Cover art for podcast The Institute of Black Imagination.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

65 EpisodesProduced by darioWebsite

Welcome to The Institute of Black Imagination hosted by artist, writer, and designer Dario Calmese. Each week we bring you conversations from The Pool of Black Genius: a collection of iconoclasts at the leading edge of cultural thought and innovation. We are here to inspire, engage, and to help you … read more

episodes iconAll Episodes

E61. Justin Garrett Moore: Imagining Black Space.

March 12th, 2023


In today’s episode, Justin educates us on the questions we should be asking about our neighborhoods. He shares how to find your voice while …

E60. Kevin Bethune: Dreams, Design and Life.

February 26th, 2023


Show notes

In today’s episode, Kevin shares with us his life-long pursuit of creative curiosity. He reminds us that what may seem like a career pivot from the outside, is really an internal expansion; as each new …

E59. Camille A. Brown: For Colored Girls.

February 12th, 2023


Today’s episode is with award-winning choreographer + director Camille A. Brown. 

Do you know Camille?  You know Camille. You may recognize her work, on Broadway in Once On This Island or on television choreographing …

E58. Jason Mayden: Be Your Own Superhero.

January 29th, 2023


Today’s episode is with sneaker designer and tech entrepreneur Jason Mayden. Jason is the founder of Super Heroic, a footwear brand empowering children to be their own heroes. He’s also the CEO of Trilicon Valley– a …

E57. All About Love.

December 25th, 2022


This special edition of the podcast is our final episode of 2022. 

Today we are revisiting our conversations with thirteen of our guests from this year as they illustrate what happens when you lead with love. Our guests …

E56. Rita Dove: The Pleasure of Text.

December 11th, 2022


Today’s episode is with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Author Rita Dove. Rita is a US Poet Laureate, the recipient of 29 honorary degrees…Yes, you …

E55. Sekou Cooke: Creation of Hip-Hop Architecture.

November 27th, 2022


Today's episode is with architect Sekou Cooke. Sekou is one of the leading advocates for the study and practice of Hip-Hop Architecture, a practice that poses hip-hop as architecture and uses the language of design to …

E54. Jerald Cooper: HoodCentury Modern.

November 13th, 2022


Today’s conversation is with creative director, and architectural archivist Jerald “Coop” Cooper. Coop is the founder of Hood-century Modern — an Instagram account that sparked a preservation movement by highlighting …

E53b. Frank B. Wilderson III: On Afropessimism II.

October 30th, 2022


Today’s episode is with award-winning writer, scholar and activist Frank B. Wilderson III. Frank is known as the Godfather of Afropessimism: a …

E53a. Frank B. Wilderson III: On Afropessimism I.

October 23rd, 2022


Today’s episode is with award-winning writer, scholar and activist Frank B. Wilderson III. Frank is known as the Godfather of Afropessimism: a …

E52. Ghetto Gastro (Jon Gray): 15 Seconds to Decide.

October 9th, 2022


Today’s conversation is with food enthusiast, storyteller, and creative strategist Jon Gray. Jon is the co-founder and self-proclaimed dishwasher of …

E51. Jerome Lamaar: The Power of Imagination.

September 25th, 2022


Today’s conversation is with creative director, designer and stylist Jerome Lamaar. Jerome is a trendsetter whose perspective on art, culture, …

E50. June Ambrose: The Style Architect.

September 11th, 2022


Today’s conversation is with designer and creative director June Ambrose. June is an award-winning creative director, stylist, costume designer, and …

E49. Bill T. Jones: The Artist is Present.

September 4th, 2022


Today’s episode is with choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones. Jones is an award winning artist and legendary dancer. His work uses storytelling, …

E48. Sara Zewde: Parks and Liberation.

May 22nd, 2022


Today’s episode is with landscape architect, designer, urbanist, and public artist Sara Zewde. Sara is the co-founder of Studio Zewde– a design firm practicing landscape architecture, urban design, and public art, as …

E47.David Zilber: A Fermenter's Guide to the Universe.

May 8th, 2022


Today’s episode is with Chef, Fermenter, Food Scientist, Photographer, and New York Times best-selling author David Zilber. David is the former Director of Fermentation for “NOMA” Copenhagen; known as one of the most …

E46. Stephen Satterfield: The Origins of Food.

