by Stacey J. Smith, Special to The New Tri-State Defender
The skate culture in Memphis is alive and well thanks in part to Chicago native Lukki, an avid skater who spent most of his summers in Memphis at his favorite hangout, the Crystal Palace Skating Rink.
Lukki made Memphis his home in August 2000 and made his skate style, the Southern Roll, a movement. The Southern Roll was a phrase coined by Lukki three years ago, as a slow and smooth style with a unique bounce.
The music the Southern Roll skaters enjoy is slower and from hardcore musicians such as NWA, Eric B. & Rakim and Jay-Z. In Chicago, the skating pace was fast and akin to speed skating to house music.
In May 2017, Lukki hosted the first national skate party in Memphis at East End Skating Center and named it “Southern Roll.” The response was phenomenal.
Ebony Lemons, also an avid skater, said, “I started skating in February 2017 and attended the first Southern Roll party, but I did not get acquainted with Lukki until I won first place in the costume contest at the 2017 Halloween Roll. I have grown more passionate about the art of skating.”
Lukki credits social media to the great reception to the movement. “There are so many things to like about Southern Roll, but the best thing about it is the feedback. Not only do we get love locally, but to attend skate weekends out of town in cities like Atlanta, Louisville, Little Rock and Dallas and be recognized either by face or the Southern Roll logo is most rewarding.
“We receive so much love by highlighting our Memphis style on social media, that people want to attend our parties and sport our apparel. The support is so real.”
Southern Roll is a skate family and believe in the motto, “Built on 1 Luv.” They realize skaters are loyal to their rink, whether it’s Crystal Palace, East End or Skateland Raleigh, but they want to bring them together for special events.
The next Southern Roll special event is the Mask On, Mask Off Halloween Roll on Oct. 28 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at East End Skating Center. Admission is $15 and there will be prizes in addition to a $150 prize for the best Halloween costume.
Most Southern Roll skaters are adults — ranging in age 21 to 70 — and they attend Sunday Night Live from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Mellow Night Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. at East End Skating Center.
The attendance for those two popular nights ranges from 80 to 200 skaters. For the annual Southern Roll Sk8 Affair, which will be May 17-18, 2019, there are generally 500 or more skaters from all over the country.
Lukki has a team that helps with promotion, branding, apparel and travel, but he still believes there is a lot of talent sitting at home when they could be getting their roll on.
For more information on the Southern Roll movement, visit @southernroll_memphis on Instagram and Southern Roll Sk8 Luv on Facebook.