Stevie Williams Opens Up About Post Love Park Depression, Changes at DGK, and More

Stevie Williams has been keeping a relatively low profile over the past couple of years. Aside from his Weed Maps’ introduction and a G Shock campaign, we haven’t seen much from him at all. Apparently, that’s about to change. Stevie just got back from a DGK U.S. tour that included a trip to Love Park that allowed him to address some bottled up emotions. Now in a better mental place, S. Dot says that he’s reinvigorated and ready to be productive. We hopped on the phone with him to discuss this, changes at DGK, squashing the Darren Harper beef, DGK’s Saved program, and more. It’s definitely good to see Stevie back in the mix. We’re looking forward to more from him in the coming months.

You just wrapped up a U.S. tour with DGK. What was it like getting back in the van?

That was my first U.S. tour since Fresh Til’ Death. I don’t even know how long ago that was. It was like eight years ago. It was cool. It was with a bunch of the new dudes on the DGK team. It gave me a chance to get to know them, and watch them fuck shit up. And also join them, and get my legs back. It was fun.

You posted a couple of skate clips on Instagram that caught my attention. Are we going to be seeing some new Stevie Williams footage in an edit soon?

Yeah, I filmed a bunch of shit. But I had to film some stuff for the Gram too. It’s 2018. You have to do it all. But I’ve got some clips in the tour video that we’ve got coming out. It’s not a lot of footage. But it’s something.

There’s been a lot of changes at DGK recently. What’s your role with the company now, and what direction are you planning on taking it?

I’m an owner, so is Kalis. We basically took the time to figure out what the problems were, and figure out the solution so that we could move forward with what DGK is. It’s the best street company out there. So we’re just getting back to the roots, and being more authentic. We’re focussed on the kids that really ride for us, and aren’t using the brand as a stepping stone. Everybody that we have now is locked in. That’s what that tour put into perspective for everybody. Even for the team riders that didn’t make it on this tour. They’ll be on the next one.

We’re on some taking the streets back type shit. It’s just real skate, street,  and lifestyle shit. It’s what everybody has been biting for a minute. It sucks that a lot of the original people from the squad aren’t here. But they still add to the heritage. At the end of the day, we’re just going to keep pushing for the streets, kids, and culture.

What’s the story behind DGK’s Saved program? From what I understand, its focus is giving boards to kids from underprivileged communities that might not discover skateboarding otherwise.

My boy Don Cooley is the new Team Manager for DGK. We’ve been tight ever since I moved out to California. When we were young, me and my squad used to look up to a lot of black skaters from Cali. And Cooley used to skate for Mad Circle. He had been helping my mom out with the Save a Heart Save a Mind Foundation. So when we hired him for the position at DGK, that also came with the Saved by Skateboarding program that we all created together.

We wanted to come up with a dope initiative for the kids that grew up like us. We wanted to give them an opportunity to learn something about the culture. Instead of waiting for these kids to figure out skateboarding and learn how to skate on their own, we’re taking the initiative to go into the most at-risk neighborhoods in the United States and plant those seeds with those kids.

We want to let them know that they can be more than they ever dreamed of. I’m a prime example of where skateboarding can take you. So I just want to stay true to the culture, and true to the roots. That’s something that DGK has always been about.

Another thing from the tour that you posted was a pic with Darren Harper. That was cool to see. Obviously, that beef was probably squashed a long time ago. But when did you two reconnect?

Darren’s my man, I talk to him all the time. We’ve always talked. There’s just nothing that came out publicly. But that’s my family. We’re not doing this for entertainment. Unfortunately, what went down looked like entertainment. But we’ve been cool. He was one of the main dudes that I wanted to reach out to. He motivated me through skating with Pooch [Carlos Kenner] out in DC. That motivated me to get back on the board, and stay true to the culture. There’s a lot of cool things that we talk about that people don’t know.