May 1st, 2022


Today’s episode is with food writer, producer, and media entrepreneur Stephen Satterfield. Stephen is the host of Netflix’s critically acclaimed docuseries “High on the Hog” and the founder of Whetstone, a magazine and …

E45. Luvvie Ajayi Jones: The Professional Troublemaker.

April 24th, 2022


Today’s episode is with author, podcast host, and speaker Luvvie Ajayi Jones. Luvvie is a New York Times-Bestselling author and in this conversation, she lays out what it takes to become a professional troublemaker: …

E44. Rev.Eboni Marshall Turman: Redefining God's Body

April 17th, 2022


In this conversation, we discuss a wide range of topics from Eboni’s experience growing up in Brooklyn during the ’80s, to her studies of Black …

E43. Kenturah Davis: The Limits of Language.

April 10th, 2022


Today’s episode is with contemporary artist Kenturah Davis. Exploring language, looms, and listening beyond the limen, Kenturah's work reminds us that identity requires an intimacy with the unknown and oftentimes hidden …

E42. Zoe Adjonyoh: Exploring Identity Through Cuisine.

April 3rd, 2022


Today’s conversation is with chef and activist Zoe Adjonyoh. Zoe is the founder and creative brainchild behind Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and author of one of New York Times most notable cookbooks of 2021. Exploring identity, …

E41. Estelle: Becoming the Love of Your Life.

March 27th, 2022


Today’s episode is with Estelle; a Grammy-award winning singer, song writer, and record producer.  A woman clearly comfortable with who she is, how she loves, and the boundaries she erects to express said love, Estelle …

E40. Jericho Brown: Shaping Reality with Words.

March 20th, 2022


Today’s episode is with Jericho Brown, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet, scholar, and the Director of Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, …

E39. Timnit Gebru: Asylum From A.I.

March 13th, 2022


Show Notes 

Timnit Gebru is an artificial intelligence researcher.  Timnit advocates for fair and just use of the technology we use everyday. A former …

E38. Toni L. Griffin: The Just City.

March 6th, 2022


In today’s conversation, Dario sits with urbanist and architect Toni Griffin. Toni’s work asks us to question the design of our neighborhoods, communities, and cities. From values of belonging to voices of protection, …

E37. Bisa Butler: The Realization of Memory

February 27th, 2022


In today’s conversation, Dario sits with fiber artist and storyteller Bisa Butler. Bisa tells the stories of African heritage and American home through an artistry and craft we all know as quilts. Her use of vibrant …

E36. Dario Calmese: Designing Consciousness with IBI Founder.

February 20th, 2022


Today’s episode is a special one.  This time, it's me in the hot seat, in an extremely candid conversation with our inaugural IBI Fellow, Adam Saleh, an anti-disciplinary designer and current senior at UC Berkeley …

E35. The Hero's Journey with Model and Activist Bethann Hardison.

February 13th, 2022


Today’s episode is with the ineffable Bethann Hardison. Bethann is known to the world as a model, activist, and the grand dame of the fashion and design industry.

Today’s conversation is one of iconoclastic voice and …

E34. The Process of Un-Drowning with Poet and Scholar Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Part Two).

December 19th, 2021


In today’s episode Dario sits with poet, independent scholar, and self-ascribed cousin to all sentient beings, Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs.  As …

E34. The Process of Un-Drowning with Poet and Scholar Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Part One).

December 12th, 2021


In today’s episode Dario sits with poet, independent scholar, and self-ascribed cousin to all sentient beings, Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs.  As …

E33. The Power of Critique with Journalist Robin Gihvan.

December 5th, 2021


In today’s conversation, Dario sits with fashion editor and Pulitzer prize winning writer Robin Givhan. Robin’s love for the written word and the …

E32. Truth Telling Between the Lies with Chef Omar Tate.

November 28th, 2021


In today’s conversation, Dario sits with celebrated community activist, restauranter, and poet, Omar Tate. Hailing from West Philadelphia, Omar’s …

E31. Cultivating Community Through Art with Curator and Activist Kimberly Drew.

November 21st, 2021


Show Notes. 

