.
I love that guy. He talks about every topic. Religion, whatever it is, he has those points to uplift you or just make you understand a little better.
So, how did you find him? Because I know you didn’t finish high school.
So, you don’t have much of a formal education, obviously-
I don’t, dude. Sadly.
…you’re an intelligent man.
Um. Who put me on Alan Watts?
Even, if you can’t remember exactly, the idea of reading a book and getting knowledge from that. Do you continue to do that?
I continue to do that. It just comes from knowing I didn’t graduate, and knowing I have to become aware of what I want to learn about. You know? So, certain things just catch my eye and I seek to learn more about whatever that follow. And in my life, has been like all that positivity and understanding the mind and the body over than just like booksmart. You know?
Sure. You need that experience and, you know, people can be very booksmart but very unhealthy at the same time.
Yeah. A lot of people are just clueless, man, about just being free and understanding the next person.
You’re also a businessman. But in the mean time-
…we’ve had, Black Lives Matter, and I know you were very active in Long Beach recording the events. And I saw you wrote, “Pray for mankind.” And you also posted in front of Pharmacy Boardshop, “This business is black owned.”
That’s right. Pharmacy Boardshop is a skate shop. It’s like just a core, OG skate shop. They’re originally from Palm Dale, California. They were my first sponsors. So, years down the line, I’ve been out in Long Beach for about ten years. And they came up to me like, “Yo, Boo, we’d love to open this shop with you. What do you think about partnering up with us? And, you know, you’d be part-owner of this shop.” And about three years ago, we went all in. April 20th, 2017, we opened Pharmacy Boardshop.
We’re just there for the people, you know. There’s so many skaters and so many people relevant in Long Beach that need a core skate shop and just to come out- a place to come hang out and get what you need for your board, or just fresh clothes for school. And yeah, we’ve been killing it ever since.
But, as you guys know, every downtown city was chaos for a minute. And Long Beach got it pretty bad, dude. I live right across the street from all these shopping centers, all that stuff got destroyed. And I knew they’re gonna cruise up Pine Street and tear stuff up too, so we had to board up the shop. I had to call a bunch of the local skate homies, the bigger homies, just to come out and support me and hold down the shop. Because, dude, it was so sad seeing mom and pop shops getting destroyed with the owners right in front of the shop. You know? You couldn’t really do anything when you had twenty big dudes and a bunch of kids just prying the plywood off. It was a nightmare. You know? So, luckily, I got a name for myself in Long Beach. I got a lot of people that back me. I got a lot of people that love me. And we were somehow able to hold down our shop without getting broken into. We let that pass. And June 21st, we had a huge push for a peace protest that Pharmacy hosted. We probably had two hundred kids pull back up to Pharmacy to celebrate skateboarding day and the survival of our shop. And to just push for Black Live Matter. Pharmacy is a family and everyone’s there playing their part.
Yeah. And just to say, with regards to your sister who drowned in the midst of all of that. And you had to also bear that suffering. That must have been a really difficult time.
Oh. It was insane. The crazy thing is like everyone was going through something during that time. It was really sad. Then for that to happen, I don’t know what God’s telling us right now, but me and my family just had to keep our chins up. Pray. Luckily, everyone else around us even gave us more strength to keep it going. It was a very fucked up time. You know? Very, very hard times too. But what I’ve come to realize, that’s life. We’re all gonna go one day. We live every day, but we only die once. So, we gotta make sure that we just live strong every day. Now, my sister told me to carry on and keep it going, you know. I pray every morning. I feel the energy when I got my angels on my back. You know? So, that whole incident going down too, with my sister, dude, I feel like I doubled down like three times harder because of it. You know, I almost feel like I’m going too fast, but it’s like the only thing I could do right now. And I think it’s the right thing-
it’s so great that you have a positive response to such a tragedy, and try to take that learning, and put it to good use.
