Up In The Cut
The quick rise of Terry Kennedy.
Interview by Atiba

When were you born?
On May 27, 1985 in Long Beach, California. At St. Mary’s Hospital on Atlantic and Tenth (Street).
You’ve never lived anywhere else than Long Beach?
I’ve never lived anywhere else-straight L.B. Always.
In the same house?
Nah, I moved around.
You live with your grandma, right?
Still with the grams, holdin’ it down 24/7.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
Two big brothers.
Did they skate?
Never.
You’re the only one in the family who skates?
Only one makin’ that cheese.
How did you get into skating?
Called up my boys Evan (Hernandez), Knox (Godoy), and my friend Marcus. I used to go up to Cherry and play basketball at a little basketball court. They used to roll out onto the stage over there. Dudes would be over there skatin’ off the stage while I was at a little basketball practice, tryin’ to do my thing, you know? “Baby Iverson,” that’s what they called me back in the day ’cause I had the braids, but nevermind that.
I went to school with Evan. He started skatin’ out of nowhere and I was like, “Damn.” I saw him up there (at the stage) over the summer and was like, “What you been up to? Damn, for real?” I kept goin’ up there and seein’ him, and I was like, “F-k!” I was gettin’ over basketball ’cause they never started me. Marcus was like, “You should start skatin’.” Knox was actually the first person to hook me up with some shit. He used to hook up Evan and Marcus back in the day, too. Started skatin’ in some Globes-those were my first skate shoes. I had a Birdhouse deck with low Ventures. Skatin’ a little twig back in the day off the stage, bustin’ my pop shove-its, 180s, and shit-low basics.
How many years ago was that?
A good tre years ago-yeah, three years ago.
That’s it? Three years ago?
Yeah, pretty much, probably more like three and a half, or almost four years now.
Do you think you were a little young to be gettin’ all hooked up and shit?
Nah, I think I got it too fast, but I don’t know about bein’ too young. Where I’m from, you gotta grow up fast, you know what I’m sayin’? Mom ain’t always there for you. You gotta get out there and hustle-do what you gotta do to get something to eat. Yeah, I can admit on that one-I did get it way too fast. I don’t know, some people just have that type of talent for it. That type of eye, like, “This kid got the potential to be something.” You know what I’m saying? I guess somebody seen that in me and hooked me up. The Baker dudes.
Do you think that messed up your perception of skating?

Yeah. But outside the skate world, no. Inside the skate world, people look at you like, “Yeah, he’s a good skater, but he didn’t have the prettiest ‘sponsor-me’ tape.”
You just appeared out of nowhere.
Nobody can knock me ’cause the rules are the other way around, tables is turned, anybody would take it, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s like, “Hey, how you doin’? Oh, so you friends with them? Yeah? Cool. Seen you skate, did a couple a tricks, liked your attitude.” And then the next month, people will be on some shit like, “Nah, nah, nah, you didn’t deserve it.”
How did you first get hooked up with sponsors?
Skatin’ with Evan and Knox. Andrew (Reynolds) used to come down to the park and pick those dudes up. One day, Andrew and Beagle-that’s who used to film us back in the day-came down, and Evan and Knox were like, “Can Terry come?” That’s when I filmed that shit in the first Baker video. All that shit I filmed was from that one day. Actually, it was two days-a Saturday and a Sunday.
First, I went to L.A. to crook the Beverly (rail) on the day Evan frontside flipped it. Then we went to the stairs underneath the hallway. I did the half Cab and steezed out, you know? And then it was like, “Damn, this kid’s cool.” I started hangin’ around for a minute. Right as I started hangin’ with them tough, they arted Baker. It was like, “We’ll carry these three ams, and we got the pros picked out.” That was they whole goal, ’cause before they put on Evan and Knox, they didn’t want to blow it up that tough. They whole goal was to take some kids out of nowhere and then blow them up like they did, you know what I’m sayin’? And it f-kin’ worked out.
So you guys were the “little” crew, and then you went your own way. How did that come about?
