Who is Deunta Williams?
I was born and raised in Jacksonville, NC, and I am a young black man, former football player, and businessman. I am also a heavy community advocate. I'm very much into empowering the youth to reach whatever levels they are trying to achieve that lead to a better pathway in life.
In your bio, you list yourself as a change agent. What is the role of a change agent, and how does it apply to you?
Change is something that can be hard, or it can come naturally. If you're going through a regular day and you want to change something, but you haven't had that motivation or desperateness to do it, you need a change agent, something to stir you up, motivate you and inspire you. Hit your convictions, those buttons that make you say, "I gotta do something about this." I wanted to serve like that because I needed that. Just growing up, or when you have something program in your head, you may believe is right but isn't producing what you want to produce, and it's hard for you to let that go. So it would help if you had a change agent.
For those who aren't familiar with BioEsports NC, can you briefly explain what it is?
Esports is a competitive video game plan, so you're on a team playing against another team, in games like Madden, 2K, shooting games, etc. Bring It On, however, is an entertainment center that features Esports and video games. We always want to be in entertainment and for people to know they can come to us for a good time, outside of just video games. This side is step 1, but we have another facility in the works that we will be developing into non-video games, bringing it back to entertainment.
As a black man who carries many titles, what is your view on representation matters regarding self and community?
There's an official answer to that and a non-official answer. There's a lot I had to get through to get to this place that could be associated with racism or "placism". As in know your place. It's also a little bit of I failed, and I don't want you to succeed. Therefore, I will sabotage what you got going on in any way possible. I've had to go through that. I choose not to be naive, but I choose to understand there is also no cure for racism. The heart of the issue, so far, can't be cured with medicine. It's an individual thing within each person. Part of representation is the stereotypes of what people believe black people are capable of. Like, when I was raising money, I've had people question, "who did this for you"?
Being in the business world keeps me sharp. I get a lot of love from all different races. It's always been that way because I've been an athlete. When you're good at sports, everyone loves you, and you don't get the real ugliness that other black people have to go through daily. When I stepped into the business arena, all that changed, and I started to receive all of it. I don't really like affirmative action because whoever is qualified for the job but not getting the job because of your skin color is racism to me. It's a program that's trying to fix a problem and created another problem at the same time. People ask me how do I associate myself, as a black man or as a man? To me, I associate myself as a man first, and then I am black second. The world sees me as black first and a man second. I don't care what someone see's me as, long as my values and merit are the things that I'm judged by.
Tell us about your morals and values when it comes to getting involved in your community?
It's about impact. You can do anything you want to do in your free time. I want to make an impact before I die. It ain't about the money. It's about getting money to help make a more significant impact and being more fulfilled with doing what I want to do with community engagement. For me, the future is young people, Jacksonville specifically. I was doing stuff in Atlanta, but it just didn't matter to me and Raliegh and Durham. They are great places, but I work hard, and you want that fulfillment when you're done doing something, and I just wasn't getting that elsewhere. I feel it was tied to not feeling a part of the community to these specific places. I feel like I am part of this place, Jacksonville.
In your book, My Breaking Point, you tell us about a time you hit a wall and chose not to let it define your future. Was it hard to put that in words, or was it therapeutic?
My book was by far my hardest project. It was the most intimate thing I was releasing in it, and I wanted to make a real impact. It was very therapeutic to write, and I wrote a lot of it on the beach in Topsail. It was dope. The wall I hit represented me being an athlete, and they place you in a box around it. They reminded you it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you blow it, you'll never have it again. So you have to capture it now and stay eligible. When people leave that world, they find themselves in the same position as I was, lost. All of the noise is now gone, and the silence is deafening. Your use to the chaotic world of a professional athlete and everyone catering to your needs. I couldn't stay down, and it's not what I wanted to do with life. I took time off to regroup, and my agent mentioned to me the idea of writing. I started the book but kept placing it on the back burner. When he passed away, I got motivated to work back on my book and pushed it out. I got it done, and it's a great journey.
What life lesson sticks out to you the most that you would like to share as an entrepreneur?
Never giving up and accomplishing something is God-given in the sense that things do have to align up correctly. The other part is sheer willpower. Whatever the intensity it takes to get the job done is what matters to me. All you have to do is show up, and put in the effort. It is determining what you got to get into place today to set yourself up for tomorrow.