Make no mistake; Stevie Williams blazes trails. From his early days as a mainstay in the Philadelphia skate scene he has gone from strength to strength. Not only has he linked up with The Kayo Corp, who distribute his Dirty Ghetto Kids skate wear and accessories, but he also has a solid working partnership with producer extraordinaire, Don Cannon ( he of Young Jeezyâ€™s Go Crazy fame) which has resulted in the opening of a skate store in Atlanta and a series of mixtapes. Ever the mogul, Stevie has linked up with Interscope Records for the Steelo Hero website – www.steelohero.com – a portal where users can browse items about skateboarding, street wear, culture, new music and generally keep up to date with all things dope.
Taking a little time out from an increasingly busy schedule, Stevie chopped it up with Format about 80â€™s skate inspired flicks, his camaraderie with the Broad Street Bully, silver screen ambitions and his character in the Tony Hawkâ€™s seriesâ€¦.
There has definitely been a change in the way skateboarding is looked at in the hood
Format: How old were you when you started skating? Who inspired you to take it up?
Stevie Williams: I was 10 and a half years old and I was inspired by Christian Slater [in Gleaming The Cube].
Format: Can you describe your early experiences skating Philadelphia as a kid? Has the city changed much in terms of skate spots since then?
Stevie Williams: Pretty rugged, exciting and different. It’s a travelling sport. It has changed a little bit, the skate spots are already damaged by people who own the property – they may not be there anymore. The skate spot will always be there because nobody looks at it the way we do. Skateboarders look at skate spots differently and we think about what type of tricks we can do.
Format: You were skating for DC for a while, how did you end up getting the Reebok endorsement?
Steve Williams: It was a situation that happened with my contract; at DC they gave me the ability to look for potential options. At the time Reebok seemed like the best option. It was a period of transition in my life; it was about business and not just being an athlete.
Format: In one of the print ad campaigns for DGK, there was a photo of you buying up every copy of Beanie Sigelâ€™s The B-Coming in a store. Do the rappers from Philly support you in what you do or are they pretty much mystified by it?
Stevie Williams: I show them mad support. I rep their music. We all have a Philly swagger; to make it out of Philly is big; we show them love. They knew about all the stuff I was doing; and [Beans] was supporting me and we support each other.
Format: How did you hook up with Don Cannon? You’ve released a couple of mixtapes through the site – do you have any musical ambitions of your own?
Stevie Williams: I’ve know Cannon for a while. We have a mixtape called Skate Property that just dropped and can be downloaded at www.myspace.com/dgk215 or call me personally at 215-240-7321. We work with DJ Drama in Philly too. It’s a good relationship; we came together and we did it. The love and support is Atlanta in huge. [I have] No musical ambitions of my own. If anybody catches my rapping; its just me messing around. I never really planned to be in the music business. I love music; but it’s not my business besides some collaboration opportunities.
Format: Alongside yourself, Kareem Campbell, Harold Hunter (R.I.P) and Terry Kennedy are some of the best known Black pro-skaters. Are there any new Black proÂ¹s who you really dig at the moment?
Stevie Williams: I dig all skaters; there are a lot of up and coming skaters. If you look at the timeline of those names that were just dropped; those are different eras of skate. We are all different; with generational gaps – we all have our successes. As for the business side of skate; Kareem Campbell has created a name for himself. It’s about the talent, but also about who can sustain into the next era and keep your name alive.
Format: You’ve seen the likes of Lupe Fiasco doing their thing on a board. Is he really as good as he says?
Stevie Williams: I haven’t really read anything that he has said about how good he is. Iâ€™ve seen him; he can do some tricks.
Format: Pharrell Williams has mentioned in interviews about how skateboarding was pretty much something alien to inner city areas, despite the fact it’s the location for some of the best stuff to skate. Do you think that’s still the case now, or has there been a change in the way skateboarding is looked at in the hood?
Stevie Williams: There has definitely been a change in the way skateboarding is looked at in the hood; due to myself, TK and others. You see kids skating in the hood all the time [now], because itâ€™s been shown to be successful.
Format: Is there a single quality that all the skaters on the DGK team have in
Stevie Williams: We are all on the same mission – trying to come up and do our thing. We are not all from the city. We have a great relationship. Everyone brings something different to the table.
Format: Skating takes its toll on the body after a while. Once you’ve hung up your board do you plan to get into producing skate videos at all? Any plans to continue with your acting career?
Stevie Williams: Yes, I’ll still skate and work on skate videos. I still plan on acting. I have a lot to do. Acting isn’t my number one priority – skateboarding is. If I have the time; I’ll try to make acting happen. I love to act.
Format: What is your favorite spot in the world to skate and why?
Stevie Williams: Barcelona; because it’s beautiful and the culture is different.
Format: Can you do the special trick that they gave you in Tony Hawks Proving Ground in real life?
Stevie Williams: Yes, I made that trick up.
Format: The DGK range of decks are pretty eye catching – how much input do you have in the whole design process?
Stevie Williams: From start to finish; I work on DGK all the time with the graphic designer at KAYO. I have an actual brand manager. It’s a team brand and it isn’t all Stevie Williams. We work together to make the look go with the direction and brand. There’s a process that we go through to make things look hot for the brand.
Format: How did you end up hooking up with Interscope for the Steelo Hero website? What do you hope to achieve through it?
Stevie Williams: I’m always on the internet, and looking at cool and different things. I wanted to create a single destination for the skate industry where they can get everything. I came together with Interscope to make my idea come to life. It’s new and in the music industry. Now we are working on a bunch of different things to perfect the site with things like authentic footage.
Format: What is it you hope to achieve through the website?
Stevie Williams: To achieve awareness in the street wear, graphics, style, skate,
lifestyle and culture, music, etc – showing what’s hottest in the industry right now. With creative content and product; Steelo will be the go to website for the industry. It’s interactive with the community.
Format: What is Interscope’s role in the whole venture?
Stevie Williams: It’s a partnership; they are in it just as much as I am.
Format: Obviously you’ve dealt with the DGK What made you decide to go the media mogul route?
Stevie Williams: I’m on the internet all the time; I’m always looking for creative ways to do what I love; integrate the web, music, skate, lifestyle. Steelo Hero allows me to combine all of those into one.
Format: Are there any Interscope artists you’re especially excited to work with for the Steelo Hero site?
Stevie Williams: I’m excited to work with all of the artists. I’m really anxious for the site to reach its potential. I’m appreciative of any of the artists that will support this project.
Format: What can we expect from the Steelo Hero/ Mighty Healthy and Undefeated collaborations?
Stevie Williams: We are working on something hot and it’s going to be very exclusive. Keep an eye out…
Format: How did you hook up with The Twins?
Stevie Williams: I did a photo shoot with them a long time ago, and we kept in touch. They were the first people I wanted to get at when we started the project. They were in a movie with me in Miami.
Format: What are your top 3 songs to skate to?
Stevie Williams: Pretty much anything on skate property mixtape and I’ll have an upcoming exclusive beat from Cannon available on Steelo Hero…
Format: Can you finish the following statement: Stevie Williams is…
Stevie Williams: A young black entrepreneur trying to do his thing