It’s the only- only thing we could do. You know? There’re so many people who go through crazy tragedy incidents where they kind of take that for like, I don’t know, you almost want people to feel sorry for you. And you take it for granted. I don’t know, you’re gonna get stuck in a dark hole if you do that. You gotta look at the light. All the messages that people were sending me. The DMs, to send me flowers, to notes, like I really read every single one of those. And that’s like it- I got the chills right now. Like, that’s what makes me like, you know, life is still good. There’s still so many people out there that love Leilah, that are thinking about Leilah, that love me, if I go down a dark path, who knows how many people are gonna go down a dark path. So, it’s, you know, Boo, keep your chin up and let’s go. Cause I got, I even got a big family, dude. And I hold down the family. So, if I look weak, the whole family might feel a little weak. So, we gotta just keep the smiles up and keep the hustle one hundred, dude.
Really. And, you know, whether you like it or not, you’re a role model for the whole skateboarder industry, at least. A lot of young kids involved in that sport.
…they look up to you. And not only because of your philosophy and attitude that we’ve been hearing, uh, which is very moving and inspiring. But also because of the way you’ve handled yourself as a young man, and become a business person, being able to set yourself up and put yourself in a good position that you are today. So, what does it mean to be a world class skateboarder, as far as representing the culture?
Dude, having fun, man. Doing what you love. Showing everyone else it’s possible. It’s cool. And it keeps you out of trouble, you know. You don’t have to be the everyday basketball player, football player, there’s other sports out there that are really cool, that will take you around the world, that will show you culture, that will show you how to, evolve with other people. And just to be an entrepreneur. Cause it’s not like you have a coach telling you what to do. With skateboarding it’s like it’s all you. You gotta figure out how to kickflip. Or you gotta figure out how to maneuver. Whatever you want to do, it’s all on you. And with that mindset, you look at everything like that. You know? And not as a selfish way, but like, you know, if this isn’t working, I gotta do it like this and maybe I’ll roll away, or maybe this conversation might go a little smoother than the last time I tried it. You know? So, I think that it applies to other people in different ways. It’s like, oh, he’s just a skateboarder. It’s much more than just being a skateboarder.
But when you started out, uh, you had no idea, I think, that you would become an entrepreneur, part of the industry in the way that you are. You know, such a role model and a professional athlete. And, so when did that start to visualize? When did you start to think that, “Well, maybe there’s more to this than just having fun?” Which, you know, maybe that is everything. But, you know, what I’m saying.
Just having fun plus.
Exactly. I would say, 2011, 2012, that’s when I got my first sponsors. I started going to a couple contests. 2014 is when the game changed. That’s when I got sponsored by this company called Supra Footwear. And it was like game changing. I was going on tours around the world. I went to Australia, China, Japan, Europe, Barcelona, like you name it, you know. And that’s when I was like, “Holy shit, man. This is what I’ve seen in the- in the skate videos. This is what it feels like signing autographs.” It was weird, man. Like, 2014, I was like the young buck in the van. Like, everyone else was already pro. Everyone had their pro boards. And it was really cool, cause I was able to see these big dogs and like take in the good and the bad. You know? Cause some of the pros that I was on tour with, they’re not even in the industry no more, cause they’re on some fucked shit. Or the dudes that are still in the industry, like Stevie Williams, Chad Muska, Jim Greco, Erik Ellington, those are the dudes I was like, “Damn. Like, what, you know, what are they doing?” And I took in all that, and that’s- that’s what kind of made me the dude I am, and made me realize being a professional skateboarder is fucking beyond cool. And it comes with a lot of work and focus, and that’s what I was looking for. You know? It’s a job, but It’s not a five- or a nine to five job. You know? But it was still something that would keep me in line. I was like this is it. I can skate and be a professional person altogether. I think that’s kind of when it clicked, you know. And, of course, that’s when I started making a couple dollars and, you know, started getting- I started having- getting tax papers in the mail. I was like, “Okay. Hold on.” [laughs] “This is it.”