Today’s episode Dario sits with art curator, writer, and social activist Kimberly Drew. Hailing from Orange, New Jersey, Drew was taught by her parents to trust her own voice at an early age. In a family …

E30. The Tenets of Healing with Writer and Activist Darnell Moore.

November 14th, 2021


In this episode, Dario sits with award-winning author and activist Darnell Moore. Moore’s scholarship weaves effortlessly between the role of the …

E29. Scripting Your Life with Writer Jacqueline Woodson.

November 7th, 2021


In this episode, Dario sits with writer and MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson’s work reflects the prose, poetry, and undying possibilities that exist within the lives of young Black people. …

E28. Dissolving the Illusion with Artist Hank Willis Thomas.

October 31st, 2021


Today’s episode is with conceptual artist, Hank Willis Thomas. Hailing from the mean streets of Plainfield, NJ… That’s a joke, by the way,. Hank’s body of work  explores themes related to perspective, identity, …

E27. Art as Therapy with Graphic Designer & Artist Brandon Breaux

October 24th, 2021


Today’s episode is with artist and graphic designer, Brandon Breaux. Hailing from Chicago’s South Side, Brandon is one of those rare artists whose body of work  sits comfortably at both the personal and at commercial …

E26. A Revolutinary Life with Black Panther Chairman, Elaine Brown.

October 17th, 2021


Todays episode is with former chairman and the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party, Sister Elaine Brown. Elaine is a activist, writer, speaker, and songwriter known for her sharp wit and sheer …

E25. Slashing Through Obstacles with Olympian Daryl Homer.

October 10th, 2021


Today’s episode is with fencer and  three-time Olympian, Daryl Homer.Hailing from the U.s. virgin islands, Daryl, along with  his mother and sister relocated to the Gun Hill section of the Bronx when he was five.  His …

E24. Dancing Through Life with Performance Legend Carmen De Lavallade.

October 3rd, 2021


Today’s Episode is with actress, choreographer and dance legend, Carmen De Lavallade.  Raised by a single father in post-depression Los Angeles, Carmen began her formal training at 14, a bit late for female dancers, but …

E23. The Hidden Costs of Racism with Heather McGhee

February 14th, 2021


Heather McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America.  Do you know Heather?  You might know Heather. Maybe you saw her on NBC’s …

E22. The Hidden Costs of Education w. Dr. Nadia Lopez.

January 3rd, 2021


Why open a school? To close a prison.  That is the title of the Ted talk given by today’s guest, Educator Dr. Nadia Lopez.  The award-winning …

E21. The Soul of American Food w. Top Chef Marcus Samuelsson

December 20th, 2020


Today’s episode is with the award-winning chef and restaurateur, Marcus Samuelsson.

Hailing from a tiny Ethiopian village where tuberculosis had …

E20. The Psychology of Skin with Rose Ingleton M.D.

December 6th, 2020


Today’s episode is board-certified Dermatologist, and skincare expert to the stars, Dr. Rose Marie Ingleton. Long before caring for the faces of …

E19. Designing for Liberation with Systems Thinker, Marquise Stillwell.

November 22nd, 2020


Today’s episode is with systems thinker and design maverick, Marquise Stillwell. 

Born and raised in Ohio, into a family of community activists, Marquise learned the power of owning one’s story at an early age. He is the …

E18. Designing for the Public w. Artist Kenseth Armstead

November 8th, 2020


Today’s episode is with conceptual and multimedia installation artist, Kenseth Armstead. Born and raised in Washington DC, Kenseth found his artistic …

E17. Mastering Your Craft with Bespoke Tailor, T-Michael.

October 25th, 2020


Today’s episode is with bespoke tailor and designer, T-Michael. Born in Accra, Ghana, T-Michael spent the majority of his adolescence in London, …

E16. Processing the Pod w. Dario and Xenobia Bailey

October 11th, 2020


A lot of time,  the conversations I have with guests offline are JUST as interesting as the interview itself. So today, we’re trying something a little different...  The tables are turned! Today’s episode is well, not …

E15. FUNKtional Design & Material Culture w. Artist Xenobia Bailey

October 5th, 2020


Today’s episode is with fiber artist and cultivator of funk, Xenobia Bailey.

