Black History Month
Sista SkateKamry on skating and founding Sista Skate: I started skating because I needed an outlet that was just for me. I was going through a hard time, and I needed something to bring a little bit of joy into my life. I started Sista Skate to inspire other Black women to get involved in roller skating, to find the joy within it that I did, to create a community where we can embrace ourselves and showcase who we really are to the world and show that there's more to roller skating than what you see on the internet.Jasmine on the history of skating in the Black community: Skating has really been cemented in the Black community as not only a pivotal and monumental cultural standpoint for music and artistry, but also during the civil rights era. Roller rinks were a place for Black Americans to escape and not feel the stressors of the outside world. To be able to step into a building and just release all the hardships that you had at the doorway and let yourself go to the freedom of the music and environment is something that a lot of Black Americans don't necessarily get to experience day-to-day. I'm very happy that I have these lovely, wonderful women around me to continue building that legacy within the community.Jasmine on what Sista Skate means: In the earlier days, a lot of rap and hip hop and R&B artists could only really perform at roller skating rinks, specifically on the adult nights or the soul nights, what tended to be categorized as the Black nights. But for a lot of major artists like Ice Cube and Queen Latifah, roller rinks cemented their place in the music industry because those were the first venues that allowed them to take up space. What Sista Skate means is to not be afraid to take up space and stand in your identity.
Through the eyes of Delali AyiviA Set of Dreams To honour Black History Month, photographer Delali Ayivi and the Sista Skate collective come together to celebrate Black Joy as a form of Resistance. The call time was early. Even earlier for the leaders of Sista Skate. It was a cold December day in LA but you would never know by watching the energetic collective — they punctuated every sentence with a laugh, cheered each other on, danced between takes and offered their own ideas for the shoot. After the sun had set and the day had wrapped, Sista Skate sat down with Aritzia to answer a few questions on freedom, expression, joy and of course, skating.
— Kamry JamesSista Skate on meeting each other: Cree: It was at a wellness get-together that I met you guys. I had just moved to LA and was like, whoa, look at this community of beautiful women. I felt so empowered to just dive in. Kelsey: Me and Kamry met at the rink. We know that people of all different colours and backgrounds skate, but it's not usually Black women who get uplifted in those spaces. We just saw each other, and it was really nice to be like, "Oh, I see you.” Jasmine: I met Cree, Kelsey and Kamry at various times related to roller skating. I think there's so much comfort and satisfaction in being surrounded by people who understand your struggles and understand your joys just as much. Kelsey: Sista Skate is really cool because we're around women who reflect our experiences and our physical bodies and we're rooting for each other. We believe all ships can sail and we don't have to step on each other to get ahead.
— Jasmine Moore
— Kelsey Guy
— Cree SermoneCree on gratitude: I'm so grateful for the Sista Skate community and the friendship. I don't know how many times I've cried with Kamry on the phone or through a voice note. Beautiful relationships have come from skating. @sistaskate_ @kamrylorin @the_good_guy91 @amazingcree @justseconds Cree wears the Corelli Cardigan, Soloist Top, Sail Poplin 3” Short, Frenchy Blouse, Lydia Top and Brennan Pant. Jasmine wears The Effortless 5” Short, Lorelei Dress, Lydia Halter Top, Audio Top and Jupiter Jean. Kamry wears the Chill Malibu Dress, Soloist Top, Buttercup Skirt, Natalie Top and Saturn Mini Skirt. Kelsey wears the SinchSeamless™ Tank, Olive Micro Pleated Skirt, Chill Malibu Cropped T-Shirt, Chill Atmosphere Hi-Rise 3" Short, Tiny Tank, Boyfriend Poplin Shirt, Maeve Cargo Pant and Gelato Linen Short.
Delali Ayivi Delali is a Togo and NYC-based photographer. She co-founded, Togo Yeye — a publication that spotlights Togolese identity. Her photos feature bright colours and dramatic contrast and, for this shoot, she made no exceptions. Between surreal shots and blowing giant soap bubbles, we found time to talk about utopia, inspiration and life’s crossroad moments.
