To go along with our online cover story, we spent time with Na-Kel Smith in his native Los Angeles and in New York City for his concert in our new documentary Hard Nak Life. The skater-turned-multi-hyphenate got candid looking back and his path to going pro and looking forward to a multi-faceted career. We even saw his frustration boil over while skating before he put it into perspective.
“One thing that I love that skateboarding taught me is how to not be afraid to fail,” Smith said. “Because of everything else going on in my life, I exploded. You learn somedays you get a trick easy. Somedays everything goes good but you get mad at some other shit. Somedays you get kicked out of every spot. You learn patience a little bit, but today I was not using patience.”
He also talked about how emotion came to play during his acting debut in Mid90s, which taught him to be more professional and leave his own feelings when, say, he needed to play a happy scene. “I unlocked a whole new part of myself,” Smith said. “That was the first thing that made be like, ‘Fuck it, it’s not only just skating anymore.'”
It’s not just skating or just acting. It’s also music. “A lot of people do other shit, but I’m trying to take that shit to the top level,” he said. “If I’m in a movie, I don’t want to be in a short film; I want to be in theaters. If I make music, I want to keep making music, keep doing shows, and keep pushing it until it’s huge and I have songs with the people’s music who I like.”
Watch the full documentary above.