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The Institute of Black Imagination.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

By dario
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 inspire, engage, and to help you unleash your own imagination.

Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
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E8. Torkwase Dyson, Artist.

The Institute of Black Imagination.

E13. The Art of Living w. Lana Turner (part one).
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 landmark unto herself. A mathematician of dressing, Ms. Turner does not just put clothes on, but uses her body as a medium in which she expresses her appreciation and preservation of life, style, and beauty, or as she likes to refer to it: “Painting the body canvas.” A doyenne of mid-20th century fashion, and muse of New York Times Street style photographer Bill Cunningham, Lana Turner and I were introduced almost a decade ago at  the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem when I was looking for a few hats for a fashion story while in grad school. Upon meeting and chatting with her, I realized quite quickly that it was SHE who needed to be photographed, in her wardrobe, and in her hats… of which there are upwards of, wait for it… 500. Actually I believe the exact number is 638. Here are some highlights: On the discovery of self: “You know a single woman, single mother, taking care of all of that. But when he got old enough to fly away from the nest, it allowed me to expand my sense of self. Prior to his leaving, however, that sense of self was always in play.” (19:46) “That sense of self was one thing that allowed for, for example, deciding to change say the furniture in my room, and I woke up one morning and I said, No everything should not only be functional, it should also be beautiful.”(20:09) On her love for archiving: “I think the archiving element is in my DNA, it seems to have always been there without you know, want for formalizing that as an educational piece in my life, and it's always been there.” (4:28) On the theatricality of the black church: “But of course, with the black church we are looking at, or at least I'm looking at it as the as a critical foundation for our deliverance from the slavery, both external and internal. I look at church as a way to release the notion of what it means as a collective, to breathe and to pray. I look at the black church in particular for all the things that go on in it that have more theatricality attached.-But I love the collective energies that black people bring to anything. And when it comes to church, oh my goodness. (39:29) On the art of living: I don’t know what the formula is I don't know if I could articulate it all. So let's see, I can start, I can try. There's things that I love. So I love and I don't need other people to do it. I just like being myself. (27:04) Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
September 13, 2020
E12. The Art of Hip-Hop w. Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter.
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 different.” Today’s episode is with a man who needs no introduction, but I’m going to introduce him anyway:  Tariq Luqmaan Trotter, better known as Black Thought, lead MC and co-founder of the hip-hop band, The Roots. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tariq faced some early hardships– losing both of his parents to homicide before the age of 16, but he found his path in the arts, attending Philadelphia’s High School for creative and performing arts, also known as ‘the fame school of Philly’, notable alumni include Boys to Men, Erika Alexander, Leslie Odom Jr., Joey de Francesco, Jasmine Sullivan, and many more. While immersed in this brilliant world of musicianship, Black Thought encountered yet another now-famous alum and co-founder of The Roots, Questlove. Emerging from the Philly soul scene in the late eighties and early 90s, The Roots created a space for themselves that didn’t exist during that era:  A live, hip hop band. Known for their jazzy and eclectic approach to the genre, their debut album Organix was released and sold independently and were quickly signed to DGC/Geffen. Today, they serve as the house band for the Tonight show, while still touring extensively, and producing projects both collectively and individually, including an upcoming Broadway musical, “Black NO More”, penned by today’s guest, Mr. Trotter. Here are some highlights… On His Origin Story: “That's, that's sort of my, my origin story is I am, you know, I grew up in Philadelphia, I lost my father at a very, very young age before I was two years old, and, you know, to murder to homicide in the streets of Philly and I lost my mother to the same at 15 or 16. So, yeah, I feel like that is my origin” On Trauma being a motivating factor in his life: “It's the ways in which we allow that internalization to, you know, compel us, and sometimes you're compelled to, you know, to quit, or in that pause to, you know, to give up, or sometimes it becomes a huge motivating factor for you. And, in my experience, that's, that's, you know, the purpose that it has served is as a, as a motivator” On The Notorious Roots Jam Sessions: “I remember John Legend, you know, he was a student at the University of Penn, he would come and, you know, try and get into our jam sessions and would often be turned away, for whatever reason, like, you know, go figure. I wasn't at the door had I been at the door, that would never have been the case, but I know people who remember turning him away, and I feel like that was a motivating factor for him and you know, that that's part of what propelled him to greatness” Links we mention in the episode: Tariq's Instagram: @blackthought Link to "Black No More" info: Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
September 06, 2020
E11. Weaving Narratives w. Artist Diedrick Brackens.
