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Creator Series: Jahmia Phillips

BY ATOMS TEAM 08.12.20

Atoms goes behind the scenes with Chicago-based producer, filmmaker, and writer Jahmia Phillips.

Jahmia Phillips

As an associate producer, Jahmia Phillips—who also goes by Jah—is often on their feet all day, so a good pair of shoes is key to a productive day. Raised in Chicago, Phillips spent most of their career in New York before recently returning to their hometown. A contemporary creative polymath, Phillips—who is passionate about causes like The R.O.A.D. Project and the Black Hills Legal Defense Fund—is writing their first short film in addition to working as an editor and graphic artist. Atoms recently caught up with Phillips to find out their inspiration, the things they’re reading, and the way they’ve challenged themselves during the pandemic.

What inspires you?

The upcoming generation inspires me. They've got so many bright and innovative ideas. I find inspiration everywhere. I learn from everyone. I'm also really inspired by a friend of mine, Austin Harris, a writer/director who has a short film streaming on Amazon Prime called "Stevie's Aliens."

What are you working on?

I'm currently working on writing/directing my first short film, freelancing as an associate producer, among other projects in between.

What is the most interesting project you've worked on and why?

This is difficult, but I'll say some of my quarantine projects where I've forced myself to find the smallest thing to be inspired by and turning nothing into something. Making makeshift softboxes out of little things around the house. Learning that you can create anything with imagination. Whether you're making a miniature set to make a world look more grandiose or you're using something as basic as a cardboard box to shape light. I'd call this project stretching my imagination.

What are you listening to, reading, and watching?

This is such a hard question; I'm listening to Alabama Shakes, Chika, Moses Sumney, Lykke Li, James Blake, Tobe Nwigwe and Labrinth takes up most of my music headspace. They help evoke emotion when I'm writing or editing. I'm so bad at sticking to one book, but I'm currently going between: Are Prisons Obsolete?, Black Sexual Politics, and Forty Million Dollar Slaves. I'm watching: I May Destroy You and repeatedly rewatching Euphoria, Atlanta, Black Mirror, and The Twilight Zone (Both the 1959 and 2020 versions.)

What's your relationship with footwear?

I don't have a specific relationship with footwear. I grew up just having maybe two shoes for the year, so I guess you can say my relationship was just to have something to wear to school. I used to be so jealous of sneaker culture, but it wasn't something that I could afford. I appreciate shoes from afar though those aren't bands I'm willing to put down on some shoes to walk in. Power to anyone who enjoys the culture. When I played basketball in high school and college is when I was able to wear gym shoes that were name brand, so I felt most comfortable with footwear on the basketball court.

How do your Atoms feel?

These are so comfortable. I love how sleek they are, and they feel like a foot hug. They're also very versatile. I can see these going with something business casual and as something to just wear on the daily. That's something I can get down with any day.


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