On this week’s episode of HYPEBEAST Radio, professional BMX rider Nigel Sylvester dropped by the studio. Ever jet-setter, Sylvester was between trips: he had just landed after a trip to Aspen with Ronnie Fieg and the KITH family, and he was flying to Miami for Art Basel the next day. Visibly wiped-out, Nigel perked up after a couple sips of tequila. In our conversation, the biker tells the stories of how he woke up to find JAY-Z had dropped his name on a track, what wisdom he gleaned from the late, great Dave Mirra, and what his role as an example of a black extreme athlete means to him.
Sylvester explains how his travels informed and inspired his Go! video series. “The goal is for me to go all the way around the world, so you can watch me go from Queens, around the world, and back to Queens.”
So far, the series sees Sylvester weaving his way through New York and around Los Angeles, and Sylvester even jumped out of a plane in Dubai. “That was the first time I ever skydived, too,” says Sylvester.
The entrepreneurial extreme athlete also says that media—and social media in particular—are part and parcel of his grind. “What helped that a lot was when action sports in general started to be more commercialized. The mass public started to embrace the fashion side of how action sports kids were dressing… Then you started to see it more on TV shows like Jackass and [Ryan Sheckler's show] Life of Ryan and Rob Dyrdek. You started to see it more on cable television. I think that helped it a bunch.”
In the end, Sylvester’s mission is to de-stigmatize extreme sports and biking for young black men. The media exposure, Sylvester says, that “helped me a bunch as far as pushing my own agenda forward as far as I wanted to ride my bicycle and mix that with what I naturally did in the ‘hood.” Especially when it comes to fashion and music, Sylvester has always worked from a place of authenticity and sincerity. “I think throughout my career I’ve shown kids of color that it’s okay to go and ride a bicycle and become a professional bike rider or whatever it may be. Just do different things. Don’t be afraid of who you are and what you really wanna do and what’s in your heart, y’know?”
Listen to the episode in full above.