— Delali AyiviDelali on the inspiration behind the shoot: The inspiration is really the talent. We looked at roller skating culture and aesthetics from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Also, the conversation we had with the skaters — it was about community and individuality, and how strengthening individuality can be really empowering. Within a community, if you strengthen the individual, it's a beautiful way to come together. I think there's something very utopic about what Sista Skate is doing. On utopia: I almost think there is no such thing as utopia because it's so idealistic, it's so romanticized that it's probably not possible. But I think for us, and for every generation, we need to envision some version of utopia for societies to evolve. For me, utopia is a set of dreams, a set of ideals that we’re able to give to future generations. It's probably less about concrete terms of what needs to happen in the future, but more about general values that we share as communities and give to the next generation, just the way our parents did. On environmental influence: I try to bring elements from everywhere, from every experience, from every place that I have roots. But I think it's all about the light. In Togo, I have wide spaces. I have the beach. I have things there that I have to create when I'm in New York or London. So I focus a lot less on set design in Togo than I do in New York or London. On carving her own path: After school I worked as a medical assistant. I gained experience and insight into my mother’s career as a doctor. She pursues her job with so much passion — it's basically her whole life. She absolutely loves what she does. I felt like I needed to carve my own path. In just three months I created a portfolio and applied to University of the Arts London and got in. On co-founding the publication, Togo Yeye: In Togo we looked at the community around us and felt there was a lack of togetherness among creatives. We also didn’t have anything that showcased any of the creativity that comes out of Togo, at least not on a more global level. We started sourcing young designers and models, makeup artists, and just looked at the garments they created. On making it: I feel like the moment I sit down and say “I've made it” is the moment I'm done with my career. I feel like I need to stay constantly curious. Every time I finish a project I'm excited, especially when I get to release it. But I'm also already onto the next one. It’s almost like a learning curve, like, "okay, this is what I've learned from this project and I'm going to do it better next time." That's hopefully never going to stop, this urge to outplay myself, to do a bit better every time. No, I don't think I've made it at all.
— Delali AyiviOn feeling joy: Being able to come up with ideas and then realize them — there's something so satisfying about that. I'm incredibly lucky that my images seem to move something in people. I'm never going to pretend that images can offer direct or immediate help. But I think there's a pride that a lot of Togolese people feel when they see these images out there. We've produced images in Togo that were published in magazines all over the world, and I think there's a pride in seeing Togo represented. Those things bring me joy. @delaliayivi EXPLORE DELALI’S WORK
Aritzia CommunityCommunity partnerships we’re proud to support year-round. The Brotherhood Sister Sol We're proud to support the programming serving young women at The Brotherhood Sister Sol with a financial contribution. This will help hundreds of young LatinX and Black women in Harlem and New York City connect to their history and plan for their future. CJF-CBC RADIO-CANADA BLACK WOMEN'S JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIP We're proud to be entering our third year of sponsorship for the CJF-CBC RADIO-CANADA Black Women's Journalism Fellowship, a paid mentorship career opportunity for Black women journalists. The fellowship aims to amplify Black voices, improve coverage of Black issues and support future Black media leaders. Resources Relevant resources to enhance your Black History Month experience and education. LiteratureFilmsTVPodcasts
01 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
02 They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib
03 We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samanatha Irby
04 The Skin We’re in: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole
05 Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts
06 In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
07 Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin
08 Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
09 Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
10 Year of the Yes by Shonda Rhimes
01 Paris Is Burning
02 Black is King
03 The Hate You Give
04 Roll Bounce
05 Sister Act
02 How to Get Away with Murder
05 Chewing Gum
01 Take Up Space
02 2 Dope Queens
03 Sistas Who Kill: A True Crime Podcast
04 Black Is Black
05 The Black Girl Bravado
06 The Read
07 Code Switch
08 Black Men Can't Jump [In Hollywood]
09 Busy Being Black
10 Gettin' Grown