Neftalie Williams portrait taken during his "the Nation Skate" exhibit featured during the "Finding A Line Event" hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2015. (Photo by Ryan Kellman)

Biography

Neftalie Williams is the first professor of skateboarding business, media and culture in the United States. He conducts research and lectures at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles California. He is also Research Director for the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society (AISMS). Neftalie is the first academic and skateboarding envoy for the Unites States to the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands. His work is part of the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands campaign to integrate Syrian refugees into the life in Europe.

In 2016, Neftalie received the 2016 USC Black Alumni Award for his pioneering work using skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy. Honored with such luminaries as John Singleton (Writer, Director of Boyz in the Hood), Neftalie demonstrates how skateboarding creates a construct identity and global culture, providing a common language and shared experience amongst a diverse transnational community. 

Known as  "The Father of Skateboarding Diplomacy and the Ambassador of Good Times" thanks to Bod Boyle (President of Dwindle Distribution) Neftalie’s theories identify how emerging sports practitioners act as global ambassadors providing the blueprint for a unified youth community across race, and ethnic divides. A recent graduate from U.S.C.’s Master of Public Diplomacy program, his work analyzes the effects of globalization on issues of diversity, identity and youth empowerment, using the lens of emerging sport culture.

In addition to his work empowering and uniting the skateboarding communities of South Africa, Brazil and the Netherlands, as Chairman of Cuba Skate, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit, Neftalie turns theory into practice and uses skateboarding diplomacy to create people to people exchange between communities in Cuba and the U.S. In 2015, their work was the centerpiece of a month long exhibit at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., culminating in features discussing the importance of Skate Diplomacy in the Atlantic Magazine the Washington Post, BBC News and PBS News Hour.

Neftalie's photographic exhibit, "The Nation Skate" showcased male and female members of the global skateboarding community from Geneva to Sao Paulo and beyond as a way to demonstrate the range of diversity amongst this transnational community.

Drawing on over a decade of experience in the skateboarding industry, Neftalie is currently responsible for nurturing young talent from Havana to Sao Paulo, as team manager to the Citystars skateboarding team, founded by legendary pro skater, Kareem Campbell. He is also a member of the Dusters Skateboarders and Dwindle Skateboarding Distribution family. As a founding member of the Maloof Skateboarding Organization, Neftalie works with the Maloof family donating world-class skateparks to the cities of Queens, New York, Washington, D.C. and Kimberley, South Africa, as well as managing the world’s greatest skateboarding event, the Maloof Money Cup.

As the former Executive Director of New England Skatecamp, Neftalie helped launch the career of professional skater, Ryan Gallant and has designed skateparks in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Expanding his regional base, Neftalie eventually worked as a member of the Skate Park of Tampa, preparing him to present skateboarding events with former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles.

Neftalie’s scholarly, instructional, research and media work on skateboarding’s transnational community has been featured domestically and internationally in various outlets including: The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The N.Y. Times, the L.A. Times, Epóca Magazine, The BBC, The Kennedy Center, Public Diplomacy Magazine, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports, Time out-Chicago, Transworld Skateboarding, Transworld Business, The Swiss Art Space, G-Shock, the Guinness Book of World Records, Angeleno Magazine, the Robb report, Vapors Magazine, Color Magazine, YRB, Line-Up and FTK MagazinesIn addition, Williams continues to honor his history as an East coast transplant from Boston by monitoring the community that raised him. He will always appreciate where he learned to build family. He is honored that this space includes NYC, San Diego, Tampa, the Netherlands and his current home in L.A. with always a heart and eye focused on Cuba, South Africa and Brazil.