By Tiana Browne
Roller skating was born in the US around the 60s and 70s, it also paved the way for roller disco that began in the mid-70s. As major platforms such as Tiktok have gained in popularity, especially during the pandemic, black creators noticed that white content creators were receiving much more love and support from their followers than they were even though they are doing the same things if not better. Social media apps rely upon algorithms to better their interactions with us. If you have watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix you’ll understand what I mean; for example, the videos we like and leave comments on Tiktok tell those apps what kind of content we like the most since we interacted with them more. That means that deliberately, Tiktok will push similar videos to our screens because they know we’ll engage more, which means more unproductive screen time for us but more business for them because they make money from us wasting our time on those apps.
Because of this, people are a lot more likely to see posts from people with similar interests as them, or people who look like them and even people that live in their area perhaps. My for you page on Tiktok will probably look completely different to yours because we probably don’t have the same interests but algorithms can be random and more complex than just how people react to content so it may not always be the case.
The most important thing about skating culture is for non-black skaters to understand the roots of it, where it came from and where it all began. The problem black people were having is that the white content creators had come up with a new skate style that they believed to be a lot more basic compared to the type of skating they are used to. I can imagine it was hard for them to see much simpler moves being taught by people who weren’t as skilled as them so I see why it could be disheartening to see someone reaping the benefits of something you should also be gaining from.
Black Culture made roller skating popular because it started to include new styles of skating such as jam skating. Jam Skating started off as an underground movement began by teenagers and skaters, jam events were created and these allowed them to meet, perform, trade moves, and battle. I also think it helped rap music and hip-hop because it was black music that was being played in the skate rinks and that allowed for the black community to unite and be together in one place. It was a key social activity that gave black people the freedom and expression they wanted and needed that they couldn’t have due to racial discrimination at the time. During the 1970s there was obviously a lot of racism and segregation so many pro-black protests occurred because of the oppression black people faced daily back then even though black people are still having to deal with discrimination in today’s society.