Rick Williams and Roland "Ro Spit" Coit haven't exactly been flying under the radar in Detroit for the past six years. Owners of the ubiquitously popular sneaker spot Burn Rubber, they've been attracting clientele to their Royal Oak digs like flies to honey-soaked kicks for over half a decade. Having recently opened up another new shop in Royal Oak, two/eighteen, the duo has had more on their plate than ever.
But lately it's not just sneakers and store owning that's been keeping them extra busy. You might have heard of the web series they're currently starring in alongside the cast of characters they call their employees. Detroit Rubber, produced by Eminem and directed by Christos Moisides, follows Williams and Coit as they face the ups and downs of running a business in metro Detroit.
Viewers of the show haven't found it to be the kind of ruin porn most shows centered around Detroit have recently become, either. Instead, the show serves as something of an uplifting catalyst for those looking for inspiration to do something greater than themselves in the metro area. And people are taking note. The series' first episode garnered over 300,000 views on Youtube's LOUD channel and subsequent episodes haven't been far behind. And while at least some credit has to be owned to Detroit locavores gobbling up anything and everything that's got some connection to their beloved city as well as sneakerheads the country over doing something of the same thing, it also has to be said that the show is incredibly entertaining.
While it was certainly the aim of both Williams and Coit, along with Eminem and Moisides, to create something worth watching, the pair that stars in the show wanted to get one thing straight. Detroit Rubber wasn't going to be akin to the debacle known as reality TV disasters like The Real Housewives or Jersey Shore.
Having been extremely conscious of the image they were putting out of not just themselves, but an entire community, Williams and Coit say they were very careful about how they would appear on screen. Not wanting to look like the gaggle of reality TV queens known as the Kardashians, the two reviewed each and every show before approving them to be aired. Williams especially notes that with children of his own, he didn't want to have to explain a sticky (and publically aired) situation to his kids one day. And it's clear from all six episodes that the show's given Williams and Coit nothing but something to be proud of.
"They didn't compromise who they are," says Moisides. "But they trusted me to not make them look like Jersey Shore." And it's clear from how genuine they appear on screen that they never once thought of changing who they were while in front of the cameras.
A testament to not only that statement, but also to the pair's commitment to bringing light and positivity to the community, a scene in the series' fifth episode follows Williams and Coit as they speak to underprivileged kids. A tear-jerking scene if we've ever seen one, the pair's humility and dedication to doing good is showcased as well as the undeniable gratitude they feel for the blessings that have been bestowed upon them. That's not to say, however, that Detroit Rubber is one weepy scene after another. Quite the opposite is true, actually.
"To be a fly on the wall during filming ... they're just a natural group of characters," says Moisides of the group's ability to deliver candid humor. In fact, some of the cast was perhaps too natural, according to Williams.
"We had to tell Jay John to tone it down when the cameras were around," he says. The bespectacled Jay John isn't the only cast member that serves up hilarity and sass. AZ and Devin lighten the mood and have audiences cracking up as well.
As for the show's two main stars, Moisides says the chemistry never needed to be faked.
"They have such a great dynamic," he says. "They're good friends and good partners."
That dynamic has long been in the making between Williams and Coit. Having met many moons ago, they first garnered a friendship based around music and later their love for sneakers brought them even closer together. Of course, it wasn't until an opportunity to buy a storefront and open their own shop came along that the two went into business together, and it was then that they both realized their ambitions of becoming entrepreneurs.
"I think what we did was we looked at each other and we believed in each other," says Williams in the fifth episode of Detroit Rubber.
Another of their dreams has recently come to fruition as well. Having recently collaborated with a national brand, Burn Rubber released their brand-new "Spirit of Detroit" classic leather sneaker, a collaboration with Reebok, at a party held in downtown Detroit's Flat 151. It was there that part of Detroit Rubber's sixth and final episode of the season was taped.
Although the shoe bears the name Reebok, the heart and soul of the classic teal sneaker has Detroit written all over it. Their tongues are inscribed with the scripture that's written behind the iconic Spirit of Detroit statue and each set bears the words "God" and "Family" near the heel.
"It's really a reflection of us and of the city," says Williams.
Whether the series will get picked up for another season isn't up to Williams and Coit, according to the duo, but it's something they're wholeheartedly hoping for. And considering in just the first season they've had special guests like Big Sean, Prince Fielder and even Marshall Mathers himself, a second season of Detroit Rubber is sure to be even bigger and better than the sampling the first delivered. | RDW
For more info visit burnrubberdetroit.com