You got into the bureaucracy, man. You, you know, you became a wage earner, and a tax social security, tax-
At one time, skateboarding was primarily, white boys. So, what happened? And when you came in, I know Stevie Williams was someone who broke down some doors,
when you came in did you find that people were open to you?
Yeah, skateboarding has always been open to me. I won’t lie about that. My dad kind of hated on how I would dress. Cause I would wear skinny pants back then, because that was the skater style. Skinny jeans. And would buy girl pants, cause I couldn’t really find like [laughter] legit skinnies. I would get hated on that. But the skating, in general, I never really got hate from another skater. More from the hometown than skaters, “Bro, you stick with football. You could always skateboard.” I remember my coach. He’s like- I go skateboarding one time, and he had me, “Chill.” He’s like, “Yo, chill from skateboarding for a little bit. Imma get you a full complete deck after the football season. But I need you for the football season. So, just hang out, you know.” Stop skating. Play football.
It was like almost mental abuse. Where it’s like, “Yo, this skateboard’s not really for you. You need to be playing football.” You know? And after that year, I never played football. And I kind of took offense to that. You know? Alright. I’m- Imma play this just so I can get that complete skateboard at the end of the year. And I was out after that, just cause you’re black doesn’t mean you have to play football, and basketball, and this and that. You can go out and do whatever you want. And you’re gonna make it cool. It’s not just because a white boy makes it look cool. If you like it, get out there and like show them you’re talented.
And you go out into the hood yourself with, various promotions, giving out products to kids, encouraging them. Basically bringing that story to them.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. So, I do that on my own too. Like, out here in Long Beach, I’ll pop up to all the skateparks, Cherry, ghetto on Fourteenth, MLK, McBride. Like, wherever it is, Imma pop in and show them- show all the kids respect and show them what the deal is. Then I’m also sponsored by DGK, Dirty Ghetto Kids. Stevie Williams started that company. And under DGK, they have a system called Saved By Skateboarding. And Saved By Skateboarding is run by my homie, Cooley. And they pretty much go to the actual hood. They will go to the actual hood, set up, give away at least, you know, twenty complete boards to unprivileged that have never seen a board in their life. To show them, you know, a different outlook on whatever they want to do. And I think Saved By Skateboarding is one of the coolest things the skate industry is giving back right now. It’s insane, you know.
You’re smoking right now what are you smoking?
So, right now, I’m smoking some OG, dude. I smoke spliffs, so it’s a little bit of tobacco, a little bit of weed, rolled in a Raw paper.
Some people look down on that. Do you find that’s a hindrance to your ability? If you were going out skating now, would you also be doing that? Or would you not? How do you handle it?
It honestly just depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m a little sore, and I’m not like feeling all the way there, I’ll usually smoke and it kind of gets me back in the zone. Especially if it’s a sativa. But if I’m like already in my zone, I’ve had my cup of coffee, and I’m feeling it, I’ll go skate without smoking. You know? It really doesn’t matter to me. I could smoke two spliffs, or two joints, and go ride my bike for thirty miles and I’ll be perfectly fine. Or I don’t have to smoke, and ride for thirty miles. At this point in my life, I don’t think it affects me either way. Unless, I’m like smoking five joints and, you know, I’m just like fucking so- [laughter] I’m falling asleep. You know?
That’s another story. Yeah.
But I’m just hanging out. I smoke a joint or two. Either way, I’m ready to go.
Well, you used to be sponsored by Mountain Dew. Right? Was one of your sponsors. And I know that-
…came to a head. Was that because of, uh, your connection to cannabis and photos that you’ve been posting? Or was it something else? Cause I’ve heard other stories as well.
