Podcast Press Kit

Contact for press inquiries:
Laura Marie Ruocco | laura@tmiproject.org
TMI Project | 65 Saint James Street, Kingston, NY 12401

The TMI Project Story Hour launched in April of 2020. Since then, the podcast has appeared twice on Apple’s New & Noteworthy and has been featured on Spotify and Pandora. In 2023, The TMI Project Story Hour was given the highest honor at International Women’s Podcast Awards, taking home the award for Changing the World One Moment at a Time; and received recognition at Sonic Bloom Awards for Gender Justice and Voice of the People.

Season 2: Black Stories Matter

All of the stories in this season were created in Black-led true storytelling workshops where Black folks wrote about, shared, and reflected upon their experiences without having to justify, explain, or defend the truth of their lived experiences. We pair this body of work with a customized listening and discussion guide to inspire deep introspection, a willingness to transform oneself, and take bold action to end systemic racism. Join us as we take a deeper dive and share the stories behind the secrets, and what happened next. Black Stories Matter supports and is aligned with the mission of Black Lives Matter.

Season 2 Co-hosts:

Dara Lurie

Partnership Outreach Coordinator, Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories.  If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.“

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.


Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader
Pronouns: He/Him/His

“TMI Project allows an exchange to happen. It feeds a deep need to know our own truth, to connect to something real. This is an ancient practice of sharing our stories and it’s perhaps the most revolutionary tool we have at our disposal.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Micah serves as the manager at GWI’s (Good Works Institute) Greenhouse Kingston, a yoga teacher at Mudita, and creator of DAY 1 (a New Year’s Day community event). He is on the board of Wild Earth (a non-profit Wilderness School), Radio Kingston, The Center for Creative Education, and O+ (a nonprofit health and wellness festival for artists and creators). He also serves as City of Kingston’s Art Commissioner at the Kingston Farmers Market.

Hayley Downs
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

In addition to producing The TMI Project Podcast and leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, storyteller and documentary filmmaker. She produced the documentary film Hidden Battles directed by Victoria Mills about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers. She also produced and broadcast edited Naturally Obsessed: the Making of a Scientist, a documentary about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Most recently she produced J.L. Sert: A Nomadic Dream, a Spanish/U.S. co-production directed by Pablo Bujosa.  Her installations and experimental films: Move, Coleslaw Wrestling and Boar Hog, exploring multi-generational Florida folk culture, have shown at underground film festivals including NY, Chicago and SF, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and Art Basel. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Hayley moved to upstate New York from Brooklyn four years ago where she’s focused on writing and her work as a TMI Project Workshop Leader.

Shantae Howell
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Shantae is a creative marketing professional, with experience in PR, digital media and content development. In her main gig at Vox Media, she leads the ideation and promotional strategy for various entertainment, podcast and cause-marketing campaigns. The fruits of her labor range from branded audio content and short films to editorial sponsorships and snackable influencer videos. Prior to joining Vox Media’s creative team, Shantae was at Facebook supporting small businesses’ on-platform marketing campaigns, and executed consumer brand media strategies at Ketchum.

Season 2 Storytellers:

Pronouns: She/Her

Growing up, comedian, community organizer, and activist Jessieca McNabb dealt with conflict the best way she knew how: by fighting. Older and wiser now, Jessieca shares how processing the hurt behind her rage helped her find a new way to deal with conflict…and racist old ladies.

Pronouns: She/Her

Starting from a young age, we all develop unconscious biases from subtle and not-so-subtle messages we pick up from our environment. In this episode, Season 2 Co-host Dara Lurie takes the stage to share how an unexpected “family shipwreck” from her childhood allowed her to catch her own internalized racism before it was too late.

Pronouns: He/Him

Until very recently, the Black community had little in the name of superheroes to look up to – and while Black Panther and Luke Cage have solidified their places in the hearts of millions, perhaps more powerful still are the real-life superheroes whose greatness inspires our own. In this episode, season 2 co-host Micah shares the story of his real-life superhero, his grandmother Blondena Furtick.

Pronouns: She/Her

While the broad effects of COVID-19 continue to impact our wellbeing, many New Yorkers who can afford to consider relocating are moving to neighboring cities like our own, Kingston, New York. As we hear Freedom Walker share her experience of being displaced from Black Harlem, the only place she’d ever lived, we can’t help but wonder how this migration will impact people like her who are already readjusting to a new sense of home. 

Pronouns: She/Her

In our bonus episode, “Reclaiming Our Time,” Victory said, “I carry the color of my skin out into the world with me. I want to understand it more so it can be more of a badge than a burden.” In this episode, Shawaine explains how, after growing up as a confident and proud Black girl in Jamaica, dealing with the whitewashed beauty standards of the US made her Blackness feel like a burden.

Pronouns: He/Him

For many who identify as multiracial, being split between two cultures is cause for some much-needed soul searching. For Kesai, not having any connection with his father or other Black family members made it even harder to understand that part of his identity.

Pronouns: She/Her

Sometimes, the strength to stand up for yourself comes in the form of small bundles of hope. In this episode of The TMI Project Podcast, Season 2: Black Stories Matter, Erica shares how her two children inspired her to finally say “enough” to her abusive partner of 5-years.

Pronouns: She/They

Addiction is a mental health issue – but only if you fit a certain profile. In this episode, Callie reflects on how the racism they faced growing up as a Black person in a white space contributed to years of substance abuse.

Pronouns: Twinkle (she/her) & Ezra (he/him)

This mother-son episode brings together two powerful performances from Twinkle Burke and Ezra Hubbard that explore what being unapologetically Black means to their interracial family.

Pronouns: She/Her

Do you believe in second chances? For Shai Brown, after four years in prison, building a life that she’s proud of is an uphill battle. The trials and tribulations she faces on her road to redemption illustrate why rehabilitation can feel out of reach for those who seek a better path.

Pronouns: He/Him

In this moment of reckoning, we turn to the wisdom of those before us — those who built the community and resources we need to keep moving the needle — people like Odell, a self-proclaimed collector of information and stories. In this episode, we hear the remarkable 70-year journey that led him to build the first two African Roots Libraries, a legacy that inspires us to keep amplifying the stories of underrepresented Black communities across the country.