F5: Bimma Williams Talks About the Best Chair, the Barbershop + More

04.08.22 | By
F5: Bimma Williams Talks About the Best Chair, the Barbershop + More

Bimma Williams is the host of Claima Stories, a career discovery podcast created in Portland, Oregon to help Black and Brown creatives discover their dream careers. Here he interviews leading and emerging BIPOC creatives about how they were able to break into the guarded creative and sneaker industries. Over the past decade, Bimma’s built a unique and exciting career as an innovative brand marketer. Previously, he spent time at Nike Entertainment, working on the most sought after sneakers as highlighted by HypeBeast, Complex, and Sneaker News. For Bimma’s work on the Claima Stories podcast, he was spotlighted on Sole Collector and Footwear News for creating a Top 50 Career podcast on Apple.

Today Bimma joins us for Friday Five!

brown-skinned man sitting in the backseat of a car wearing a brown sweatshirt and hat

pair of black sneakers

Saucony x Hommewrk Jazz 81 by Trinidad James \\\ Photo courtesy Saucony

1. Sneakers

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved sneakers more than what would be considered normal. I guess you could call it somewhat of an obsession. There are times in my life where I’ve had upwards of 200 pairs in my collection at my mom’s house. To today’s collector, that’s just a small monthly rotation. In all seriousness, it’s the intersection of art and design that truly resonated with me. The stories that were told represented underground culture that you could only find through a forum. While my appreciation for sculptures and oil painting would come later in life, sneakers were almost an immediate connection. Just recently, creative and entrepreneur Trinidad James released a collaboration with Saucony through his Hommewrk brand where they paid homage to Trinidad and Tobago on the Jazz 81 model. This is the part of sneakers that I love, the ability to share authentic stories through design.

four pieces of art featuring musical instruments and brown-skinned hands hanging on a white wall

Photo: Bimma Williams

2. Jackie Brown Art

Jackie Brown is an artist I first crossed paths with in Portland, Oregon. The Bay Area native has a style of creating that’s very DIY and deconstructed. If she does letters, they all have their own unique characteristics. If she creates ceramic objects, each one is proportionally different. I love this approach because it’s human. It’s a reminder that it’s not made by an algorithm or a machine, but by a living and breathing human being. I began noticing her work outside buildings or on tote bags around town. Eventually, I decided to become a collector of four of her original pieces.

black chair in a wood paneled room

Photo: Jesse Rowell

3. Greensboro Chair

The Greensboro chair is the best piece of furniture released in 2021. Originally designed by Cedric Hudson in collaboration with Bennuo, the chair pays homage to Civil Rights sit-ins. “On February 1st, 1960, one of the most historic civil rights sit-ins was lead by four courageous black freshmen attending North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon sitting at the Woolworth lunch counter, the ‘4 freshmen’ were denied service due to ongoing racial disparities. Refusing to give up their chairs, they watched as their movement spread and Greensboro became a face of civil rights history.” It’s an incredibly powerful story and a beautiful piece of furniture.

three pints of ice cream on concrete in the sun

Photo courtesy Kate’s Ice Cream

4. Kate’s Plant-Based Ice Cream

I must admit, I have quite the sweet tooth. Lately, I haven’t been able to shake this necessity for Kate’s Plant-Based Ice Cream. Like many folks, I try and minimize my diary intake. So, for a while that meant no ice cream. I’ve tried other plant-based ice creams, but they were pretty chalky. Kate’s texture and taste are basically one to one with dairy ice cream. My favorite flavor of the moment is her Cookies and Cream. Brings back a lot of childhood memories.

three brown-skinned men sitting in armchairs during discussion

Photo: The Shop

5. The Shop with Mav Carter

Growing up, I would spend hours upon hours upon hours in the barbershop. At times because I was waiting on my barber, but other times because the conversation was insanely compelling. It was about sneakers, LeBron, a movie, or anything. There were always incredible debates that would take place in the barbershop. It’s also the place where I would encounter a lot of positive male figures in my life. Mav brings such a great moderation to the series, especially in the way he follows up on questions or can shift the conversation to a more meaningful narrative. Two of my favorite episodes have to be the one with President Barack Obama and the one and only, Jay- Z.

Work by Bimma Williams:

two brown-skinned men sitting in armchair on stage during an event

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.