Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, SilkySlim416 is a self-taught content creator and cannabis grower. Through seeking out resources and conducting his own research, he has had great success growing cannabis and creates video updates on his growing experiences as well as tutorials for budding growers and enthusiasts alike. Personally, I was immediately drawn to his on-camera personality, his editing style, cinematography and music use, which he has expressed he feels is “lacking as a whole in cannabis content online.” Straight up, I was incredibly surprised to find out he had only begun exploring desktop video editing within the last two months.
In this sPOTlight, I spoke to SilkySlim416 about his jumping off points into growing marijuana, shooting and editing videos and diving into content creation, as well as about how the cannabis landscape has changed after two years of recreational legalization in Canada and what the vibe has been like in Canada as they watch events unfold in the States. We also spoke about his experience with cannabis as a black man, the racial injustices embedded in the cannabis industry and how cannabis has been used historically to oppress and stigmatize people of color.
RJ: How long have you been growing marijuana and how did you start growing?
SilkySlim416: It's been approximately a year and a half now that I actually decided to take it seriously and grow my own cannabis at home. I consider growing cannabis as a life skill just as any other if you enjoy consuming or using it, like cooking or caring for something or someone and watching them grow. Naturally that builds a connection and a respect. The idea that you can create a form of life with a single seed or clone cutting and watch it grow day by day as well as control and train it to be something great is what made me want to grow my own cannabis. The factor of eventually saving money and becoming self-reliant was just an extra bonus. Just like anything else I started off making a shit load of mistakes but ultimately looked at each mistake as a learning experience.
RJ: Do you grow anything other than marijuana?
SilkySlim416: No, growing cannabis and creating content pretty much keeps me busy as it is. I have tried my hand at cultivating Psilocybin Mushrooms (Magic Mushrooms) in the past however that's slowly a work in progress and something I may revisit a bit later on.
RJ: From where did you gain your knowledge in growing marijuana? Did you learn from someone else or are you self-taught?
SilkySlim416: To be honest I picked up a lot of the knowledge and principles from as many resources as I could find. I am constantly looking at online grow channels and there are a lot of amazing content creators out there. Mr. Canucks Grow has been a big inspiration for the content I'm creating currently. Going out and reading books such as “The Cannabis Encyclopedia” by Jorge Cervantes offered a lot of information. As well as just simply talking to other local growers and asking questions with sales representatives at my local gardening supply shop usually helps significantly. Just asking questions and sharing personal experiences can be a big benefit with learning anything.
RJ: Your first upload to TheWeedTube, Old Habits & New Hobbies During Isolation, was on May 18th of this year. From where did the inspiration to start creating videos come? Was it fueled at all by COVID-19 quarantine?
SilkySlim416: I have been creating videos and content for at least 5 years now but on a much smaller scale, more like video clips shot on a “trap phone” with a cracked screen posting on Snapchat & Instagram. I find humour in parodies of real life situations. I often find myself trying to crack jokes about shitty situations I encounter. No one would be captivated or interested if everything was just perfect all the time… It's always been kind of my way of processing things. I guess it was just coincidental that everyone else was suddenly isolating and there was a topic that mostly everyone could relate too.
RJ: Also I’d be down to link up with Mr. 2K All-Day, a.k.a Mr. Left-Right-Outta-Sight, for a 2K pickup game!
SilkySlim416: THAT A CHALLENGE?!? LISTEN RJ. You Couldn't Hold Me If You Tried, I Talk `The “Big Talks” But I Play A “BIG Game”.
You can add me at any time, my handle stays the same across the board, “SILKYSLIM416 “ on the PSN.
RJ: Your edits and scripts are fantastic. What is your video making experience, who does your editing and how do you select the subjects or types of tutorials you do?
SilkySlim416: Thanks very much. I APPRECIATE THAT!!!! Like I said I had been just using a trap phone with a cracked screen to record content on a smaller scale in the past. I had gone out and purchased a DSLR camera over a year ago but with just “Life Issues” in general had never really taken the initiative to actually put it to any use or even learn how to use it properly for that matter.
Within the past 2 months approximately I've just been skimming through as many tutorials online as I can and just been learning as I go along how to use my camera with a broken LCD Screen and how to edit my own videos to look and feel the way I want them to feel. I have an outdated MacBook Air that is over 10 years old but somehow was able to run Final Cut Pro. I have no experience with this truthfully. I just figure that quality content is quality content, so you as a viewer will know if the content someone uploads is rushed or if they actually took time to make it something unique. I also believe “Art” imitates “Life”. I never would have considered myself to be funny or a comedian. I would have never considered myself to be influential or even a teacher to some. I’m literally just documenting and showing you the obstacles from week to week as a Legal Cannabis Grower & a Black Man in my city of Toronto, Canada.
RJ: Sidenote, your music selections are on point and add so much personality to your videos.
SilkySlim416: Thanks, I don't want to spill all the beans but I've noticed quite a bit of things that are lacking as a whole in Cannabis Content Online as well as the Cannabis Industry as a whole… Music is just one of the many things I'm going to be trying to incorporate within all of my video clips. Aside from being self taught with photography and video production, I have recently been interested and motivated by some good friends to try my hand in music production. Just started to put a bit of interest into music and who knows where it goes? I believe that music is a key part to any type of video. It controls and directs the flow of a story and overall how you as the viewer see things, also how you should feel during certain scenes. Imagine your favorite action movie with no sound effects like explosions and gunshots. The movie would hardly seem interesting. I rarely listen to newer music. My music selection has typically been something which sets the tone based on the social climate outside or could be just how I’m feeling that particular day.
