A British Podcast Host on a Mission to Build a Better UK, World
Tevin Kittoe Hosts 1000 Voices to Feature Black British Changemakers
Devin: What do you see as your superpower?
Tevin: What I would say is empathy. I’d probably say I feel that I’m an empathetic person.
“My personal mission is literally to build a better world for us all,” says British podcast host Tevin Kittoe. “1000 Voices is an avenue that I’m using right now.”
Tevin’s goal is to feature 1,000 Black British changemakers on the show.
Reminding me that the people he wants to highlight are not homogenous, he said:
I'm trying to make it as diverse as possible. So to get people from all sorts of different backgrounds, people in all different industries, from all different growing up in different asset areas, their from class or social standing—very diverse people to come and to tell their stories of change.
He wants to give them a place to “come and talk about how they’re driving change in their places of work, how they’re driving change in their business, how they drive and change in their communities and so forth.”
While the goal is to host 1,000 Black Britons, his vision is to “build a more equitable and better UK and a better world for us all.” He says, “I’m a strong, strong believer that until every group, every marginalized group is good, nobody really is good.”
Tevin highlights some of the racial disparities in Brittain—which may sound familiar to Americans. Maternal mortality, he notes, is four or five times worse for Black women in the UK. Black children are more likely to be excluded from school; police tactics feature racial disparities, and criminal sentencing for Black Britons is disproportionate for similar crimes.
Tevin is proud of the guests he’s featured, including Jamelia, a famous singer in the UK. He recapped the highlights of the interview:
I usually try and encourage people to do is to come and just keep it real and to be as normal as they feel comfortable being. And in that interview, she was so, so open. I loved it because you get to see a different side of someone. You see her on TV singing and doing what she's doing, but you don't always necessarily get to see what she's like behind the cameras, what she's like in her own personal life.
That was so good because she really, really opened up and we spoke about some challenges that she's been through in her personal life. We spoke about her music journey, some of the highlights, some of the low points. Definitely a very memorable conversation.
He also featured Natalie Campbell, the founder and CEO of Belu Water, a social enterprise selling filtered, flavored and sparkling waters with a social mission built around three Sustainable Development Goals.
Of Natalie, Tevin says, “She has this very, very sort of dogged sense of self-belief, this really, really strong sense of I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
As we recorded this episode last month, Tevin had published 42 interviews. “One common denominator between all of them is that they’re vulnerable to some degree. They open up, and they share pieces from their own story.”
Tevin explains why he sees vulnerability as a superpower:
Most people kind of be vulnerable to friends and family around them, let alone to the whole world put out on social media. But I've found that it's a superpower in some way, shape or form.
It's so inspiring to hear someone really talk about what's going on in the deepest crevices of their heart, what's been going on in the deepest depths of their mind, the crazy dark thoughts that they've had, how they've overcome, if they've even overcome it, they're still battling against it. But through all of that, how they're driving change through their work and incredibly inspiring from a load of people, I've spoken to.
As an effective podcast host, he leverages his superpower: empathy.
How to Develop Empathy As a Superpower
Tevin reflected on an experience where he engaged his empathy on a genuinely personal level:
I remember one time that I was with, well, my wife and I were—back there, my girlfriend—and we were out in Oxford Street. So south central London, if you listen and you know London very well.
There was a woman who came up to me and asked me—what she asked me for, I can't remember. She asked me for something. I can't remember. But we struck up a little conversation. She didn't look very well. I try not to judge a book by its cover. I don't really like doing that. But you could tell she was something was off with her. She was troubled in some way, shape or form, but we struck up a conversation.
Then I just came to realize that she had moved over to the UK not long ago, had been lied to. She thought she was coming to work instead she was just being lied to. She's homeless, and she's got children, which I thought was nuts.
So, I remember we took her to a shop, we got some food bought, gave her a little money so she can buy some clothes for her children, and then just try to give her some numbers she could call this number. She had a phone. “Call this number, call them. They'll be able to help you.”
Tevin helped a woman countless people had ignored that day. He engaged his empathy.
He says, “it can be learned.”
“The first step is just education and learning more about other groups of people outside of your own circle,” Tevin says. “I think it’s a dangerous thing to only hang around and talk to people who look like you, who come from the same background as you, and just have the exact same shared experiences as you.”
“Be curious. Find out more about everything in this big, vast world that we live in,” he says.
By following Tevin’s example and advice, you can make empathy a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.