Dr. Williams is a man who wore a mask for many years, by masking himself as a thug. He lost his virginity at 13 to avoid teasing from his peers, and he started selling crack at 13 to appear hardcore among his middle school peers. Ultimately, these poor decisions and his negative perpetual way of thinking led him to dropping out of school and running away from home at 16 years old. He had two kids at 17 years of age and dedicated his time to street life with the BLOODS while living in Fayetteville, NC until almost claiming someone's life at the age of 19.

That is when the unmasking begin, unmask means to expose the true character or hidden truth about. These proactive thinking led him to a successful United States Air Force career (Airman of the Year), six college degrees (one doctorate's and a PhD), professional arena football, bestselling author, and proven scholar in the field of leadership.

Dr. Williams as a Scholar

Dr. James Williams lives in Knoxville, TN, where he serves as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Williams also serves as the president/owner of UnmaskYTP consulting. He has a loving wife (LaToya) and four beautiful children (Jocelyn, JasBrianna, Tia, and Jay). Dr. Williams has published 9-refereed articles on hospitality leadership and education, and 17-refereed poster and scholarly presentation proceedings on leadership, human resource management, benefits of youth sports participation on the development of leadership skills, importance of soft skills, business ethics, and emotional intelligence. He graduated from Park University (BS in Management/CIS), Central Michigan University (MS in administration), and Iowa State University (PhD in Hospitality Management).

Dr. Williams wrote an amazon bestseller From Thug to Scholar: An Odyssey to Unmask my True Potential, which explains how individuals become masked (e.g., adopting lifestyles and beliefs to appease others rather their unique qualities) and how to remove their masks to reach their God-given potential to limitless opportunities. Dr. Williams is an energetic and passionate speaker who provides personal anecdotes, critical thinking theories, and thought-provoking solutions to incite his audience to self-reflect and find their unique identity—an identity that leads them to their true passion and purpose in life. Dr. Williams has performed as a Keynote speaker for graduations, prisons, businesses, churches, numerous school systems, sororities/fraternities, sports camps, university athletic coaches/leaders; and he has won numerous speech competitions in through his Toastmaster’s International affiliation.

Below is a news interview about my concept of being masked, gangs, and my book: