Felicia, Queen Latifah, Tina Brown discussed on Press Play with Madeleine Brand


I'm Barbara game for Madeline brand. I'd like to throw some heels I take a trip up toward. There rapping about the scene at world on wheels. World on wheels is a roller skating rank on Venice boulevard in mid city. It was closed for years like a lot of rings in the US. And that also meant the end to local African American skate culture on certain nights called adult nights. Black skaters created a vibrant scene at these roller. Rinks? They developed elaborate dance moves on skates and in the eighties. Rappers like Queen Latifah, and Dr Drey would perform the story of black roller skating culture is told in a new HBO documentary called United skates. Madeline sat down recently with Deanna Winkler who co directed the film and Felicia right a longtime roller skater and one of the subjects of the movie. Thanks for coming in you too and dealing with begin with you. How did you come across this? Yeah. Tina Brown, and I basically made this entire film. Just the two of us we shot. It did all the sound directed at Purdue state two women shell and neither of us are African American and neither of us scape. So. So actually the project found us. We're quite adamant that people tell stories from within their own communities, and we didn't actually feel this was our story to tell. Although we were introduced to the scene. We said occupies amazing. We love what you're doing and good luck. And we laughed but the skaters themselves they pulled us back in. They kept saying no, we want it to be you. We bought you to make this film so Tina, and I finally said, okay, if we do this. We're going to do it with you buy you for you. And so every where we went in every city that we shot an and Lee shot in cities all over this country to capture all the different skate styles in music scene. Coming out of each city. We were picked up by a skater. We were housed by skater. We slept on their floors their couches and escape took his into their rank on their night. So we never went in as outsiders. And I think you feel that in the film, and how did you actually film the skating sequences because someone was on skates? Right. Yes. Many people were on skates is so hard to. Shoot roller skating. Well, especially when you're in Arinc that's low limit when they're moving fast. And when there have darker skin tones, it's three challenges all in one Felicia showing. And and so we had a lot of trial and error. We had a lot of bad footage before we got the good footage. But ultimately, we've been put Felicia pushed us from behind while we shot on. But we also handed off our cameras often to the skaters themselves to get the footage for us because it's dangerous out there. Do you know how to skate now? So when did you learn how to skate Felicia, I was born into this culture? My mom was on. The taps gay deejays was born. My father was a flag art sell Apas born into this culture. And so from says, I remember every Christmas and birthday, I got skates. And it's just. And what was your rank at the time back in those days of the old Hollywood scaling back in the day. Of course, that's gone. And then later on it was run on Lewis come nineteen Eighty-one describe world on wheels. Because that was quite a scene in the eighty s. Ron Wilson's everything. And as I was down with every day. Oh my God. I need to take stock and Ronaldo's that's much. Money's we used to give you. Because it was just a place to be. It was always crowded. There was not every time. It wasn't. It was just an an awesome place to be you know, the deeper that we got into this world the more. We realized that rinks have played a major role in so many parts of American culture that we didn't realize first of all we found out that one of the first citizens in the country was escape in in a roller rink in Chicago to get access to skate and later on we found out that all of these hip hop artists got their starting their rank. And we wanted to know why? And what we discovered is that in the early days of hip hop and rap they weren't actually allowed to perform in large venues because their music wasn't taken seriously. And so the only places that they could go were roller rinks on an adult night. And so what they started to do was started to have tours in roller rinks they would perform in one rink one night. And then go to another city perform. I'm in their rank go to the next performing their rank. And so that was how a lot of these early artists got their starts Queen latifah's. First performance was in a roller rink. Dr dre started as a DJ was his first job in a roller rink and then NWEA had their first performance in the rink. I mean, the list goes on and it wasn't just in LA. It was in New York. And then in Atlanta as well. There's a huge scene in Atlanta. What is the origins? What is the history of this? Well, how did this culture flower in roller rinks, so it came out of segregation? And these ranks that at the beginning didn't allow African Americans escape at all they fought to be allowed to skate, but then had to stay separate one night. They gave us one night. Yes. And those nights where then called code words like soul night Aren being night. Martin Luther King. We found a sign of rank in Philadelphia. I believe it was called CPS night. I mean Harvey. Yes. We have the poster. And so you know, what they were doing was subliminally letting people know which nights they were welcome in which nights, they were not. And if the black skaters would go on a top forties night or family night. They would be told they didn't have their size skates. They would actually hire thugs to beat them up and not let them on the floor. And if they pushed back and said, you know, we have a right to be here to they'd say see when there's black people here there's violence, and so they just ended up sticking to their nights. But on those nights, they created this beautiful world that we tried to capture in the film. And felicia. So you side also is a great way to keep your kids out of trouble all to keep your kids. Bonded to you to create a strong family life because you would take your five kids all the time to go roller skate like every week. Yeah. And this still is that place. If you want a good babysitter taken skating, you fat mouth and afternoons state ads. It's an election night, and they're safe. But they're also creating a great social does have great social life. It teaches you that as a child the girl the skating with me in the beginning. And now people we practice that leaving that's practice anything and we've been getting together nine years. You're not just just for the audience. You're not just skating around in a circle. Just no getting and then crossing are getting because you're doing all of these tricks and dance. It's.

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