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 artist? Currently represented by the galleries Various Small Fires in LA, and Jack Shainman in New York, Diedrick is, and I quote” best known for his woven tapestries that explore allegory and narrative through the artist’s autobiography, broader themes of African American and queer identity, as well as American history. Brackens employs techniques from West African weaving, quilting from the American South and European tapestry-making to create both abstract and figurative works.” In 2018 Diedrick was awarded the prestigious Studio Museum Wein Prize, and made his New York Institutional debut in 2019 at the New Museum with his Exhibition, “darling Divined.” His current body of work, “Blessed are the MOsquitos” explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on the black queer community. Here are some highlights… On his origin story: “My parents were just like- packrat, that’s how they saw it. But I was like, no I’m like making things, building stuff, I’m kind of creating this little universe - I always was just like fascinated by my own thoughts and ideas about how the world worked or what kind of fantasy I could construct out of this junk” (5:49) On his first encounter with creativity: “I think I knew that I was going to write very early, and I wanted to write creatively. And I think somehow as I went along, I just was in these spaces where I don’t think you’re encouraged to write as a child, you have to know how to write, you have to write this essay like you’re writing for a particular type of information, you’re not writing as a tool of self-expression. So I think there was no avenue as a small child that cultivated that thing so I moved into art” (9:11) On how he approaches a new piece: “For me, it comes out of thinking about my experiences of the world and what I have lacked or been rewarded with. How to make an image out of that” (24:34) On the advantages and disadvantages of growing up without mentors: “Mentors and I also wanna say like fathership; mentors who serve a specific role around like what is it going to look like in 30 years, or what should I be doing right now, or how do I navigate the world that I live in right now” (26:02) On his relationship with his father: “I think of that both in the role of a biological father but like this person who has actually lived it. And I remember my dad would always saying, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun, I mean now I’m like maybe Links we mention in the episode: Diedrick's Instagram: @deedsweaves Link to Diedrick's work: Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
August 30, 2020
E10. Writing Your Narrative w. Tarell Alvin McCraney.
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.” What makes a person become a writer? An Academy award-winning, playwright, actor and co-writer of the 2016 film ‘Moonlight,’ Tarell Alvin McCraney likens writing more as a survival instinct, rather than a calling. Growing up with a constant feeling that change was imminent, Tarell found a way to take hold of that narrative, and rewrite it. Tarell began writing the first draft of ‘In Moonlight black boys look blue’  which later became the source material for the Oscar-winning movie, “Moonlight” with director Barry Jenkins.  He describes it as an effort of piecing together the scapes of memories that he had about who he was, who his mother thought he was, and who he could become. In January of 2019, his Tony and Drama Desk award-winning play, Choir Boy debuted on broadway, and later that year, he made his television debut as writer and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series, “David Makes Man” on Oprah’s OWN network. In 2020, it won the prestigious Peabody Award, a first for the network. And lest he stops to catch his breath, Tarell also serves as the chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School Of Drama. Here are some highlights… On His Super Hero Story: “When you grow up knowing that, that shift, that change is ever-present and can fall one way or another, it’s sorta something you begin to survive rather than live” (7:37) On the Internal Journey: “If you look around and see change happening all the time and you can’t imagine yourself in it, then you begin to write yourself into stories” On the Power of Word and Text: “Words are powerfully limiting in that we are often grasping, throwing, pulling at, shaking up vocal sounds, to form, to shape, sometimes the unimaginable, the unquantifiable, the unpalatable things that are ephemeral feelings” On the way, Spirit informs the Diaspora: “Because capitalism is the zeitgeist or spiritual animism of the United States, it interferes with a real look at spiritual and the understanding and investigation of that which is free” On the Power of Naming Yourself: “That’s what all religion, history, methodology, cosmology, are about trying to put some order to the world we live in through theses ideas of stories” On the Idea of The Wounded Healer: “Empathy, If you too have been wounded, you know why it is necessary to heal” On Advice to Young Writers: “There’s moment’s where you have to be still enough in what you’re doing recognize when you are doing what’s right for you and your work and your path” Links we mention in the episode: Tarell's Instagram: @octarell_again David Makes Man on OWN: Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Additional editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
August 23, 2020
E9. The Business of Creativity w. Jey Van-Sharp and Kwasi Gyasi.
