CITIZENS OF THE WEEK:STEPHEN PINER AND JAMIR SHAW
The Philly natives’ Dope Shows isn’t just changing the music and performance industry—it’s also building community and helping Philly youth
OCT. 25, 2021
On a sticky Friday last summer, about 9,000 fans gathered at the Mann Center to see popular Chicago rapper Lil Durk. As usual, the music blared and the mostly young crowd pulsed with the excitement of being in proximity to one of their favorite artists.
But unlike Lil Durk’s usual shows, this one had a theme: anti-violence.
It kicked off with motivational speakers Wallo267 and Pastor Carl Day talking about their pasts, how they made it their mission in life to spread positivity and give back to the community after they were released from prison. Next, before Lil Durk went on stage to perform, a video produced with the Office of Policy & Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety as a part of their #PhillyWeLostEnough campaign spoke specifically to the issue of gun violence in the city, its impact on local youth, and provided a list of resources and community leaders for conflict resolution.
“A lot of violence takes place after some of these nightlife spots and parties are going down,” says Pastor Day. “Yet none of the folks stepped up to say, ‘Hey, we want to contribute, give back, support, and bring out positive influential people to these shows.’ It’s unprecedented.”
And proceeds from the ticket sales were donated to two nonprofits: Culture Changing Christians Inc. run by Pastor Day which offers youth resources for relationship building, conflict resolution training, career and college coaching—and Dimplez 4 Dayz, which helps Philly youth find jobs and affordable housing.
All that unconventional programming was thanks to Dope Shows, a boutique-style concert promotional agency founded by Philly natives Stephen Piner and Jamir Shaw in 2017. They’ve thrown over 20 shows and one festival with an average sell-out rate of 90 percent—and a special focus on youth.
“Our slogan has always been ‘Ain’t no shows like Dope Shows,’” says Shaw. “We focus on creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our customers, curating the stages and shows directly for each artist by tapping into who they are. We also really care about what’s going on in the city, so we try to send out important messages geared towards that.”