Roller Skating And Race In America

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Yorbing Staff Tuesday February 26, 2019

WNYC The Takeaway Feb 26, 2019

Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler set out to document the end of the roller skating era. Instead, they discovered a rich tradition with unique styles and a whole subculture for black Americans across the country. In fact, roller rinks offered some of the biggest hiphop artists their first venues at a time when venue owners gave their music little credence or space. 

“When you listen to music you like to skate with, it’s a feeling” like a heartbeat, Phelicia, a Los Angeles skater said. But the community that has been a part of her life and her children’s lives has begun to fade as rinks around them closed. 

From segregation to gentrification, the history of roller skating is tied to the same forces that have impacted so many in the black community.

Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler are the filmmaker’s behind the HBO film, United Skates. They joined The Takeaway to talk about the past, present, and future of roller skating. 

In 2016:



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