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

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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.

Event Coverage
Lace Up, Rise Up

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

Tribeca Film Festival
Audience Award

Hot Docs
Official Selection
Chicago Intl FF
Audience Award
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."

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