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 electrical engineering, physics, math, and business, these two men developed keen senses for dimensionality and the need to impact the cultural spaces around them. “Through conversations, people were always amazed by how smart we were, part of it was because of the pigment in our skin” (16:05). While seeing a gap between the creativity of business and the business of creativity, their consultancy, MyUberLife was formed. “Let’s create this company called MyUberLife so it would be almost a self-manifestation like I want my life to be super so lets create a company and teach business to creative people and it was that simple (18:53). Jey and Kwasi created an ecosystem of intellectuals by inadvertently becoming the middle man between cultural intelligence and business intelligence. “What we do is teach creative people business; as we found out to do that really well we also have to deal with the money and teach the money how to deal with creatives so we start teaching corporations culture and that community. So we start doing two things, one part teaching creative people about business and the other part teaching business people about creatives” (19:16)  MyUberLife’s method always starts with the Why. “The first thing we do when we start out is tell artists to write their manifesto out. I don’t care about what you do, tell me why you’re doing it.” (22:12). Afterwhich, they approach with practicality: what is your story? How much does it cost to make these goals a reality? “Then you start understanding, ‘How much does it cost to do my practice?’ My rent, my studio, my equipment, my paint brushes. A lot of people don’t understand how much it costs to be an artist.” (23:30).  How do we generate revenue around your creative endeavors? “We have a rule of thumb we say you need to make 3x the amount of money that it actually cost you to do something” (23:52). During this episode, we discuss the formula for creating impact in the world, “Creativity times organization equals impact (25:06), the importance of owning your ideas (24:36), understanding the value of your individual story, “everywhere you go is your ideology and your ethos representative in that moment and time, in that space” (29:57)  and how to communicate that to consumers, “Marketing is communicating your value through someone else. Marketing is also understanding what someone else values” (24:18).  Recorded before quarantine, this informative conversation will cause you to pull out your notebook and get organized about your creative pursuits. It is with great pleasure to introduce Jey Van-Sharp and Kwasi Gyasi to the IBI podcast. Links we mention in the episode: Jey's Instagram: @jeyofmyuberlife Kwasi's Instagram: @kwasiofmyuberlife Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Additional editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
August 09, 2020
E8. Torkwase Dyson, Artist.
Today’s episode is with painter, sculptor, and multi-hyphenated artist, Torkwase Dyson. Born in Chicago Illinois, into a family embedded with scholars and artists of many forms, Torkwase found her artistic path while studying Sociology at Tougaloo College, later receiving her Bachelors of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonweath University and her Masters at the Yale School of Art.  Her work is about the reimagining of black compositional thought, while exploring shape and form as it relates to black bodies in space.  In Torwkase’s words, “The works are deconstructions of natural and built environments that consider how individuals negotiate and negate various types of systems and spatial order.” This multi-disciplinary approach was on full display during her show, “Nautical Dusk” which debuted at the Colby Museum of Art in the fall of 2018. Her sculptures, paintings, and geometric forms depicted the life of Samuel Osborne, a janitor at Colby College at the turn of the 20th century, who was born into slavery. Using Osborne’s text obituaries written by white authors this exhibition raised questions concerning creation, conveyance, and autonomy. In 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Studio Museum Wein Prize, and in 2020 she was added to the roster of the influential Pace Gallery. Torkwase continues to explore the language of structural constructs, black activism, and what it means to be and live in blackness. During our conversation, we discuss the role language plays in her practice, how art allowed her to express her innermost being, why one must ALWAYS be prepared, and what black genius means to her. Recorded during lockdown, this eloquent conversation is one for the books. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, an artist of many forms, Torkwase Dyson. Links we mention in the episode: Torkwase's Instagram: @torkwasedyson Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Additional editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
August 02, 2020
E7. André Leon Talley, Fashion Icon (part two).