Needed the means at home, tough, you know what I’m sayin’? Like my grandma and f-kin’ bills-I eat everything, man. I didn’t even know if those dudes could take care of me. They said stuff and never really came through. Even though they is some good people-Andrew is my dog-it’s just that I bumped heads with those Element dudes, and they were like, “If you need this taken care of, you need health insurance, this and that.” It ain’t all about the money, it’s all about the point that I can just call someone up and know I’m safe on the team. Not worryin’ about somethin’ bad happenin’ to a person. Just be stuck out there, stranded.
Were you just stressed on makin’ ends meet?
Yeah.
So how did it feel to break out on them?
I didn’t break out … I mean, I felt bad. Of course I did. I ain’t gonna front, I felt bad really deep down. And then what really made me bummed was when I talked to him (Andrew), he was like, “So are you gonna quit?” And I was like, “Nah, I don’t know.” Then he was like, “Oh, well. Do whatever you want to do.” I understand what he was sayin’, he ain’t tryin to force nobody to be nowhere, but he still came at me like, “We’ve been there for you … this and that,” and at the same time, it hurt me-him talkin’ mess on me. I over it, man. I knew I needed to go and be my own person. I was livin’ in too many shadows.
On Baker, it was just like, “Oh, that’s the kid who just got hooked up ’cause of Evan and Knox.” I was just over that shit. People would see me and be like, “Andrew just put you on the team ’cause he thought you were funny and shit.” Just livin’ in that shadow too long. I had to break out on be on my own mish, you know what I’m sayin’? Had the odds against me on purpose just so I could go out there and do what I gotta do.
Once you got on Element, everything was all good?
Yeah. For a minute, there was a little beef, but I understand ’cause I broke out, but it’s just like, “Man, what if it was the other way around? What about somebody else who broke out?” Whatever. It’s all good ’cause I’m on always on the down, I’m straight as f-k now. I’m about to get a house and everything. I ain’t gotta live in the ‘hood no more.
What’s been going on with that?
I don’t know, man. But I’m gonna have to sell out in a minute. Might have to move to Costa Mesa, H.B., or some bullshit. I put in enough ‘hood time for me, man. Too tough, the other day someone tried to get my f-kin’ car, like, tried to straight jack me at school. No shit, tried to get me. It’s like, “F-k it, man.”
What kind of car you got?
A Jeep Cherokee on dub deuces. You know, that samo samo-sittin’ on a Barry Sanders. It’s all good, though, you know?
So you’re thinkin’ about breakin’ out of the ‘hood?
Thinkin’ about breakin’ out, man, tough. Have to pull a slueth.
What’s the family think of that?
They with it, man. Right now in my ‘hood, masters and blacks are just warm, like goin’ to school and shootin’ ‘em up-that kind of warm. I don’t know, man. Shit’s just too tough. All I can say is that I served my ‘hood time. I’m over it.
So what do you see goin’ on in your future?
Holdin’ down in the skateboard business for a minute.
Do you still have fun skating?
Oh yeah, I watch skate videos every day, and skate every day.
You’ve gotten a lot of money thrown at you, obviously. Do you think that has messed up the reason why you skate?
Nah, I ain’t gonna even front, ’cause before that a year ago, I didn’t even know ams got paid. We didn’t get paid, so I didn’t really know. I just got hip to the scene with it. And I know that just ’cause people offer you money doesn’t mean you can just jump, especially not for stuff like that ’cause you’ll burn your bridges with a lot of people. So you do it just because you want to do it, or because you really need it because you’ve never had half the shit these muthaf-kas had. Everybody didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in they mouth. You just really have to get on that grind and do that type of thing. It’s all good.
Let’s say skateboarding just died. Are you planning for the future when those big checks aren’t comin’ in?
If it seriously crashed right now, I’d be at the lowest peak in my life. Everybody in my family dropped shit because of me right now. Just put everything on hold. So if we get up and move and a year later, it crashes-I’d be f-ked. No joke. I couldn’t work at McDonald’s, man. I’m sorry. I’d just have to carry that weight. Sell a thug deuces or somethin’. Get that type of bird, flipped it (laughing).
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t skating?
Probably sellin’ them birds.
It’s just the way it is, huh?
