Creator Spotlight: Blessing, the Skateboarder Creating Safe Communities for Girls

September 1, 2022

Hi, I’m Blessing. I’m 25, a skateboarder, and a community developer. Dencity is my community.

Something people don’t know about me is I’m from Cross River. I enjoy seeing groups of girls skating, especially after seeing a movie about a girl skate group. And I decided we needed something like that in Nigeria. 

What movie was that?

Skate Kitchen. I loved the movie.

So, how did you get into skating?

I started coming to the stadium. This was before the lockdown, and back then, there were just two guys who skated. I started skating fully in 2021 when I began Dencity. I was like, “Since there’s no community, why don’t I build it?” I started posting my videos and telling people, “I’m a girl who skates. If you want to join me, here’s my number. Meet me here,” and they did. 

Is that how Dencity kicked off?

Yeah, I just started Dencity last year, and we host sessions at the National Stadium. We also host events in Abuja and Port Harcourt. And Dencity is in five states now, and I love it. 

Dencity Lagos

Why was it important for Dencity to exist?

It’s good to see so many girls interested in it. According to some people, “it’s a masculine sport,” so being in Nigeria, it’s euphoric for me every time I come out and see all the girls skating. Even when we recently hosted a beach thing, the number of people that showed up stunned me.

Wow, that’s super cool. What else influenced you to skate?

I was into sports growing up and was even my secondary school’s games prefect. So when I was really young, I watched a movie I can’t remember, about skateboarding, and I wanted to learn how to do it because it looked cool.

In the movie, people were doing crazy tricks. I thought, “How can you fly from this place to this place?” It was just really fascinating to me. 

How are you already so good after a year of skating?

I’m not that good! I’m still trying to be better every day. I want to land a kickflip before the end of this month. I just know I can get better, and I will. 

Were you with another group before Dencity?

No. But now, I’m also signed to Waffles and Cream, a community of like minded creatives bringing a genuine approach to celebrate subcultures. I work there, and the management owns WAF, the brand, so there’s that. 

How did you get signed?

I posted videos of me skating on Instagram. Then, I started talking to and skating with a guy called Henry, who used to work at WAF. One day, I had a board that wasn’t too good, and he asked me to bring it to the shop so they could change it for me. I got there and introduced myself to JOMI, WAF’s owner. He set up my board for free. 

Back then, I was working a 9-5. I’d work and skate afterwards at the stadium or freedom park.

Why did you need management?

Skateboarding is now popular. People like to add skateboarders to their music videos or get us to wear their brand for photo shoots. And skateboards aren’t cheap. It’s like ₦105k. If you like what I’m doing and think it’s cool, pay me. They don’t enjoy paying. They just want to “collaborate”. Come on. I need to buy my boards and pay for transport to come out and skate. I also need to pay bills. 

Yet Dencity is free?

Yeah, it is. I provide the boards for 70% of the girls in Dencity because I know it’s tough for us girls. I know what I went through at first. People kept saying, ”This sport is for boys. Na man thing you dey do.” Like, guy, I just want to have fun. I know how parents frown on stuff like this, so I wasn’t about to let them struggle through all that.

Did your parents give you hell for your hobby?

Nope. I’m 25! My parents are in Calabar. I’m alone here in Lagos. I came without a job or anything. 

That’s like the Nollywood Lagos dream

It was not the dream, oh. A job brought me here, but it ended up being a scam. After I got to Lagos, they switched their numbers off. I sent countless emails, and nobody replied. 

I’m so sorry that happened. What’s your favourite thing about skating?

Learning a new trick. I’m currently learning to kickflip, and as soon as I land it, I’ll go for thanksgiving. Before you ask, no, there’s no easy trick to land. Skating is hard. You just have to keep trying.

What do you do outside of skating?

Oh wow, I feel like a boring person. If I’m not skating, I’m working or at a party. I love techno and house music. 

What does fulfillment in your skating career look like?

I don’t have a career yet, but I want to be signed by Adidas. I love them so much. I love their shoes and clothes. I’m always wearing Adidas. 

I’m hoping in two to three years, Dencity will leave the stadium and have its own skate park and shop, so girls can skate and work. I want to grow a community where everyone who just wants to meet people can have a space. Not just for skating, you know? 

Many people I’ve met while skating have become some of my closest friends. I enjoy coming to the stadium to teach the Dencity community new tricks, see their progress and just skating together. We come, skate, take pictures and hang out. It’s a safe space to be comfortable and express yourself. I feel so fulfilled already. I’m thrilled you can find Dencity in other states. I wanted this, and it’s just the beginning.

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