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 never knowing a reciprocal type of love. “Tragically and regrettably. I never channeled how to be intimate.” (3:45) How he interprets beauty not only in his personal life but beauty’s  role and purpose in our surrounding world. “Luxury and Beauty are the same thing to me. Luxury is not necessarily [symbolic] that you’ve arrived. I earned early on- that beauty is everywhere around you. (7:02) The role faith and spirituality play in his life and how it connects back to his aesthetics and love for fashion. “ I grew up in a church, I still go to church. I don’t know where I’d be without the church.” (13:41) The church is pivotal to my survival.“ (16:25) The power of the black African church has sustained me. And my own inner fortitude to overcome all obstacles.(16:50) The tenacity and juice it takes to make it in the world of fashion. “The essence of that is the uniqueness and the originality. (18:32) When I’m authentically me. It works. (22:45) We also discuss how the fashion industry can advance and not only be more inclusive but actually be at the vanguard of this moment we’re currently in. “It must go back to the individual imagination. Individuality, this is where fashion must return. (27:26) “Fashion must create and embrace the oneness of the imagination, particularly the black imagination.” “The black imagination is a very powerful thing. (38:22) And lastly, we touch on what he aspires his legacy to be. “ My legacy will be that of human kindness, great unique imagination, curator of knowledge. And that he contributed to the world he left a contribution of oneness. Oneness that mattered. That’s what I’d like my legacy to be (40:48). Please enjoy Part TWO of this wide-ranging interview with my friend and mentor, Andre Leon Talley. Links we mentioned in the episode: his latest book The Chiffon Trenches available on and Thank you for tuning in! Please don’t forget to rate, comment,subscribe and share with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Links we mention in the episode: Andre's Instagram: @andreltalley His Latest Book: The Chiffon Trenches Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Additional editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
July 26, 2020
E7. André Leon Talley, Fashion Icon (part one).
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 began at an early age, with his discovery of magazines like Vogue and Harper Bazaar, giving him access to worlds and visions beyond the segregated Jim Crow South. A star student, Andre received a full scholarship to Brown University to study French literature, after completing his undergraduate degree at local HBCU, North Carolina Central University. Although he came from humble beginnings, André’s meteoric rise through the editorial mastsheads of fashion's most prominent publications, speak not only to his fine-tuned intellect, but also a keen... social intelligence; navigating the dominantly white front rows of the fashion industry for decades. Beginning with an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with legendary fashion editor and life-long mentor, Diana Vreeland, he went on to work at Andy Warhol’s Factory and Interview magazine. Later stints at Women’s Wear Daily, W Magazine, and the The New York Times, prepared him for his influential role atop the masthead as creative director of American Vogue in 1988, making him the highest ranking Black person in fashion journalism. In 2003 He published his first memoir, ALT, and his current book, “The Chiffon Trenches,” which offers a candid window into his professional and personal struggles, was released May of 2020. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and his documentary, “The Gospel According to Andre” by director Kim Novak, was released in the US in 2018. This conversation with Andre was recorded just two day ago, but felt so relevant and pressing that we decided to release part one for you today.  We speak of Andre’s life in the Jim Crow South, his introduction into America’s upper class at Brown University, how fashion served as armor to shield him his serial childhood sexual abuse, and I, for the first time publicly, speak of my own. Please enjoy Part ONE of this wide-ranging interview with my friend and Mentor, Andre Leon Talley. Links we mention in the episode: Andre's Instagram: @andreltalley His Latest Book: The Chiffon Trenches Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast: Additional editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.
July 26, 2020
E6. Renee Cox, Artist and Photographer.