It was honestly a mix of both. They would call me monthly, like, “Hey, Boo. Do you think you could take down this video, or that photo of you like, you know, you got a joint in your hand?” This and that. It was a very consistent recall. Like, “Yo, Boo. Yo, Boo. Yo, Boo.” Then it was, they’d hit me up about like, I was getting a lot of tattoos at that time. You know, “You’re image, you know, when we first were sponsoring you, we didn’t think you would be-” It was weird. It was more like an image thing at the end of the day. You know? And one day, they gave me the call, “Yo, we gotta let you go. You know like this wasn’t out of the blue. We’ve been warning you for quite a bit.” I was like, “Yo, no worries.” I just want to do me, at the end of the day. Mountain Dew, there’s no way I’m like I’m not gonna post what I do originally every day, because you guys don’t want me to. Long story short, they gave me the boot. I was a little sad. The payment was amazing. You know? All good. Couple months later, another play fell into my hands. And it all worked out at the end of the day.
Are you referring to Weed Maps?
Yes, sir. [laughs]
So, yeah, Weed Maps is, you know, weed. Has a delivery service. Right? Or they tell you, it’s a directory to where you can go and purchase. What happened? Did they call you and say, “Why don’t you come with us?”
Yeah. That’s exactly what happened. They called me. They’re like, “Yo, we love how loyal you were to being who you are. We’re starting this program and would love to have you aboard, you know. You’re fucking one of the first dudes we’re reaching out to. What do you think?” I went down to Irvine. Went to the Weed Maps headquarters. It was fucking lit, bro. Next thing you know, I signed the contract. And the passed like three years was fucking so cool, bro. They did everything. They replaced the Mountain Dew check, replaced all the trips, all the tours, all the good times by ten.
They started a team? Is that what happened?
Yeah, man. They started a full, like, extreme sports team. So, they had a skateboarding team, they had a BMX team, they had a motocross team. So, it was cool. Just these trips, they weren’t just skateboarding trips. They had the BMXers and they had the motocross dudes and they had the surfers. I was hanging out with Bruce Irons, and all types of stuff. You know. I became friends with really cool people from different industries that I never thought I would be hanging out with. The homie, Twitch, motocross dude. When I was a little kid, I used to watch him on TV all day, you know. So, yeah, Weed Maps definitely connected me with some amazing people in my life.
I wanted to explore that a little bit with- about your relationship with sports and sports figures. The sports that you mentioned, they’re all sort of in the same vein of not team sports. In the sense of basketball, football, baseball, and so on.
Do you find yourself interacting with those athletes as well?
Yeah, dude. All the time, man. I have so many homies in different lanes that are amazing, and all this came from being a skateboarder. You know? Like, Nick Young from the Lakers, that’s my dawg. You got Justin Williams, who’s a professional cyclist. You know, you got Bruce Irons that’s a surfer. These lanes are crazy. Because all these people in these industries, they kind of understand your background, or kind of feel where you came from. You know? Everyone kind of comes from a cutty, weird situation where they found themselves loving this passion that became their dream, that became reality.
And do you feel like there’s enough respect for skateboarding today among other athletes and sports figures?
Oh, definitely, man. I think skateboarding has put in so much work in so many years. And skateboarding has an impact on just so many people’s styles, and how people walk, you know, skateboarding’s a huge culture. People they’re attracted to skateboarders. It’s like an aura.
Yeah. I just saw a film about Zoo York. The history of Zoo York and the intersection of rap and hip-hop and skateboarding that took place in New York in the early nineties.
That’s sick. I need to watch that.
How do you feel about New York skating style? And that’s always a question. Because it’s such a different history and different landscape.
The New York’s fucking- Their style of skating’s so raw. Like, that’s what it is. That’s skateboarding. From 2017 to now, like, dude, the skate industry is so like California, Plaza skate parks, everything’s perfect. Everything’s like, you know, it looks like a video game. New York skaters, bro, they’re so raw. I love it.
You love it. Do you ever go to New York and try to go skate in those parks or the streets and things like that?
All the time. I’ve been there a handful of times just to skate. Just to skate those streets. At LES skatepark and, you know, vibe with all the skaters out there. Cause they bring a whole different vibe to my perspectives. I like to take that in.
Do you ever learn any tricks or things, like ideas for tricks, because of what they do?
