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The Fall & Rise of Skittles: Bringing Back the Roots of Gloving

“It’s over. I’m done with this stupid scene. I’m laying ‘Skittles’ to rest. You’re never going to see me again. RIP ‘Skittles’. What’s the f*cking point? I’m done with this sh*t.”

I lost it. I completely lost sight of what gloving was all about–why I started doing this whole thing to begin with.

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve officially made my “comeback” into the gloving scene, and I’ve had some time to observe the many changes that have taken place since I first hung up the gloves in 2012. I’ve been able to soak things in, and figured now would be a good time to shed some light around the following:

  • My thoughts regarding the state of the modern day gloving scene
  • Why I decided to make a comeback
  • How I’m approaching things differently now

To start off, I’m just going to say that this is the most content I’ve ever been in terms of my gloving abilities, along with what I think I can contribute to the scene from a more holistic standpoint. I’m finally doing things my way, with a desire to influence, inspire, and bring exposure to the “OG” roots of gloving–something that has been increasingly absent over the past few years due to the rapid growth of the community, and the introduction of many new levers that older generation glovers weren’t exposed to: forums, social networks, groups, gloving meet-ups, competitions, exposure to a broader audience via TV, sports arenas, music videos, dance groups, thousands of new light products and color combinations, new companies, various “fams/crews/teams”… Simply put, there are a lot more distractions in the gloving scene today than there were when I started back in late 2008.

distractions-distractions-everywhere

It’s easy to get caught up with these things nowadays and lose sight of why we all started gloving to begin with. I fell in love with gloving for 2 main reasons:

  • Freedom of self-expression: I taught myself how to glove. Sure, I was inspired by a few videos that I saw on YouTube from some of the very first glovers to exist (Hermes, Wongton, Teardrop, Mystic, and Serenade). But ultimately, I didn’t have anyone telling me whether what I was doing was “right” or “wrong”, or whether it looked good or not–I defined that for myself. I did things the way that I wanted to do them, and I had fun doing it. There was no structure.
  • The love for creation and innovation: What intrigued me the most about the first glovers on YouTube was their ability to “wow” me by each having their own unique flare and style. I wanted to create something of my own too. I wanted my own identity in the gloving world. I wanted to create something that people could see from 100 feet away, and know that it was me. I didn’t want to be the “next Wongton” or the “next Serenade”… I wanted to be Skittles. Plain and simple.

creative-mind

I never gloved with the focus or intention of becoming famous–the millions of YouTube views, the YouTube fan comments, the 6-hour lines of fans waiting for a show at raves, the sponsorship packages, the free gear, the travelling… I didn’t glove for this, but I got caught up in all of it.

You see, the moment that all of these “distractions” came into play (2010-2012) is when I stopped having fun. It became a job. I was focusing more on pleasing my “fans”. I became a slave to people’s expectations of me and my shows because I just did what I thought they wanted to see, and what they knew me for. You know that thing we call “impacting” now? Yeah… even though I pioneered the style, I was bored to death of it and wanted to explore other things. I forced my shows, stopped taking risks and creating/trying new things, and ultimately just stopped having fun. I was no longer an artist, but a slave to these “distractions” that artificially fed my ego and left me with a huge void. This wasn’t gloving. This wasn’t why I started. This was no longer pure. This was no longer raw. This was no longer fun. The fame crushed me.

famedanger

Fast forward to 4 years later, and here I am voicing my thoughts out to a community that I swore I’d never interact with again. Why did I decide to come back and what’s different this time?

#1 – My love for the glove is back: I went to Amsterdam in early 2015 for the A State of Trance Festival hosted by Armin van Buuren. I decided to bring my gloves with me because I knew that no one was exposed to “gloving” there–no trades to make, no “fans” to bombard me for shows, no one caring for who “Skittles” was because that name was meaningless and unheard of, no other glovers to “judge” my skill level, and no worries about fulfilling anyone’s expectations. Just straight-up old-fashioned facemelting fun. It was the most fun I’ve had in years, and reminiscent of the first time I ever gave light shows at a rave–even before I was “Skittles”. I came back to the states and tried to put the gloves away again for good, but couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun I had. 

I knew I wanted to start again, but was hesitant because of my past experience. My huge itch to come back into the gloving game forced me to really evaluate things. I needed to take a different approach if I was going to make a return. I needed to dedicate my primary focus towards having pure raw fun. Nothing else should ever distract me from that.

#2 – The scene is lacking roots: I’ll be dead honest–the current scene is extremely messy and confusing. There’s no clear focus on what “gloving” should be about, and I don’t know where it’s trying to go. Are we just “dancing with gloves” now, or are we giving “light shows”?

There’s been an introduction of many levers into the art, which naturally creates a ton of distractions that can take our focus away from the core of what this is all about–having fun and feeling good doing it. There’s way too much structure. Now, you have just over a handful of concepts that define your style of gloving (liquid, tuts, flow, impact, clocking, etc.), you have gloving groups where you’re asking people to determine whether you are doing something “right” or “wrong”, you have competitions that judge you based on a limited set of criteria that you try to build your show around, you have glovers just trying to “level up” for the sake of getting sponsored, you have fams/crews/teams at each other’s throats, the list goes on…

Now don’t get me wrong… I think a lot of the things I just mentioned have undoubtedly pushed gloving to new heights. Healthy competition and some structure around the foundation of the art is reasonable, but where things went wrong was where we completely lost focus of the roots–it should primarily be about having fun regardless of what anyone else thinks because we feel good doing it. We should be defining how we glove for ourselves–not letting others define it for us.

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The gloving scene has seen some of its greatest legends come and go all too quickly, typically lasting only a couple of years before they disappear. How can we expect this scene to go back to “how it used to be” if there is no one focused on promoting and exposing the roots of gloving? Who’s going to educate the newcomers about the core of “what gloving should be all about”? The only people who have the power to bring the original essence of gloving back into the conversation and relevant again are those who were there to experience it.

This is why I’m back. I may be an old dog, but I’ve seen and experienced enough of the gloving scene from multiple eras and perspectives to have an opinion. If I can come back after several years with a bigger fire than ever to re-shift the focus of the gloving scene and expose the roots again, then so can some of my fellow OGs who grew up in this scene with me. I’m not asking for things to go back to “how they used to be”, but I’m here to resurface what gloving originally meant for all of us when it was pure, raw, and fun. I’m not talking about just exposing the OG styles of gloving again, but I’m pushing an even bigger picture: Let’s educate the current community and future incoming talent on the right attitude and approach we should be taking with this art, and towards each other. Let’s rebuild and redefine this into something that both the godfathers and newcomers of gloving can be proud of.

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I’m calling out all of my fellow OGs and favorite legends from “back in the day”–you know who you are. I need you guys to get behind me on this. Let’s take it back to the roots. Let’s keep it real. Let’s make it fun again. This is my personal invitation for you to join me in #theOGmovement. If you’re as serious about this as I am, please hit me up personally, and let’s get this thing going.

And for everyone else, you’re welcome to join me in representing what gloving should be all about. Let’s never forget why we started gloving to begin with. Keep the focus on having fun and feeling good doing it, please. The health of this scene is dependent on each and every one of us.

-Skittles (Instagram / Facebook)

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