Today’s episode is with the provocative artist and photographer, Renee Cox. Born in Colgate, Jamaica, into a West Indian heritage that instills unwavering confidence into their youth, Renee and her family eventually settled in Scarsdale, New York while in her teens. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from Syracuse University, Renee began a groundbreaking career in commercial photography, first cutting her creative teeth in Paris, with visionary fashion designers like Issey Miyake and Claude Montana before returning to the states to shoot for publications like Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Essence, and Cosmopolitan. “In the ’80s me being a fashion photographer that was something that I wanted to do from the time I was in high school, so one could say that was a manifestation.” (31:39) However, the birth of her first son, along with an encounter with fine art photographer Lyle Ashton Harris, caused Renee to question her legacy and the impact of the images she was creating. “I think that all change has to come from within and in this life situation that we’re in, it's about trying to get to a higher level of consciousness (13:59).  She enrolled into the Masters of Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and later was selected for the Whitney Independent Studies Program, the first artist to do so while pregnant.  Using her own body as a template “I’m not gonna be their Hottentot Venus. I’m not going to be made a spectacle of without implicating them (39:31) . Renee’s art is dedicated to the deconstruction of stereotypes and reconstitutes the identity and dignity stripped from black bodies during the Trans-Atlanic slave trade. “It’s time for black folks to take back and to eradicate the views that have been implanted into their heads. I think we’re taught to underestimate from day 1 and that needs to change (57:55). Her piece "It Shall Be Named", which depicts the chilling allusion of a lynched man, castrated from his manhood, debuted in the groundbreaking show, Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art at the Whitney Museum of Art, curated by Thelma Golden, now Director and chief curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. “I always chose to deal with topics that some people might find a little difficult” (45:58).   Often controversial, her work, “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” which was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 2001, reimagines Leonardo de Vinci’s masterpiece the Last Supper with Renee as a nude Jesus, surrounded by the 12 apostles, all Black, except for Judas, who was white. “If you got yo mama’s last supper let’s say you had it in your home in your dining room, where Russell Simons does have it. People are going to ask you about it so you have to explain my story behind it or you can bring your own story into it. It will insight some sort of reaction and conversation from your guest and I think some people just don’t wanna be bothered with that kind of thing either (45:30).  Then New York City Mayor denounced the work as Anti-Catholic, and formed a panel to create decency standards for all art shown at publicly funded museums in the city. Links we mention in the episode: Renee's Website: Renee's Instagram: @reneecoxstudio Edward Bernays: Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
July 12, 2020
E5. Kerby Jean-Raymond, Founder of Pyer Moss
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 what is now one of the hottest fashion brands. Founded in 2013, Pyer Moss fashion shows have been revered as theatrical and emotionally moving and the must-see show of New York Fashion Week. He personally describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” which explores the depths of the cultural origins of blackness. In this conversation we discuss how his work in the fashion industry cost him his sanity (7:20), how Kerby leverages his fame for the freedom of Black peoples around the world, doing everything with the intent of centering black people (6:32), his tools for success and finally arriving at a place of self-love and acceptance (27:43). “I started to discern the difference between the person I was and the person I was pretending to be.” (10:37) The internal growth which lead him to figuring out what was right for him. “What was instinctively right for me was always talking about race, talking about politics, talking about things I actually cared about.” (11:34) We even discuss our own falling out a few years back. “I was constantly in contention with you, with everyone that was trying to force me to follow my instincts. You had it right the first time! You said that to me once.“ (13:14) —a topic even we hadn’t discussed until this interview. Recording during lockdown, this is Kerby at his rawest and most vulnerable. Links we mention in the episode: Pyer Moss: Kerby's Instagram: @kerbito Momentum Education: Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
July 05, 2020
E4. Racial VR Immersion w. Psychologist Dr. Courtney Cogburn.
In today’s episode we chat with psychologist, Dr. Courtney Cogburn.  Hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Doctor Cogburn’s research focuses on how racism contributes to health disparities amongst Black Americans and in particular how over time, blatant and subtle racism in media stresses and literally wears down Black bodies—a phenomenon also known as “weathering”—something we have all witnessed to during the current outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States, and its devastating effects on communities of color. An associate professor at Columbia’s School of Social Work, Dr. Cogburn’s racial immersion VR experience, 1000-Cut Journey, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. Developed in collaboration with the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, It allows for the viewer to experience life as a Black man, from adolescence through adulthood, and has been featured on TEDx, CBS, and Forbes. In this conversation we discuss when she first began to notice the correlation between race and academic achievement (5:00), the effects of "breathing racism" (13:00), how watching videos of police brutality is bad for our health (18:46), how reason rarely works as well empathy (22:00), a step-by-step explanation of her racial VR experience (28:04), how her lack of experience with virtual reality didn't keep her from pursuing her goals (34:22), her biggest failure as a researcher (41:40), how her own son changed the way she works (43:18), why higher education has health benefits for every demographic, except for those of African decent (46:48), and the ways in which VR is being used to help Black people begin to heal from a lifetime of racial stress (59:26). Given where we are as a country and a people, I found this conversation to be right on time. Links we mention in the episode: Courtney's Twitter Account: @courtneycogburn Her Racial VR Experience: 1,000-Cut Journey Hyphen Labs: Neurospeculative Afrofeminism Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
June 21, 2020
E3. Casey Gerald, Writer and Entrepreneur.
