The Roller Skate Sounds of Summer 2020

The colorful pastime of roller skating reemerged on TikTok in the wake of COVID-19. But for some, it was there all along.

Some may call this a comeback, others will side eye you and question where you've been. In the wake of a pandemic and shelter in place measures, outdoor and exercise activities are giving people the fresh air they have needed for years.

Sports equipment saw a spike in demand but that's not the only thing flying off the digital shelves. Roller Skating companies such as Impala and Moxie have been working extra hard to keep up with this huge increase in demand since March. The suspect - TikTok. Yes I said it, and I am not the only one thinking it.

You may not be the only one mesmerized by a beautiful community of skaters rolling through your Instagram and TikTok feeds. All of them twirling, gliding, and even flipping to classic Biggie, Jlo, and Doja Cat's breakout single "Say So". Miss Ana Coto racked up 14 million views for this Tiktok video, thus fueling the activity of the summer.

Roller Skate culture is an amazing past time connected to iconic music and a late night scene like no other fueled mostly by the black stake community during segregation. It is important that we continue to highlight roller skaters from all backgrounds and we are excited to help share their stories and experiences.

“I don’t want people to forget how the black community has contributed to the history of skating,” - Toni Bravo, NY Times

We caught up eight inspiring skaters to see how roller skating fills their life with joy. We want to know what music they bump while they roll through town, the new friends they have made, and to understand what they love about this ever growing and amazing community.

Name: Upreyl (Prey)

Social Handle: @preyonwheels

City you rep: Detroit all day! But stuck in Nashville.

Favorite Pair of Roller Skates: I’ve only ever worn Moxis and I love my Jack Boots! But I’m drooling over the new Moonlight Moon Boots.

So what inspired you to start skating? Is this a new hobby or something you have had in your life for a while?

I’ve been skating for a year now. I bought my skates on Juneteenth of 2019 as an act of protest. I was extremely depressed and unhappy living in a society that oppressed me as a poor, fat, queer, black woman. I realized that I needed something in my life that brought me joy because my misery was allowing them to win. So I decided on skate therapy! And it worked. This is the happiest I’ve been in my adult life.

Does roller skating serve as a form of self care and wellness for you?

Absolutely. Since beginning my skate practice, I’ve been able to avoid falling into depression. It’s honestly been a life changing process. Skating has also helped me embrace and love my body more. I feel more beautiful, more powerful, and more joyful because of my daily practice.

I can imagine there is so much freedom & excitement as soon as you get those speakers bumpin'...What is your go to song or playlist once you lace up your skates?

I primarily do slow flow skating so I love skating to slow jams. There’s a lot of Anderson.Paak, Nao, Luther Vandross, and DeBarge on my playlist. I also feel really nostalgic when skating so I have a lot of disco in my playlist. My favorite disco song right now is "Gotta Take Your Love" by G.A.M.E.

Are you more of an indoor roller rink skater or do you prefer to skate outdoors?

I usually skate outdoors. Since sunlight helps with depression, I like to feed the melanin whenever I’m rolling. There’s nothing like flying down a hill with the wind in your fro! Lol. But I do visit the rink because it’s so much easier to practice certain moves there.

What is your favorite memory that involves roller skating?

I love when children watch me skate. It’s always magical to see little girls watching me twirl around. Especially little black girls. I can see the mini skater growing in them and it makes me so happy.

What is the best part of the roller skating community for you and why?

I’m really encouraged by the number of friends I’ve made since skating. As a socially awkward person, I’ve always struggled with connecting with people. But since I’ve started skating, I’ve met so many great people online and in person. The skaters I’ve surrounded myself with are so supportive and accepting.

Name: Athena Fuentes

Social Handle: @ashinabeana (personal) @rollerizzi (skates)

City you rep: Mesa, AZ

Favorite Pair of Roller Skates: Moxi Skates

So what inspired you to start skating?

During quarantine, I was going insane from staying indoors. I was on TikTok to pass the time and Ana Coto was on my FYP busting out her iconic backwards walk on skates.

Are you more of an indoor roller rink skater or do you prefer to skate outdoors?

Arizona summer heat is intense. I prefer indoors!

What is your favorite memory that involves roller skating?

I actually convinced my mom and my brothers to skate! When the sun sets, all of us go outside and we skate around our little cul-de-sac.

How have new platforms like Tiktok connected you with this amazing growing community of skaters?

I find more amazing roller skaters on Tiktok! I’m excited skaters like Esty, Nicole Fiore and Indy Jamma Jones follow me!

Tell me about your most epic fail and your proudest moment while riding skates.