Serious, man. All my brothers and everybody do it. It’s just like, “F-k.”
That’s just what’s around, right?
Exactly. But that be sad too ’cause I’ll f-k my past up. If I move out now and shit crashes, I’ll have to move back into the ‘hood. So I’ll really have to put in work just to keep that name out there ’cause Smithers will be on my head tough. People in my area are already on me tough, they don’t like me. A lot of ‘em are jealous of me. They think I sell drugs ’cause they don’t know I skate. Like half my ‘hood don’t know I skate. I’ll just push around and they’ll be like, “What the f-k?” They swear I’m pushin’ that weight, but I’m not. Shit’s funny.
How are you handling people knowing who you are?

Oh, I love it. I’m not gonna front-I love attention, man. I’m down for it. It’s cool. It’s sick, man. I help out everybody in my hood, too. I just throw ‘em shit. Even if they don’t skate, it’s like, “Go sell this board to a kid instead of doing something else.” I try to do what I can.
Just to give it back.
I mean, somehow and that’s not even a front. I seriously push in my ‘hood like 24/7. I stay where I stay.
When you see Andrew and the Baker crew, do you still have a lot of respect for them for taking care of you?
Yeah. If it wasn’t for them dudes over there, this would’ve never happened. And I’m not gonna front-never. Of course, I know a lot of people wouldn’t have looked at me if I didn’t have that Baker hype, you know? Not to name any names, but that’s how it is. Regardless of that, I’ll always have respect for that dude (Andrew). He’s one of my favorite skaters. Him, Grecs, all of ‘em. Jay Strickland. I’m down for them dudes for life.
n’t really know. I just got hip to the scene with it. And I know that just ’cause people offer you money doesn’t mean you can just jump, especially not for stuff like that ’cause you’ll burn your bridges with a lot of people. So you do it just because you want to do it, or because you really need it because you’ve never had half the shit these muthaf-kas had. Everybody didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in they mouth. You just really have to get on that grind and do that type of thing. It’s all good.
Let’s say skateboarding just died. Are you planning for the future when those big checks aren’t comin’ in?
If it seriously crashed right now, I’d be at the lowest peak in my life. Everybody in my family dropped shit because of me right now. Just put everything on hold. So if we get up and move and a year later, it crashes-I’d be f-ked. No joke. I couldn’t work at McDonald’s, man. I’m sorry. I’d just have to carry that weight. Sell a thug deuces or somethin’. Get that type of bird, flipped it (laughing).
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t skating?
Probably sellin’ them birds.
It’s just the way it is, huh?
Serious, man. All my brothers and everybody do it. It’s just like, “F-k.”
That’s just what’s around, right?
Exactly. But that be sad too ’cause I’ll f-k my past up. If I move out now and shit crashes, I’ll have to move back into the ‘hood. So I’ll really have to put in work just to keep that name out there ’cause Smithers will be on my head tough. People in my area are already on me tough, they don’t like me. A lot of ‘em are jealous of me. They think I sell drugs ’cause they don’t know I skate. Like half my ‘hood don’t know I skate. I’ll just push around and they’ll be like, “What the f-k?” They swear I’m pushin’ that weight, but I’m not. Shit’s funny.
How are you handling people knowing who you are?

Oh, I love it. I’m not gonna front-I love attention, man. I’m down for it. It’s cool. It’s sick, man. I help out everybody in my hood, too. I just throw ‘em shit. Even if they don’t skate, it’s like, “Go sell this board to a kid instead of doing something else.” I try to do what I can.
Just to give it back.
I mean, somehow and that’s not even a front. I seriously push in my ‘hood like 24/7. I stay where I stay.
When you see Andrew and the Baker crew, do you still have a lot of respect for them for taking care of you?
Yeah. If it wasn’t for them dudes over there, this would’ve never happened. And I’m not gonna front-never. Of course, I know a lot of people wouldn’t have looked at me if I didn’t have that Baker hype, you know? Not to name any names, but that’s how it is. Regardless of that, I’ll always have respect for that dude (Andrew). He’s one of my favorite skaters. Him, Grecs, all of ‘em. Jay Strickland. I’m down for them dudes for life.