As roller rinks around the country close left and right due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Black skaters are fighting to preserve the sport, which has brought our community good health for generations.
Long before she became the co-owner of Charlotte, North Carolina’s first outdoor skating rink, Brandi Fox was rolling around at spots in her city as a teen.
“Back in the day, early 2000s, we went to the skating rink every weekend — Friday and Saturday,” she told Word In Black in a phone interview. “It was common. It was something that we did. It was kind of like our teen club.”
In those days, Fox’s hometown had at least three rinks that served her community. But over the past decades, they’ve all shut down.
“They were all predominantly minority-based skating rinks, where we would go,” Fox says. “All three of those shut down within the past 20 years. So, there has not been another skating rink in the city of Charlotte within that time period.”
Roller skating as an industry is often hit hard when the economy suffers. Some rinks saw a decline in business during the 2008 Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic was no different.
Several rinks around the country shut their doors due to mandatory closures.