Cover art for podcast The Institute of Black Imagination.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

37 EpisodesProduced by darioWebsite

Welcome to The Institute of Black Imagination hosted by artist, writer, and brand consultant 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. More than anything, we are here to inspi… read more

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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 …

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 …

E.33 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 …

E.32 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 …

E.31 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 …

E.30 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 …

E.29 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. …

E.28 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, …

E.27 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 …

E.25 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 …

E.24 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 …

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