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British actress Cynthia Erivo has joined forces with Adobe on a cool new project, “Stories on Skates.”
The project features a line of digital roller skates showcasing the sport’s illustrious history — and its extensive roots in Black culture.
She’s not wrong.
Roller skating has been extensively white-washed by western media. The true history is highlighted in the HBO documentary “United Skates,” which explains how the Black skating community was part of both the civil rights movement and the evolution of Hip-Hop.
Queen Latifah, Eric B and Rakim, New Edition, N.W.A. and other performers performed at Compton’s Skateland rolling rink in the mid-1980s. Skateland is even credited for helping to break N.W.A.
The star, who is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in “Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha,” says it’s because of its connection to Black history that she jumped at the project.
“What drew me to the project was the opportunity to dive into the technology and the creativity that I love being a part of,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
“The most beautiful thing about this is that we get to celebrate the aspects and touchstones of our Black community, the Black college culture, the Black experience [because] roller skating is, as a whole, part of the Black experience. Using that medium to pull out specific moments and facets of our culture to celebrate was a really cool thing.”
Erivo is also excited about the tech side of things. The collection of digital skates. She was hands-on during the creative process.
But as fly as the skates may be — Erivo wants culture to be the component that sings the loudest.
“Being able to express that using technology was really exciting, and no one had ever asked me to do anything like that before. I was able to come on as a creative director and share my ideas and help influence how things looked,” she says. “Forgive me for making this more like medicine than sugar, but to have been asked as a Black woman to come on board and help shape the way we see Black culture and shape the way we look at our lives, that felt really good to be included in that way.”