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 Leagues—Yale to be exact. Casey later goes off to Harvard Business school and co-founds the nonprofit MBAs Across America, for which he is  listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People.  All of this and more can be found in his memoir, There Will be No Miracles Here, which was listed by both NPR and The New York Times as one of the best books of 2018.  His Ted Talk, “The Gospel of Doubt” has over 2.1 million views. Did I mention he was also a Rhodes Semifinalist? Recorded via Zoom while under lockdown,  we speak about when Casey realized the "American Dream" was a scam (16:35), how he rediscovered his inner child (19:30), the malleability of time (26:10), the first boy he ever loved (40:15), the gift of being gay (47:25), what prisons and the coronavirus have in common (50:30), the joy of blackness (56:07), why it's always a good idea to leave New York City (59:30), and the path to finding internal joy (1:02:43) We cover so many amazing topics, and Casey shows us a side of himself he rarely ever does.   This episode takes on a more conversational tone, and a few F-bombs are dropped, be warned, lol. Links we mention in the episode: Casey's Instagram and Twitter: @caseygerald His book: There Will Be No Miracles Here Abraham Hicks: Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love bell hook's All About Love: New Visions Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
June 14, 2020
E2. Dr. Mabel O. Wilson, Architect and Scholar.
Today’s episode is with architect, designer, and scholar, Dr. Mabel O. Wilson. Doing double-duty as a  Professor of Architecture  and as Associate Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies, both at Columbia University, Dr. Wilson is not your traditional designer of buildings. Her trans-disciplinary practice extends well beyond the built environment in to the worlds of curation, performance, art, and cultural history. In today’s episode we discuss how Mabel’s problems fitting in as a young architect led to designing her own path to success (5:40), her advice for young architectural students (9:00), what Beyonce stole from her (21:30), the ways in which design and structures have been used to create the concepts of both blackness and whiteness (26:26), the radical change needed for an equitable America (32:27), the invisibility of Black women (35:00) and how mass incarceration not only tied a generation of Black men to a failing capitalist state, but left a generation of Black women without partners (49:40). Links we mention in the episode: Mabel's Instagram: @studio_and Her new book: Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present  Thank you for tuning in! Please don't forget to rate, comment, subscribe and SHARE with a friend (@blackimaginationpodcast). Support this podcast:
June 07, 2020
E1. T.J. Walker of Cross Colours
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 fashion scene in the late 80’s, and their bright colors, loose silhouettes, and inspiring message, “Clothing Without Prejudice” presaged the launch of a string of urban streetwear brands like Karl Kani, FuBu, and Phat Farm.  Cross Colours came to define the 90s, worn by every musical icon of the era like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Lil Kim, Mary J Blige, TLC, and most famously Will Smith while on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The brand has had a resurgence recently, especially after Bruno Mars and Cardi B wore Cross Colours during the 2018 Grammy Awards. In this episode we discuss TJ’s path from a farm in Mississippi to designing for one of the most profitable Black businesses of his time (2:34), how he actually got those clothes on Will Smith (16:30), why their slogan, “Clothing without Prejudice” still resonates 2 decades later (29:07), and a new initiative he’s started with costume designer Ruth Carter, who most recently won the Academy Award for her costume design for Marvel’s Black Panther(38:10). Thank you so much for listening, and if you enjoyed this conversation,, shout us out on social, and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, which is super helpful! please share it out over social media. and let him know your favorite part of our conversation together. Thank you all so much for tuning in today, I hope this show brought a lot of value to you.  If you enjoyed, please share it out over social media with your friends and loved ones. Tag me at @blackimaginationpodcast on instagram, and shoutout our boy TJ Walker @tjwalkerofficial. We have so many amazing episodes coming your way, so be sure to subscribe wherever you receive your podcasts, and be sure to rate us over on iTunes, which helps out a lot! Keep Dreaming!
May 29, 2020