United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American 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. As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, the documentary UNITED SKATES highlights the dynamic world of roller skating, showcasing African-American rinks and skaters across the country as they fight to keep the culture alive and skate their hearts out. The film features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and World Class Wreckin’ Cru. UNITED SKATES spotlights three skaters fighting for their community: L.A. 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. Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler stop by to talk about their infectious and insightful look at a facet of African-American life in danger of fading away.

 

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Check out United Skates on HBO

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Reviews: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“…[an] exceedingly entertaining and genuinely revealing look into a roller-skating subculture that I frankly knew next to nothing about.” – Daniel Nava, Chicago Cinema Circuit

“This is a film that paints a humanizing portrait of an endangered form of expression, risked at the hands of the micro-racism and economic tribulations faced by the African-American community.” – Laura Birnbaum, Film Inquiry

One thought on “United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

  1. I am Carole Krechman and was the developer and owner of World On Wheels in 1979 we converted the basement of the Midtown Bowl in partners with the owner of the building opening for business in 1980 and then in 2016 helped the new owners open the rink again. My husband Sheldon Krechman worked with the City council to get the permit to open and I designed the facility. Then we brokered the deal with the Crips and Bloods to use the rink as neutral territory. The rest is history . we would love to share our story with Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler/ We have photos to share. We live in the Coachella Valley this was our dream. Congratulations on a wonderful story.

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