It’s an intimate look at the underground African American subculture of roller skating.
Executive produced by John Legend, “United Skates” spotlights a community of thousands who fight in a racially charged environment to save the dynamic world of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations, while giving rise to great musical talents.
“United Skates” follows three skaters fighting for their community: LA native Phelicia, a single mom who grew up in skates and hopes to keep skating alive for her children; North Carolinian Reggie, who lives hours from any rink that offers a night for Black skaters and vows to launch his own; and Buddy Love, the owner of Chicago-based Rich City Skate, who struggles to keep his rink open, despite financial pressure.
Like many in her community, Phelicia lives for “adult night,” the one night a week geared toward Black patrons – a vestige of White rink owners’ attempts to segregate Black skaters.
“It can be a thousand people on the floor, but when you’re in the zone, it’s as if it’s just you,” shared the mother.
After hearing of Los Angeles’ Skate Depot’s closure, Phelicia and her family are feeling its loss. Then after driving hours to another rink, she gets into a heated argument with an employee who claims their custom wheels violate rink rules.
For years, rinks have been a constant for Black communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A.
“United Skates” debuts Monday, February 18th exclusively on HBO and partnered streaming platforms, click here for more details.