1 on 1 Interview with Yaovi Mawuli

Yesterday we posted what one of the best stories in sneakers this year.  One high schooler seeing the needs of another, and helping him out in a big way with a pair of Air Jordan 11s.  This amazing gesture that has restored the faith of many in the sneaker community and society as a whole was done by Yaovi Mawuli.

SEE: High Schooler Laces Lesser Fortunate Classmate with Air Jordans
SEE: Class Act: Yaovi Mawuli, Classmate Speak with WTVR News

We caught up with Yaovi yesterday evening to talk about the response, viral spread of the story, and it’s influence on others among many other things.  Read below as we go 1 on 1 with Yaovi Mawuli.

If you would like to contact Yaovi, you can reach him on Twitter and Instagram.

Yaovi Mawuli’s Facebook Post

Nice Kicks: First, please introduce yourself to everyone:

Yaovi: My name is Yaovi Mawuli Amaglo.  I’m from a small French speaking country named Togo in West Africa.  I am a senior at Northeast Guilford High School just outside of Greensboro, NC.

I spent most of my time helping my parents, doing homework and surf the web for shoes to clean and sell or wear. I also play varsity soccer. Last season I was the best goal scorer in the team. I find interested in business and helping others even if it’s by encouraging them to do well in school or stay out of trouble.

Nice Kicks: As a senior heading into the final semester, what’s next?

Yaovi:  I have applied to several different universities including UNCG, Queen University, Western Carolina, Guilford College and North Carolina Central. I would like to major in business administration and minor in computer science. After I obtained a Bachelor’s degree, I plan to pursue an MBA program.

I am also interested in joining Navy Reserve. I’m hoping to open a couple of stores in different African countries and invest the profit into the school system in the countries, create recreation center where my family and friends in others countries could enjoy.

Nice Kicks: Speaking of sneakers, how long have you been into kicks?  Do you remember the first shoe that had you hooked?:

Yaovi:  I have been interested in sneakers for ever since i can remember. Coming from a third world country, my family was not so fortunate to provide me with sneakers of my choice.   When I first got to America, due to my dad getting used to taking care of a family here in the U.S. and not just sending us money. When i came to the United States, I was fortunate to afford my first pair of sneakers of Shaqs. I remember I used to clean them everyday after I get home from school.

Nice Kicks: I noticed that you also sell shoes too.  How long have you done that?:

Yaovi: I’ve been selling kicks since my sophomore year in high school (almost 3 years ago). The business started with my mentor, brother and friend, Yao Messan. He would tag me in sneaker post in local facebook group “Greensboro Sneakerheads” and I would let him know where the sneakers are worth investing into or not. We ran the business together on ebay until he became too busy working on his Masters Degree. I, then took the upper hand and continued with it with the help of a special friend of mine. My business Instagram account Raresalekicks was built and ran by Angela Aya Akou. I am very thankful for all her help.

Nice Kicks:  Today a reader sent over a screen shot of your Facebook post about giving a classmate a pair of shoes.  What inspired you to do this?

Yaovi: I decided to give my classmate the shoes because the same kid he switched desk with because “he didn’t want to sit in the ugly desk” was making fun of him because he was wearing shoes that torn out.

I could not leave with the fact that such a cool guy would be made fun of in this way. I remember I got made fun of for wearing some shoes that had 2006 on them while we were in years 2008. But nobody knew what I did to get that pair of shoes. I would cut my neighbors lawn and take out her trash and she would give me $20 which I save to buy in order to buy that pair of shoes. So I understand not everyone if fortunate enough to afford new pairs of sneakers.

Nice Kicks: By now I am sure other classmates have seen the story spread around the web.  How they have responded?

Yaovi: It’s been great!  Most of them were impressed and a lot of the guys in the group wanted to help as well.

Nice Kicks: Many of our readers and fans said that your kind deed has inspired them to do the same thing.  How does that make you feel when you hear that?

Yaovi:  It makes me feel great!   It’s always a pleasure to help someone else even if it’s by giving them an advice. If you get a chance I would invite you to help anyone that is in need. I believe the world would be a much better place if we all just do the small things we can to put a smile on someone else face.

Nice Kicks: The sneaker world is called a “community” often, how do you think that all of us can build community?

Yaovi: Yes, I think we can build a strong community.

I believe by such kind action, you bring sneakers lover together to appreciate not only the value of the action but also the importance of brotherhood and welcoming Any and everyone into a caring and sharing community.

Also we must stop committing uneccessary crime over sneakers. They’re just shoes but yet they hold a value.

If you can’t get them now, work hard and I promise you you’ll get them when your time is right. About two months ago I meet a guy in my neighborhood to sell him Bred 11s for $160, when he stopped the car I gave him the shoes to look out and next thing you know he drove off, I couldn’t believe it, he put my life in danger over $160, later on that night when I posted on the local group how I got robbed, a lot of my peers laughed and make jokes that I called the police to handle my case, jokes such as “you a pussy” “you weren’t raised right” “you a snitch” only a few fellas gave me some great advices the rest just laughed and blamed me for trusting a fellow African American.

Most said I should’ve had a gun on me And I asked myself where are we going if guys think one getting robbed is a joke and telling me as a 17 years to carry a gun while exchanging shoes for cash?  in that situation I rather just get robbed for my shoes than shoot a bullet over some freaking shoes.

Nice Kicks:  True words.  Thank you so much for speaking with us and once again, salute to you!  You are a great person.  I also hear it is a special day too?

Yaovi:  (Laughs) Yes!  It is my 18th birthday today.  Thank you so much for talking to me and telling my story.