Yeah. Of course. My homie, John Shanahan, lives in New York. And he’s on DGK. He’s always posting the coolest shit on his Instagram, and inspiring me to, kind of, switch up some things and be a little more hesh and creative like him. And that’s what’s cool about skateboarding, everyone’s so different, and everyone has so much of a different vision, you know. Someone can look at a rail and skate it one way, then the next person can look at it and skate it a completely different way. And you’re like, “Damn. Like, that was amazing, dude.” It’s like art.
Totally. But now that skateboarding is going to the Olympics, or would have if it, you know, if we had an Olympics. Who knows. That’s a whole other story. How do you relate to that? Do you feel that that reflects your culture?
I think- I think it’s amazing. At the end of day, it’s a really cool thing. It’s not for me. But I have a lot of friends that skate competitions and they love that pressure, they love the audience, they love the anticipation to the build-up. And I think it’s beautiful that the skate industry was able to make it that far in the world. Like the Olympics is everything. You know? People love the Olympics. It’s only once in a billion years. So, like go for that. It’s a huge opportunity for one of my friends to be able to rock a gold medal from the Olympics. I’m all for it, you know. But you ain’t gonna catch Boo J skating in the Olympics. You know, I’d rather just keep it raw, original, and, you know, you’ll see me in the stands cheering for them.
And with regard to the industry, you know, and all the business aspects. You have your Just Have Fun. I don’t know how many sponsorships at this point, because I saw you riding your bike with Supreme. Is that also one of your sponsors now?
No. Supreme isn’t one of my sponsors. They’re just a skate company that, you know, they fuck with a lot of people. And I like rocking their stuff. But a lot of skaters don’t fuck with Supreme because it’s more, it’s like a hypebeast thing. But if you’re a skateboarder and you know what to do, you can rock whatever you want. You know?
So, you don’t have to only wear your sponsored companies?
Not me. I rock whatever I want, dude. Ain’t no one paying me enough just to rock their stuff, besides DGK. [laughs]
So, tell me, what do you have going on now? Give us a little resume of all your companies that you work with and any things that you have coming up with your own, Just Have Fun?
Yeah. So, I work with a handful of companies, like in the weed industry. I work for, um, Raw Rolling Papers. My homie, Josh, he’s the man. He is the brains behind the whole company. You guys could go check him out at Raw Rock and Roll Josh. He’s the man. He will break down anything to you. If you want to know how this paper burns the way it burns, go check him out. I work with Stiiizy. They make ill pens. DTPG that they got a full-on distribution in downtown LA. They got like four or five warehouses. They cultivate all their buds. Then let’s move on to my skate companies. DGK, of course, Dirty Ghetto Kids, that’s my board sponsor. Then the wheels I skate are Bones Wheels. Those wheels, they’ve been around from day one and number one. Um. Grizzly Grip Tape. Diamond Hardware. Shout out to Nicky Diamond. He’s been doing it, man. Um. I don’t know, man, I’ve got a handful of sponsors. It’s hard thinking- Pharmacy-
Yeah. No. I hear you.
David & Boo: [00:40:51]
Here it goes, right here. It’s on my water bottle. Just Have Fun. That’s my company that I created. When I created it, it was at that point where it’s like, “Damn. I kind of want to start a company.” You know? There’s so many people in this industry that just start companies just to start it. The name means nothing. They have no backing behind it. With JHF, I have a whole story behind it, you know. It’s- it’s something that really relates to a lot of people. I’ve been rocking JHF since I was in middle school, you know. I got in trouble from my teachers in like sixth grade for writing it, and all my friends writing it in the school books. JHF. I remember, I had a whole meeting, bro, at my school. My principal called my mom, “Your son’s writing JHF all over our books, and every kid’s doing it. Like, he- he’s starting a gang.” This and that. It’s like, bro, it literally says, Just Have Fun. It’s like, you know-
Radical, man. Come on. Radical ideas spreading.
