146: Selema Masekela/Frequency

Selema and his father Hugh. Photo: Tozer

This week’s episode is a long overdue conversation with the great Selema. I’ve been trying to get Selema on the show for a couple of years now, and we finally made it happen at the beginning of January 2021.

If you don’t know Selema, he’s one of the most switched-on and inspirational people in action sports. He’s a presenter, broadcaster, announcer, podcaster, musician, surfer, snowboarder – the list goes on.

Photo: Tozer

He’s also just a brilliant mind, which is on full display in the free-flowing and hugely enjoyable conversation. As you might expect, given Selema’s range of interests, we covered a lot of ground in this episode, including his own background, the current state of politics in the States and what it says about action sports culture, and how he felt when he was suddenly thrust into the limelight as a spokesperson on issues of race and diversity last summer.

Articulate, insightful, generous, humane, energised, empowered – this is just a brilliant conversation with one of our culture’s essential voices. Don’t miss it.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Selema

Show Notes

  • The shed
  • The Age of the Instant Expert
  • The Internet as a blessing and a curse
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Empathy at the beginning of the pandemic
  • Poor leadership through a terrible situation
  • American exceptionalism
  • Can the American divide be healed?
  • American conservatism and undermining history
  • Discrediting the idea of white privilege
  • The unlikelihood of civil war
  • Being raised to be proud, curious and modest
  • “Our time here is short”
  • Selema’s parents, stirring the pot, being curious and loving other cultures
  • Moving to the west coast, and a less diverse population
  • The lack of learning about diversity
  • Wanting to be accepted at 16
  • Surfing to fit in and falling in love with it
  • Giving up a lot of himself to fit in
  • Maximising the things that give you joy
  • First Job at Transworld
  • Angry Interns
  • Shredding and surviving
  • Opening little doors and seeking out opportunities
  • Planet Earth Skateboards
  • Making choices that make sense at the time
  • Commentating and making in-roads on the mic
  • Utilising enthusiasm and learning ‘on the fly’
  • Failing and almost leaving the industry
  • Sitting on the board at Burton
  • Jake Burton understanding what Selema had to give
  • The civil rights movement shedding light on any spaces that were lacking
  • Getting the call from George and Donna
  • Earning the seat on the board and its timing with the civil rights movement
  • The value of George Floyd’s life and the impact of his death
  • Humbled by the opportunity to expand what our landscape looks like
  • How the year has been
  • Stepping into and out of the role of ‘teacher’
  • The brands bringing inclusion and anti-racism into the culture
  • The difference between instigating change and just ticking a box
  • Human nature, change and legacy work
  • Actively celebrate every day
  • The storming of the US Capitol Building
  • A dark collective passion for a lie
  • There are those that believe their hate is righteous
  • The marked difference in reaction to Black Lives Matter and the storming of the capital building
  • Sympathy for ideas rooted in white supremacy

Names Mentioned

  • Tony Blair
  • Rich Roll
  • Adam Skolnick
  • Karl Marx
  • Chris Miller
  • Dave Lee
  • Blaise Rosenthal
  • Jake Burton
  • George Burton
  • Donna Carpenter
  • George Floyd

Places Mentioned

  • United States of America
  • New Zealand
  • Kenya
  • South Africa
  • Heiti
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • New England
  • Southern California
  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Madison Avenue
  • Washington DC

Brands, companies and organisations mentioned