Black Skate Culture Thrives With Enthusiasts, Naptown Real Rollers – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather

A centuries-old activity is gaining new momentum.

Roller skating, once seen as something for the genteel and wealthy, has undergone a transformation, with black skater culture leading the trend. There is evidence that Indianapolis black skate culture dates back approximately 70 years or more.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – When the wheels hit the hardwood, it’s magic.

Lowell Harris, president of Naptown Real Rollers, said, “And what keeps me coming back is that kind of excitement.”

When you find the groove, the music moves you.

“I love what I do. I love skating,” said Naptown Real roller skater Terrell Jackson.

Roller skating, that’s life.

Naptown Real roller skater Deschantrice Smith said: “You can’t even explain it. It goes beyond skating. It’s a whole culture in itself.”

There is a melody in every wheel spin and the symphony can last a lifetime depending on how long you drive. That’s the beauty. Some would call it poetry in motion.

“I can change it back and still stay smooth,” said LaMone Rogers.

That’s where Rogers of Naptown Real Rollers got his skate name. He and Harris formed the group in 1999.

“So at that point I said, you know, let’s see if we can build a culture ourselves and continue that tradition, and that’s actually how this club started,” Rogers said.

The duo are still rolling, now with a few more on the list. Skateland, 3902 N. Glen Arm Road on the Northwest Side, is the home base for a weekly adult roller skating night, and the crew always performs.

Harris said, “What was important for this club was to bring people in, teach them the art and flow of skating, and introduce them to something different than what’s out there on the street.”

At its core is a love of skating, camaraderie and community building. The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up the skate world even more.

Jackson said, “A lot of people come here to get away.”

Further proof that a freedom is found on the ground and it is an open space for newcomers and professionals alike.

Smith said, “A lot of people are always like, ‘That just looks so cool. I just wish I could get out there and skate. And you look great. Wow.’ The only way you’re going to get anywhere from where we are now is if you try, just come and put on some skates.”

Harris said if you speak about history, black skater culture is growing deep in Indiana. “The black culture of skating has not only stayed alive, it’s growing and growing.”

The Naptown Real Rollers are a traveling skate group. So black skate culture isn’t unique to Indiana. You’ll find similar ice skating scenes across the country.

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