RJ: How much of what you say in your videos is scripted and how much of it is off-the-cuff or improvised? Do you have a script writing process?
SilkySlim416: I guess it's a bit of both. Like I said this is all a learning process for me. For example my first video “Old Habits & New Hobbies During Isolation” took me 2 weeks to shoot and edit independently. But that was with no actual experience and my very first project I would upload online. I was fighting the learning curve which was difficult. Only benefit was the fact that it was seeming to keep me from getting too anxious and restless at home during Isolation. My last video on the other hand took me 1 day to film and edit independently. I'm only intending on progressively getting better at this as time goes on.
RJ: In 2018, Canada legalized marijuana. From your perspective, what have been the benefits that have followed legalization, whether that be with accessibility to marijuana, destigmatization or criminal justice reform, and what have been the cons or areas that still need work, if any?
SilkySlim416: I believe legalization of cannabis in Canada & even in the U.S. is still very much a new change to society as a whole. Benefits are definitely that cannabis use has been destigmatized to a degree. You are starting to see an increase of cannabis culture in mainstream media. Members of the cannabis community and cannabis enthusiasts are beginning to see more people like themselves not just on social media but also on movies, TV shows and cooking shows on large platforms such as Netflix. New platforms are opening specifically for cannabis culture as well like “TheWeedTube” and its users. Cannabis Culture also went from being taboo to a way of marketing and branding for many companies practically overnight.
Destigmatization has in turn allowed for an increase in accessibility not just in the flower itself, but also in terms of the information and conversation surrounding it. There are more books, recipes, and informative material coming out about marijuana. That being said, there is still a long way to go for the cannabis culture and being accepted in society. While there is an increase of movies and TV shows that are willing to acknowledge cannabis culture, I’d like to see it portrayed more accurately reflecting the main fact that just because you consume cannabis doesn't mean you're absent minded, uneducated or irresponsible. Years ago cannabis use was not just linked to killing brain cells as most of our parents would tell us. But it was actually associated with Devil Music (Jazz), as well as labeled as the thing that fueled black males to rape young white women as well was believed to be the cause for Mexican and Blacks being so lazy… *smh*.
There is a large history behind cannabis use and minorities in different cultures. But that was stripped away from us all and labeled as being criminal behaviour. Fast forward to present time, and now cannabis is legal and you can probably count the number of successful minorities in the cannabis industry on one hand which is sad. Especially as a black man who knows all this, it's hard to swallow when I don't see anything which represents me or my culture appropriately. It is the big reason that many families have or had male fathers arrested and removed from their homes. Even once people are released from incarceration, many have trouble restabilizing themselves back into society. Many people who had charges of simple possession or trafficking are now waiting on the government and the courts to figure out how to address previous marijuana charges after legalization. This has held them back from having a chance at decent employment or education because of these charges surrounding weed. For example, years ago I had a trafficking and possession charge for weed from my teens. Now, as an adult and long-time cannabis enthusiast, I noticed that cannabis cultivation courses suddenly started to pop up in local colleges. I thought it would be a great way to turn my passion into something legally productive. I decided I would apply and try to turn my life around by learning to grow weed for the government. However, the school declined the application due to my previous criminal record from years back. They informed me that I would not be able to receive a diploma from the institution. I was told I can pay tuition and come to class and study, but I would not be given the opportunity to do placement or gain employment within government facilities that require that you have a clean record.
RJ: At the end of one of your most recent videos, you added a message expressing condolences to those affected and murdered largely in part to racism, prejudice and gun violence. Of course, I know that you don’t speak for all of Canada, but how have you seen the events here in the United States affected movements in Canada and how does Canada see what’s going on down here?
SilkySlim416: There’s shitload of tension in the air in the U.S. that has been floating over the border up here to Canada. There has always been tension in both countries but plenty of things to offer distratraction. It’s just now recently, people are being reminded of the facts and the truth which has been in our faces this whole time.
In 1955, Emmett Till was lynched and murdered at the age of 14 years old. He was accused of whistling at a white woman (later admitted to having lied about the accusation). His face was brutalized beyond recognition. His mother kept an open casket funeral in the efforts of allowing all black people to see the injustice and pain that was inflicted on her child. She wanted those images to be etched into our brains, shared and NEVER FORGOTTEN. I feel as though whether we’re talking about the US or Canada, society and North America continues to forget about things like slavery and Jim Crowe law, due to distractions which are out there.
Martin Luther King Jr. said “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
RJ: What advice do you have for the budding grower that has no clue where to begin, may be working with a limited budget or may think they have a “black thumb?”
SilkySlim416: Be prepared and ready to make lots of mistakes. Shit ain’t sweet. Consider the idea that it typically takes 10,000 hours of practicing anything to actually be considered a world class expert. Keeping that in mind you’re going to make a ton of mistakes along the way. Once you realize that's just part of the game, you're not going to be as discouraged and wanting to quit, just make sure that you learn from your mistakes. Understand that you aren’t going to be perfect right away and understand that you’re not expected to have everything right off the bat. So start off small without trying to break the bank. Figure out the basics of a plant’s natural life cycle and once things make more sense, you can start going out and investing in better equipment to do the job over time.