Celebrating Black-Owned Brands: The Rad Black Kids

The Rad Black Kids is a longboard and streetwear brand that sells clothing items such as hoodies, caps, sneakers, and t-shirts, as well as a range of hand-finished skateboards. The company was founded by Thulani Ngazimbi, who grew up in Idaho after his parents immigrated from Zimbabwe. Read on to learn more about the history of the brand, its sustainability practices, and its mission to create meaningful clothes that tell a story. 


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Who is Thulani Ngazimbi?

Thulani Ngazimbi is the founder of The Rad Black Kids and an accomplished entrepreneur. He was inspired to start the brand in 2008. He found that the summers were a chore with nothing to do in a small Idaho town, and so he built himself a longboard skateboard out of a repurposed board that was still rideable.

He set out to create the kind of company that was welcoming and embraced his history and to do it creating something that he loved: longboards. He put his prior academic success to work and began developing the company that would eventually be called The Rad Black Kids — a company that strives to create a brand that tells a meaningful narrative story behind every garment it makes. 

History of The Rad Black Kids

The Rad Black Kids was founded out of Ngazimbi’s desire to see faces like his in action sports. 

In 2014, The Rad Black Kids launched with its first iteration of rider-oriented boards that were built using trucks, wheels, and bearings that the riders could customize themselves. The longboards flew off the shelves, and their products became known for quality, durability, and longevity. They launched their first clothing collection in 2015, and each collection since has been centered around an immersive storytelling experience with a focus on the African diaspora.


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Currently, all of the company’s products are made in Portugal with a focus on sustainability and reduced carbon emissions. Since the company’s inception in 2014, they started planting a tree for every product sold. Today, each product purchased plants 20 trees as a response to the increased climate emergency.

The Rad Black Kids Sneakers

In 2020, the brand released its first sneakers. The first sneaker to launch, The Gwanda is a tribute to Ngazimbi’s ancestors. It specifically references a reservation inside Gwanda called Sibekwa, where his ancestors were forced to relocate to.

The Moyo 1 is the second sneaker the brand released, and it’s a tribute to Ngazimbi’s grandfather. John Ngazimbi’s legacy has been hard to trace, but Ngazimbi’s sister found a quote in a book where he was cited as an intellectual. The Moyo 1 is a sneaker that showcases the drive in every person and the legacy that makes us who we are. 

The Inspiration Behind “The Inkwell” Collection

The Inkwell collection is the first exclusive collection between JD and The Rad Black Kids. Ngazimbi was inspired to create this collection when he found out about some of the casualties surrounding the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education. The collection is named for a Black beach, called Inkwell Beach, on the western end of Pico Boulevard. Ngazambi thought this was the perfect representation of a collection that was working to end Black stereotypes. 

Community Voices x The Rad Black Kids

On this week’s 88th episode of Community Voices, we’re thrilled to welcome Thulani Ngazimbi, Founder of @TheRadBlackKids. Thulani comes through to chat with us about his journey in the US as the son of immigrant parents, how snowboarding and surfing came into his life, and how he developed his clothing brand, The Rad Black Kids. He also talks about @black_surfing_rockaway, and the work they’re doing locally in New York to empower youth by providing free surfing and skating lessons. Catch the full episode below and learn more about other Black founders who are inspiring communities through fearless self-expression and subversive.


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