I told him that when we hopped on the road we want to make DC one of our stops.  And that I definitely wanted to take a photo with him to let everybody know that regardless of what you think, me and Darren have been cool. That’s my brother. And we’re working on some things right now that are just for the kids and skateboarding. It’s all positive.

On a business level, you’re involved with Jardin. What attracted you to the cannabis industry?

Jardin is a dispensary that my man owns. I was blessed to become a part of it when they launched. I’ve been helping them with marketing and branding, and overall being a brand ambassador. I’m learning about the cannabis culture and retail, and it gives me the opportunity to be a part of something else that’s cool. I’m treating it like a brand. To me, it’s like a real dope skate shop. It’s a really cool family that I’m glad to be a part of.

Staying on the subject of the cannabis industry, you’re also skating for Weed Maps as well.

Weed Maps is the king of all kings. I’m excited to be with that brand. It’s almost been a year. I’ve been on a couple of trips with Boo [Johnson], Tommy [Sandoval], Braydon [Szafranski], and Jaws [Aaron Homoki], a bunch of surfers, motocross dudes, all this cool, crazy shit. It’s lit though. My man Dom [Deluca] from Brooklyn Projects put the word in. It’s been dope.

You were skating in Filas in that last clip that you posted on Instagram. DGK did a collaboration with them a few years back. Is there something new in the works?

Nah, I bought those form the store. I bought those from my man Drumma Boy’s spot. He’s this famous producer. He opened up a retail store. He used to be my neighbor. And then, when I shut my store down, he opened his up. He supports DGK, Tango Hotel, and stuff like that, which is pretty cool. When we went to Atlanta, I took the DGK team to his store.  He wasn’t there. But I always show love when people show love to me. So I saw those Filas and just bought them. I didn’t even plan on skating. I was hungover. I threw the Filas on. And then, I sobered up and hopped on a board. I haven’t even taken them off yet. I’m still skating them!

They’re super good for skating.

I used to skate in those back in the day before all of the name-brand companies came into our industry. When we were skating in Filas, Nikes, and Pumas back then, it meant more. These kids nowadays don’t get how ill skating in shoes like that was back then. They just look at them like regular shoes. That’s what I’m trying to bring back though to be honest with you.

You’ve always got something new up your sleeve. What should we be on the lookout for from Stevie Williams for the rest of this year and in 2019?

If you would have asked me this before I went on tour, I probably would have given you some wild-ass answer. But now, I can honestly say that I was depressed about skating for a long time. It just wasn’t there. I don’t know why. It took me going to Philadelphia, and hanging out with my homie J-Sun. We skated around the city, and somehow we ended up at Love Park. I didn’t even want to be there. I got there and it just hit me: “Holy shit, I’m here at Love Park right now!” So much stuff started going through my mind and heart. I just started crying. I couldn’t even hold it. I had been trying to fight it for so long. But the tears were coming down heavy. It was a real uplifting moment because I held onto that depression for so long, and hid it so well that it actually clouded a lot of my judgement. It altered a little bit of my career in skateboarding. And it took me away from a place that I love so much. It felt like my legacy was gone, especially for the city of Philadelphia.

The next day we had a demo at Paine’s Park. And all off the old benches from City Hall and I think maybe Love were over there. It was like a whole new day had come over me. I was with the new DGK squad. I love the original squad. That’s my heart. But things do change. We get older. But acknowledging the new squad and how hard they go, and how much Philadelphia loves DGK—everybody in the city was skating DGK boards—my history, my legacy, it just really all hit me. It made me feel like I’m just going to keep going. I’m just going to keep skating, and keep giving back. I’m going to keep inspiring, and keep being a dope dad, son, and friend.  I’m just going to strive to be a better person period. That’s kind of where I’m at right now—just getting back to my roots of skating and having fun. I don’t feel any pressure. It’s just all love. Right now, I can’t say what I’m working on. But me being in a happy place in life again, I’m just going to be productive. That’s all I can say.

Photos Via Ryan Allen & Mike Blabac