Know what I’m ‘TALMBAT’: The importance of storytelling in the world.

Creative Reaction Lab
5 min readOct 31, 2023

“My godmother has also been such a huge source of inspiration. Alot of what I do is also to honor her and her legacy.” — Jasmine Lewis, 2023 Katherine Dunham Fellow

Named in honor of the dancer, choreographer and activist, the Katherine Dunham Fellowship was created and funded by Sara and the late Dr. Jack Burke to give African American individuals an opportunity to explore, gain experience in and be mentored in the field of arts administration and to subsequently find employment and achieve success working at local arts and cultural institutions. As of 2022, Creative Reaction Lab will continue the fellowship’s legacy under the leadership of Antionette D. Carroll, the inaugural Katherine Dunham Fellow.

Each year, Creative Reaction Lab (CRXLAB) selects Black entrepreneurs aged 26 and under to participate in the Katherine Dunham (KD) Fellowship.

Jasmine Lewis, along with Halee Pratcher, were selected as two of this year’s Katherine Dunham Fellows. Over the course of their Summer internship their responsibilities ranged from developing scripts for CRXLAB supplemental educational/awareness building animated video(s) to supporting the design and facilitation of institutional and community-facing youth programming and training.

CRXLAB team member got a chance to chat with Katherine Dunham (KD) Fellow, Jasmine Lewis, about her ventures during her participation as a fellow.

Jasmine Lewis 2023 Katherine Dunham Fellow

CRXLAB Staff: How did you get involved with becoming a KD fellow?

Jasmine Lewis: I had been following CRXLAB for a while and just admiring your work and seeing all of the different amazing projects that you have been putting forward. And then I saw the opportunity for the KD Fellowship, on an Instagram announcement. I was like, Oh my gosh, let me go ahead and apply and plan for it. And I was so grateful when I got called back for an interview and then later on being offered the position. I felt like it was such a full circle moment.

CRXLAB Staff: What were your takeaways from be a KD Fellow?

Jasmine Lewis: Halee and I’s major project was the animated videos for the Artwork for Equity campaigns and I feel like that was a really special and unique opportunity because neither one of us are experienced in writing scripts even though I’m a writer, and she’s a visual storyteller. It was exciting to collaborate on that and also to do something completely different from what we’re normally used to.

I also really appreciate the one on one conversation I had with Antionette Carroll. Not all opportunities like fellowships and internships has the person who’s the head of it, have a one on one conversation with you. I appreciated that more personable aspect of it. Meeting Ms. Sarah Burke was also amazing and her telling me how important the work that I was doing inside and outside of Creative Reaction Lab was. Ms. Burke also said she feels like Ms. Dunham would have loved me. And I was like, that’s so sweet. So I just really love the community that I was surrounded by and supported by.

Jasmine Lewis was voted as one of this year’s winners and will receive a grant for her storytelling platform TALMBAT. Let’s continue the conversation about the things she has in store for the future!

CRXLAB Staff: What exactly is TALMBAT and how did you get started?

Jasmine Lewis: TALMBAT is a storytelling collective. It was around 2020 when I really started thinking about community and stories, especially because we were existing during a time when we were so isolated. Then fast forward to 2021, I was like, Okay, well, it would be cool if I could make this into like, a community oasis or magazine.

I finally decided that community building will be the structure of TALMBAT. I feel like the best thing for TALMBAT is it being a multimedia platform and community oasis for people who are underrepresented meaning black, Indigenous and People of Color women and non binary people, the LGBTQIA+ community, the community of people with differing abilities, and people who might live in regions where they don’t have access to storytelling materials.

CRXLAB Staff: Has TALMBAT always been something that you’ve thought of?

Jasmine Lewis: Not this exact vision, but I’ve always been passionate about community, which is why I feel like I really immerse myself in spaces where that’s a priority.

When I was a senior in high school, I brought the club program to my school. I was able to find an advisor pretty quickly. Creating that club and recruiting members for it was cool, because all of my friends were also in it. Having this space where we could just meet after school, do projects like making activity books for the local children’s hospital, and have documentary watch parties about different issues that we were passionate about felt really special.

CRXLAB Staff: CRXLAB celebrates you, Jasmine and we can’t wait to see you do your work in the best way possible.

Jasmine Lewis: I just want to share the exciting news with you that I am a 2023 Generation Future Award Winner! I am so, deeply honored; and so incredibly grateful for you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for voting. Thank you for posting and advocating for me on CRXLAB socials. Your support means the world to me, and I am so thankful to know you and experience who you are as a human being.

So excited for what’s to come, to celebrate the other winners — Ananya and Maskim — at the Generation Futures Ball next month, and for the future of TALMBAT (click here to read the DoSomething editorial interview and click here to view DoSomething’s Instagram announcement)!

Always know that I am also cheering you on, and am so grateful for your amazing work — remember to celebrate yourself!

Interested in becoming a Katherine Dunham Fellow? Be sure to subscribe to the Creative Reaction Lab newsletter where you’ll receive quarterly updates and opportunities!

Creative Reaction Lab would like to thank and congratulate Jasmine for all she does! Be sure to subscribe to the TALMBAT website HERE!



Creative Reaction Lab

At Creative Reaction Lab, we believe that Black and Latinx youth are integral to advancing racial equity and developing interventions for their communities.