UNITED SKATES (2019)

united-skates-tribeca

 

Directed By: Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler
Written By: Dyana Winkler
Cinematography: Tina Brown, Dynana Winkler & Matthew Peterson
Editor: Katharine Paterson 

Featuring: Salt N Pepa, Coolio, Queen Latifah, Reggie Brown, Vin Rock, Alonzo Williams 


When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture–one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

This documentary is about roller skating, the rinks the people who attend and specialize in running and participating in this past time. How it taps into culture and tradition. Though through it all this documentary is really about community, racism and prejudice seen through that lens. How depleting smaller businesses to make more money but would rather leave the locations empty rather than allowing the Business to stay there rather until they can find someone to pay the exorbitant rental price of the property leaving a gaping wound and an eyesore for the community for where there was once some kind of hope there. As this absence of spirit leaves others to focus on wrong distractions and elements. Without a place for the neighborhood to support and get to know one another. Which seems to be a universal problem facing a bunch of communities The different fashions, styles focus more on the African American community that it affects . As a culture that more took it seriously even if recreationally in the past as a meeting place and a place to go to stay out of trouble and hang with friends. A kind of community activity center that is rapidly disappearing.

Not only that but the few places there are seem to Try to keep that so called element away fearing they will bring more crime or danger to the location. So these places create specific rules or Selectively enforce them for only certain customers.

Just as these places used to use codes to indicate it was a night for more urban customers as a warning to keep their regular customers away and how these locations all of a sudden hired more security had cops outside and all of a sudden employed meta detectors. Plus made these urban only nights all ages nights so parents could bring their kids but the adults have no nights of their own and they have no place to go. It shows how African Americans are still feared and treated like less than human. Or treated guilty before anything happens. It still feels like segregation.

So as the film celebrates Thai culture and how it has matured over the years it also shows It’s deterioration. The little micro aggressions and how it leaves a hole in the community leaving youths with nothing to do but get into trouble as they have no focus and not much to look forward to.

You would never believe or think that something so small would have such a strong impact in the community and individual lives and futures. This documentary is riveting when you don’t expect so much from It’s seemingly light face value. At least it ends on some amount of hope.

Grade: B

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