Exactly So, when that time came, I looked back, I’m like, “Alright. You know what, JHF is the one.” And we ran with it. It’s like the motto we live by. And it’s just simple, you know. No matter what you’re doing, I want you to feel that you’re a part of it. It’s not just a skateboarding company. You could be a biker, you could be a writer, you could be- Whatever you do. A football player. If you love what you do, and you have fun throughout your days, you’re a part of the team. You know, a lot of kids like, “How do I be a part of the JHF?” I’m like, “Bro, you are a part of it.” You know? Like, it’s nuts. There’s so many kids out there that have JHF tattooed on them. I’m like it’s insane. But I’m not that shocked because it’s the truth, you know.
So, what is your vision for the company now? If you had, you know, looked five, ten years ahead from now.
Honestly, I just want it to be a cool clothing company that everyone relates to. To be honest. I haven’t made a dollar off JHF. The company has but, you know, it goes right back into the company. I have no huge expectations from it. I won’t ever sell it. I just want it to be its thing, and let people-
Don’t say ever. Don’t say you won’t ever. Never say never. [laughs]
Yeah, that’s true. You know, if the price is right.
But, you know, I just want it to be my motto for life at the end of the day. I want it to push a positive message to the next person, and let them know. I make these wristbands. I don’t have one on me right now. But I give these bracelets to everyone, bro. I’ve got thousands of them, you know. I keep them in my car. I keep them at the skate shop. I just hand them out. So, you can have that reminder if you’re having a bad day, or you’re doing through something, or you’re in a rush. Even though it says Just Have Fun, it gives you that ease, where it’s like, you know, slow down. It’s all good. Let’s just have fun and keep the ball rolling.
And what about women in skateboarding?
Oh, man. They’re starting a whole trend. So, girls have always been in the industry, right. But the past year or two, they’re starting a whole movement. And I love it. I love it, you know. All power to them.
You saw that they had that show on HBO. Did you see any of that?
Yeah, dude. About the New York chicks?
They’re killing it. I got a couple homegirls out here that got super inspired by that. And they’re trying to pitch that to, um, like the cast out here. Or some of the producers-
A West Coast version.
Yeah, right? It would be different, but really cool.
And, one more question and I’ll let you go. What are the downsides to being a professional skateboarder?
Just being on everyone’s time. I feel like I always have to do something for someone. But that’s part of the job, you know? It’s like- it’s like going to work.
…me going to California Pizza, and my boss telling me to make a pizza. I’m like, “I don’t really want to do it right now. [laughter] But I’m gonna do it.” You know? But-
Cause the video, man, it’s gonna get a lot of plays.
Yeah. “Oh, we need this promo video, or we need this post, or we need this swipe up. Or-” Especially with social media now. It’s all like, “We need your- we need your-” You know.
Yeah, man. Your tag and so on. We’re gonna be coming at you too for Light Culture Podcast, man.
Yeah, man. I’m about it. But that’s why I try to work with sponsors that I genuinely like and don’t mind repping. It’s busy, man. It’s a lot. It becomes a lot of work. Um. You know, at the end of the day, we gotta just have fun with it. And I overthink it, man.
Cause everything comes with a downside.
True that. You know, because what are the options really? You can’t stay like a kid with no responsibilities not thinking of the future.
At some point- and, you know, you’ve got family, you got people to support, you got friends. Concepts, ideas, political messages. That you want to make sure you get out there, and that’s what it takes to do that.
So, thank you very much, Boo Johnson, for coming on my show and sharing your philosophy, man. Cause I think- I’m starting to think of you as a philosopher now.
Man, once I get, you know, I just need to study a little bit more, read a little bit more, get my words right. And, man, I would love to be a philosopher. But for now-
No, you’re doing great.
I’m just preaching what I believe in and letting people know that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it. You know?
Amen. Thank you, Boo Johnson.
Thank you, brother. You’re the man.
Ah, you’re the man. [laughter] Peace.