Michael D. McCarty

Professional Storyteller + Latter Day Griot

About the Artist

My Mother always told me stories. I began telling stories formally when I was in high school in Chicago (St. Ignatius) in the 60’s, stories of Africa and the struggles of African-Americans for freedom. In 1992 I met Joel ben Izzy from Berkeley, CA who was introduced to me as a professional storyteller. “You mean to tell me that people pay you to tell stories!?” I asked. I picked his brain and vowed that I was going to become a professional teller too, and my motto would be “Have mouth. Will run it.” A week or so later I asked myself what would I do as a profession if I was independently wealthy. Tell stories, was my answer.

So I went to my local library and began collecting folk tales from different countries and reading books about storytelling. One day the Young Adult Librarian asked me why I was getting so many books of folk tales and asked if I was writing a paper. When I told him that I was a storyteller he said that he had a group of teenagers that wanted to learn storytelling. Could I give them a workshop? I said sure. The workshop was a success. Thus began my career. And I’ve been running my mouth around the country and around the world ever since.

In 1996 I initiated the GRIOT Workshop in Leimert Park in Los Angeles. This is a place where anyone can come and get assistance in developing their storytelling skills. From 2004 until 2008 I was the Pacific Region Representative for the National Storytelling Network (NSN) Board of Directories.
My life has been one heaven of a story: Student activist, Black Panther, US Army martial arts instructor, acupuncturist, world traveler, spiritual seeker, construction worker, storyteller, husband, father, crazy friend. Never a dull moment! I LOVE my life;-)




Professional Storyteller + Latter Day Griot


Artistic consulting, Classes, Group instruction, Lectures / Lecture-demonstrations, Performances, Private instruction, Workshops

Program Participant

Traditional Arts Development Recipient

Offerings Location

In-person services, Online/remote services









Artist Social Links