Darius Sanders is a 20-year-old artistic roller skater and a JB skater. JB is a style inspired by James Brown’s music and dance moves. He’s the No. 1 roller skater in the United States, and fourth in the world. He’s also a seven-time regional and national champion. Beyond skating, Sanders is making an impact in the community and in kids’ lives.
What is the difference between artistic and JB skating?
Artistic roller skating is like ice skating except it’s on roller skates. James Brown skating is more of a dance style of roller skating with like your feet and stuff. So if you saw James Brown dance on the floor, we did the exact same thing except on roller skates. The music is also a remix with James Brown’s music, so we kind of hear his screams and stuff. We named it after James Brown, that’s why it’s called James Brown skating.
When did you start roller skating?
I started getting into roller skating when I was about 4 years old. My mom was actually a national champion in roller skating, so every Sunday and Saturday, she would bring me to her practices. We would have to wake up early, like six in the morning. And I was always tired. She always made me go with her. One day I went with her, and she put me in a pair of skates, and ever since then, I’ve been skating. I got James Brown skating from my dad because he used to also skate, [but] he never took it seriously like my mom did. Once I started doing James Brown skating with my friends, that’s how I started learning the style and then different music and moves with it as well.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my routines to get ready for the national championships. I’m also helping other kids at my skating rink get ready for their championships, and helping them improve on their jumps and spins. I’m also grateful to be a part of Disney because I’ve been watching them for years. I’m a part of the new show called “Saturdays.” I’m also part of a new superhero show called “Moon Girl.” I’m really excited about that. I’m doing an anti-bullying campaign to [spread] awareness among people around the world because a lot of people are being bullied and they don’t really know how impactful that is on that person. So, I’m trying to spread this across the world and just try to keep bullying away from people and uplift everybody.
What are your goals?
My goals are to be the first African American to go to World Championships and win. There hasn’t been an African American that’s been to the championships, or at least get top 10. I want to be the first to make history like Serena Williams and Tiger Woods. They all made history and opened doors for other African Americans, and I want to do the same thing because a lot of people don’t know about this sport.