Listen to this article here
Jvonn Williams is a 22-year-old professional gamer who is quickly making a name for himself in the esports world. He is currently a player for the Black-owned Esports organization Rise, and he is best known for his skills in the game Gears of War.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Jvonn about his love for video games and what it’s like to be a professional gamer.
As a youngster, Jvonn quickly tired of “getting ripped to pieces and clowned” by his older cousins in Gears of War. Now, he’s getting the last laugh from opponents all over the world.
Like many of us, Jvonn began playing video games at a young age, and he quickly developed a passion for competitive gaming.
“Gears of War was a game that honestly I wasn’t supposed to be playing because it was rated 18+ but you know, it’s good to have cousins that look out for you,” remembers Jvonn.
In 2021, he won the UMG Gaming $120,000 Spring Major Open Tournament.
In addition to his success in esports, Williams is also a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in the gaming community.
He started competing in Gears of War tournaments when he was 16 years old, and he quickly rose through the ranks. “My entire Gears of War pro team was all Black. It was pretty dope and it’s the only time I’ve experienced that,” Williams commented.
Williams is also a highly skilled Apex Legends player who has competed and won in several tournaments.
At his very first competition entered, Williams remembered, “To be honest, I didn’t really know how good I was until I started signing up for online tournaments.”
“My friends were just like, ‘yo, you’re actually good good, you’ve been putting in time, you’re actually amazing, not gonna lie.'” He recalled, “I went to an event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and I was able to place pro on the first try.”
A legit beast on the sticks, Jvonn’s initial wins were even more impressive because he had no idea of what to expect in the video game tournament world. “I was at a disadvantage the whole time,” Jvonn remembers. “I had no idea about monitors being a millisecond behind, how much controllers matter, and the connection you use. All that stuff matters. Compared to me, the other players using NASA internet.”
While he may have not had the best connection, Jvonn overcame, saying, “If you feel your preparation is there the results are going to come.”
Jvonn continued, “I felt extremely prepared, I knew I could do it. Video games gave me the confidence to never back down from showing my talents.”
Far removed from the 80s and 90s era of blowing game cartridges, Jvonn represents the era of gamers who grew up playing Call of Duty and NBA 2K, quickly learning how to compete, strategize, and execute with elite timing.
Black video gamers have always been a part of the gaming community, but access to the professional ranks have been out of reach for many.
“I still haven’t got used to it. It’s a blessing,” Jvonn Williams.
Black gamers have historically been underrepresented in games and in the gaming industry as a whole.
“To be honest, I never really pictured myself doing this.” Jvonn continued, “I was actually going to keep going to school get a computer science degree, but gaming has given a chance to see how far I can take this.”
He continued, “I’ve played with some rappers and movie stars just because of everybody’s shared love of video games.” Video games and good vibes often go well together, as such, Jvonn gave his list of top 5 hip hop artists in honor of the culture’s 50th anniversary.
Jvonn’s Top 5: Gunna, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Lil Durk, Migos
While video games are thought to be an activity of either leisure or competition, the Illinois native says he’s also seen the benefits of finding your tribe whether on the couch or online.
“For many people like myself, it can be an outlet.”
“A lot of my friends have had something personal going on like a death in the family or being bullied in school and they became more introverted.” He continued, “So they started staying inside more and playing the games that make them happy and connect to other gamers when they really needed it.”