The wild history of the African American roller skating community

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A scene from “United Skates.” Photo courtesy of HBO.

World on Wheels is a roller skating rink on Venice Blvd in Mid City. It was closed for years, which brought an end to local African American skate culture.  But on so-called “adult nights,” black skaters created a vibrant scene at this roller rink and others like it across the country. They developed elaborate dance moves as they skated. In the 80s, rappers like Queen Latifah and Dr. Dre performed. The story of black roller skating culture is the focus of the HBO documentary “United Skates.”

Credits

Guests:
Dyana Winkler - co-director of “United Skates”, Phelicia Wright - roller skater

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Caitlin Plummer, Amy Ta