Born in Seattle Washington, into a family that survived off of a material …

E14. Choreographer, Kyle Abraham.

September 27th, 2020


Today’s episode is with American dancer and choreographer, Kyle Abraham. Born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, into a home of loving and supportive …

E13. The Art of Living w. Lana Turner (part two).

September 20th, 2020


Today’s episode is with Harlem socialite and style icon, Lana Turner. Born at the Women’s Hospital on West and 110th st. and still residing in the neighborhood 70 years later, Ms.Turner is quintessential Harlem, a …

E13. The Art of Living w. Lana Turner (part one).

September 13th, 2020


Today’s episode is with Harlem socialite and style icon, Lana Turner. Born at the Women’s Hospital on West and 110th st. and still residing in the neighborhood 70 years later, Ms.Turner is quintessential Harlem, a …

E12. The Art of Hip-Hop w. Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter.

September 6th, 2020


Tarik ‘Black Thought’ Trotter on his origin story: “I think often in the case of heroes or of a character, a protagonist who sort of rises to greatness there is some trauma Yeah. And you know my life is was no …

E11. Weaving Narratives w. Artist Diedrick Brackens.

August 30th, 2020


Diedrick Brackens on his first encounter with creativity: “Moving my hands in the pursuit of language feels important and to me, it’s so relative to the way that I build narratives with textiles. (10:33)

What is a Fiber …

E10. Writing Your Narrative w. Tarell Alvin McCraney.

August 23rd, 2020


Episode number 10, with playwright, Tarrell Alvin McCraney

Tarell Alvin McCraney on living freely: “I’m starting a new chapter where I try to live and be as free as possible rather than be chained to survival mode.”

E9. The Business of Creativity w. Jey Van-Sharp and Kwasi Gyasi.

August 9th, 2020


Today’s episode is with management consultants and two of the three founders of MyUberLife, Jey Van Sharp and Kwasi Gyasi. With combined degrees in …

E8. Torkwase Dyson, Artist.

August 2nd, 2020


Today’s episode is with painter, sculptor, and multi-hyphenated artist, Torkwase Dyson.

Born in Chicago Illinois, into a family embedded with …

E7. André Leon Talley, Fashion Icon (part two).

July 26th, 2020


This is Part Two of our conversation with Andre Leon Talley. In this episode, we discuss how Andre’s crippling childhood experiences resulted in him …

E7. André Leon Talley, Fashion Icon (part one).

July 26th, 2020


Today’s episode is with titan of American fashion, André Leon Talley.

Raised in Durham North Carolina by his grandmother, Andre’s love for fashion …

E6. Renee Cox, Artist and Photographer.

July 12th, 2020


Today’s episode is with the provocative artist and photographer, Renee Cox. Born in Colgate, Jamaica, into a West Indian heritage that instills …

E5. Kerby Jean-Raymond, Founder of Pyer Moss

July 5th, 2020


Today’s episode is with Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of the fashion brand, Pyer Moss. Hailing from East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Kerby has taken the hutzpah of self-resilience and toughness and has woven it into the fabric of …

E4. Racial VR Immersion w. Psychologist Dr. Courtney Cogburn.

June 21st, 2020


In today’s episode we chat with psychologist, Dr. Courtney Cogburn.  Hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Doctor Cogburn’s research focuses on how …

E3. Casey Gerald, Writer and Entrepreneur.

June 14th, 2020


Today’s episode is with writer Casey Gerald. Born in Oak Cliff Texas, Casey’s life reads like a textbook definition of The American Dream.  Oh you know, Small town boy from troubled home makes good and lands in the Ivy …

E2. Dr. Mabel O. Wilson, Architect and Scholar.

June 7th, 2020


Today’s episode is with architect, designer, and scholar, Dr. Mabel O. Wilson. Doing double-duty as a  Professor of Architecture  and as Associate …

E1. T.J. Walker of Cross Colours

May 29th, 2020


Today’s episode is with TJ Walker, one of the co-founders of the pioneering streetwear brand, Cross Colours.  Cross Colours blasted onto the urban …

Loading ...

Are you the creator of this podcast?

Verify your account

and pick the featured episodes for your show.

Listen to The Institute of Black Imagination.


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens