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. Read More

Video4:49

Interview

Culture Close-Up

Luvvie Ajayi sits down with camera operator Travis Johnson to talk about the dynamic subculture of roller skating and its significance in African-American communities.

EXTRA2:05

Event Coverage

Lace Up, Rise Up

The talent and community behind the documentary gather to celebrate, comparing the rinks to church.

awards
Tribeca Film Festival
Audience Award

awards
Hot Docs
Official Selection
awards
Chicago Intl FF
Audience Award
awards
New Orleans Intl FF
Audience Award

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

— Variety


What Critics Are Saying

"A celebration of a vibrant black subculture that also shows how discrimination can pervade even the most harmless pastime. Highly recommended."

"Black roller skating culture is depicted with both elegiac and euphoric beauty. "

"Charming, informative, and a little heartbreaking."

"United Skates shows dance moves that can give you chills. Let’s hope roller rinks make a comeback now that this movie is out there."

More Documentaries to Explore

Ways to get HBO
Get HBO Anytime, Anywhere

Discover how you can enjoy HBO’s original series, hit movies, documentaries and more. HBO is available through the HBO NOW streaming app, TV package, or an existing digital subscription

Did You Know?

You can stream HBO anywhere you go. Watch HBO on your TV, computer, tablet or mobile phone.