All photography Leo Sharp (unless otherwise stated).
In 2022, if you’re not sure who Jahmir Brown is, then chances are you’ve not really been keeping your finger on the proverbial pulse of modern skateboarding. Hailing from the Sabotage stronghold of Philadelphia, Jahmir’s meteoric rise over the course of the last few years has been impossible to ignore. Having established himself as a mainstay of the scene at the city’s flourishing Municipal Plaza spot following the overhaul of Love Park back in 2016, Jahmir has gone from strength to strength, with his own personal strain of traditional Philly reared street skating earning him a well deserved place on the rosters of illustrious brands such as DC Shoes and Lev Tanju’s Palace Skateboards. As a result of the Palace connection, London has thankfully become something of a home from home for Jahmir, which is something you can all be grateful for as he spends increased periods of time handling a whole manner of terrain dotted around the streets of our nation’s capital.
In the wake of the release of his first Capsule Collection for DC, we had a quick chat with Jahmir to learn about his relationship with DC Shoes, skateboarding in Philly, and his early inspirations, amongst other things. Read on to find out more…
You’ve been skating since you were 6 years old, which is pretty young to be jumping on a board. Once you got your first board, how long was it until you started paying attention to skate media – so magazines, videos etc? Did you realise pretty quickly that there was a whole culture attached to riding around on a bit of wood?
Yeah I started out when I was six, but for the first five years the only thing I knew was the videos on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 & 3. My aunt got the movie Grind from Blockbuster for me, and my dad got me the Ice Cream Shoes video (Team Ice Cream: Vol. 1) and Elementality Vol. 1 when I got my first real board around eight years old. But I didn't know about the culture or scene until I snuck out and went Love Park one day when I was 10 or 11.
Which videos/video parts or magazines do you remember making an impression on you when you were starting out?
When I first started to get an idea of skate videos and being influenced by them, I was like 13 or 14, and I was mad inspired by Chris Cole, Brent Atchley, Chris Haslam, Terry Kennedy and Stefan Janoski during those days.
Switch flip backside tailslide during a day visit to Lloyds, Bristol.
Skating around Philly during your early years, who were the notable locals you would see skating around? What were some of the more memorable tricks that you witnessed first-hand?
Brian Panebianco, Dylan Sourbeer, this kid named Robot, Mongo, Kevin Liedtke, Trivs, Jaesun, Kyle Nicholson, Kevin Taylor, One Finger and Lil Z. Every one of these guys could tre flip and switch heel, and those were the two dopest tricks to me at that time. But I’ve seen so many dope tricks done that it’s hard to just name one coming from these guys; just watch the old Sabo videos and Go Skate Day edits.
You notoriously spent several years in the employment of Nocturnal Skateshop. Give us some of your favourite stories from working in the shop; you must have seen some pretty amusing stuff go down…
The best stories are the ones we can’t talk about…just visit Philly, you’ll see.
Speaker assisted switch back tail shoves, Lloyds.
What are your earliest memories of DC Shoes? I guess growing up in Philly in the time when you did, the brand would have been almost omnipresent, right? Do you remember the first pair of DCs you skated? Which model were they?
My second pair ever were a pair of DC Pure in black and white, with both sets of black and white laces in them, and a DC hoodie; here’s a photo (laughs):
Photo courtesy of Jahmir.
Stevie Williams and Josh Kalis – two undisputed legends that are intrinsically linked with Love Park, Philadelphia and DC…tell us some tales from your early years meeting or seeing these two please.
I met Stevie for the first time at Love when I was a kid at like midnight with Jaesun, and I met Josh for the first time at Muni when he started skating with Kev and Penny.
You famously joined DC Shoes in 2020; how did that opportunity come about?
It was a combination of being in the right places at the right times, vibin’ with the team when I was still buying the shoes, and Josh Kalis coming back to Philly, seein’ me do switch flip backside tails and putting me on officially. He let me be a part of his commercial for his shoes, and shortly after I got a contract for DC.
Bluntslide at Grosvenor Square, London.
For your first signature collection on DC, you’ve chosen to release a special colourway of the Lynx. What was it about the Lynx that made you want to choose this specific silhouette and colourway for the collection?
Well I chose gum sole because I’ve always loved gum on all my footwear. The nubuck material was because I had it on an older pair of shoes and it lasted forever. Ripstop just made sense (laughs). And the color, I actually wanted it to be a darker black but I liked the way it turned out with more of a cement color. I wanted the shoe to have more of a simple silhouette so everyone could feel comfortable wearing it, and it was easy to look at. The Zero had more of a Philly colorway and old Lynx inspirations.
From start to finish, how long did the whole collection take to make, from the first rough design, to seeing the finished collection in the flesh?
One year, eight months and five days.
How crazy was it for you, the first time you put on a pair of DC shoes bearing your name? It must’ve been quite the trip…
Huge smiles, warm heart, and speechless! I realized the dream came true.
Switch front crook at Parliament Square on St Patrick's Day.
You’ve got a once in a lifetime chance to piece together a DC Shoes trip, taking eight riders both past and/or present, one filmer and one photographer…where do you go, and who do you bring along?
Myself, Kevin Bilyeu, Josh Kalis, Brian Panebianco, John Shanahan, Keith, Alex Carolino, Mike Carrol and Rob Dyrdek.
Uncle (Mike) Blabac shooting.
Chris Mulhern filming.
Which Palace rider do you wish you could bring to Philly for a weeklong filming mission with the Sabotage crew?
We already got Uncle Jamal (Smith), so I’m def bringin’ my brotha Kyle Wilson out!
Similarly, which Philly local do you wish you could take on a Palace mission to London?
My man Chris Falo or Kev Bil.
Imagine that all skateboard media up to now is about to be erased, but you’ve got the chance to preserve one clip and one photo to illustrate “this is skateboarding in Philadelphia” to future generations – which do you choose, and why?
Josh Kalis’ line at Love in Photosynthesis; noseblunt, nollie 180 and switch nosegrind the out ledge in the back. And for a photo, I’d have to choose Terrence Hill switch frontside 5-0 on the levels at Love. I chose the Josh line because there’s no flip tricks, all flow, and the stee is just mad flavourful. I chose the Hill photo because again the stee is immaculate, and it’s how the trick should look.
Solid Bristol switch back tail off second to end.