Insights into a Skating Community

A short movie shows, that roller skating overcomes all social, racial, and cultural boundaries.

Filmmaker Isabelle Platt has experienced this for her short documentary “ROLL” both on her own, and in the rink. Like other students at the Claremont colleges located on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, Isabella Platt steered clear of its surrounding area, because of its bad reputation and the high crime rates. Nevertheless she decided on an outing at the Skate Express, a roller rink in the ill famed “Inland Empire”, and was amazed about the skaters and the friendly atmosphere.

The visit to the roller rink in Chino resulted in a wonderful short documentary about the passionate roller skating community at Skate Express. The film was presented in April at the Visions Film Festival & Conference in Wilmington, NC.

Skate Express is one of the few remaining rinks in Southern California. In recent years many rinks in the Los Angeles metropolitan area were forced to close, like World of Wheels and Skate Depot, or try to limit the African American attendees, e.g. by banning of the by these skaters preferred fiberglass micro wheels.

This is disastrous not only for roller skating, but also for the community and the neighborhood, which importance was conveyed excellently by Isabelle Platt in “ROLL”. She told me in a message, that they had looked into it more, had talked to the skaters, and soon had realized what an integral part of not just skating had been in the skaters’ lives, but the rink as well.

The rink serves as a community space where people could build their own family, lose the insanity of the outside world, and develop their passion, or maybe just social hobby. DJ Lady P characterizes the relevance of the music and her function as a DJ in this:

“It’s me, the music, and making all those the people on the floor rolling as hard as they can, that’s my goal. Because if I do that, that mean I hope, them leave their problems outside the door.” DJ Lady P

Skating in a rink could have an extensive impact on the social and emotional wellbeing. It’s a joint activity, in which everybody can express their own creativity and define their unique objectives. Across all skating styles, ages and social backgrounds. Isabelle Platt condensed this into awesome eight minutes.

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