Reggie Yates Reveals The Secret To Staying Driven & Reaching Your Potential | E90 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Reggie Yates Reveals The Secret To Staying Driven & Reaching Your Potential | E90".
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Regiates. He's a critically acclaimed filmmaker, a writer, a director, and an entrepreneur. - First time I saw a machine gun was in my estate at like nine years old when the police were raiding a flat on my floor because there was all kinds of craziness there. And when you're just playing on the balcony, as a teenager presenting kids TV with Air Force Ones and the mecca tracks, it says something. I'm on the BBC and I'm dressed like the boys that you crossed the street from. Subsequently, you know, I've had kids come up to me, bro, I loved watching you because we dressed the same, we taught the same, and you were doing that. And when people say things like that to strangers, it's so powerful. For me, empowering others is a huge part of my drive right now. Working with young, talented people. And I love that I have that relationship with people 'cause I never had it growing up. There was always a distance between me and the person that was helping guide me. Shortening that distance, for me, in the lives of others, is what success feels like. Reggie Yates. He's a critically acclaimed filmmaker, a writer, a director, and an entrepreneur. And over the last three decades, he's been on our screens. And through that time, the world has changed. The platforms have changed. And he has certainly changed. He's been involved in scandals, wild success, and unfortunate failure. Reggie's work as a filmmaker is extraordinarily diverse. And he's traveled across the world, meeting those that have oppressed and those that have been oppressed. And this conversation is the same, incredibly diverse. We'll touch on everything from love, relationships, struggles, family, mental health, ambition, cancel culture, and everything in between. Thank you, Reggie. Thank you for your honesty, because I know that the people that are about to listen to this podcast are gonna take a tremendous amount of important value from it. So without further ado, I'm Steven Bartlett. And this is the DiRever CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this to yourself. Reggie, location, environment, family.
Personal Journey And Reflections
Where do you come from? (02:13)
Where do you come from? I am the child of African immigrants. Both my parents were born in Ghana and came to London as children. I was born on Tottenham Court Road. So London, London, London. And I was raised in Holloway. I moved to South East London when I was 14 and 18. I moved out and I've been in London ever since. And I say that because I've lived all over. London's quite a tribal city between football and the club you support and the area that you're from and your connection to it. I've lived all over and I call South London home now, even though I didn't start there and I didn't school there really. But I love it there and it's nice to return to the place that I spent a chunk of my teens. So two parents from African, from Ghana. Correct. Ghana. They came here when they were. My mother 11, I think my dad was maybe 15 or 16. So tell me all about that and that experience because I know that in terms of like education and perspective on the world and all those things. From my own mom's experience, she couldn't read or write. So we had a ton of wars growing up because I dropped out of university after one lecture. So we didn't speak for three years. I know that African parents have a certain perspective and I know, especially from reading about how you've handled things like fame, press, drugs, alcohol and the avoidance of all of those things. I know, I feel like much of that must have come from those kind of values. Yeah, I'd say it's a combination of things. It's a combination of the mentors that I chose, the environment that I was in at home. And that massively comes down to culture. And that's why I was really interested in your connection to Nigeria because culturally, for me, where my parents are from has informed massively in a lot of ways my outlook. And culturally, obviously, when you've got West Africa parents who were born there, you're raised in an environment where education is everything because as far as they're aware, that is the only way to unlock another life for yourself. My grandparents came to this country in search of a better life, not just themselves, but their children and ultimately us, their grandchildren. And it worked. My mum got an education. I got an education to a point and, weirdly, my social education and my extracurricular activities have given me a career. So, more than anything, I think it's the values of an African house that have given me what I believe to be a healthy life. And I mean, in every sense of the word, people talk to me a lot about being grounded and understanding what being humble is. And I think when you've come from nothing, but at the same time, you enjoy everything, it changed your perspective on what success looks like. And that was the house that I was raised in. We celebrated every day because we essentially were striving to be happy and happiness didn't come from material goods. It came from success and achievement on a level that made everybody in the house proud as opposed to what was going on outside the family home, because culture was everything. - And do you still feel that? And did you ever fully believe that happiness would come from success and achievement? Do you still deeply believe that? - For me, happiness comes from being fulfilled, I think. At my most happiest and my most calm, I feel like I'm able to love and I feel loved. I feel as though I am professionally and personally fulfilled. I feel as though I'm creatively fulfilled. There are the moments when I feel my most happy and they're the things that I'm chasing, if ever I was chasing anything. - And what was the kind of difference between your mum and your dad? My mum was Nigerian. - Yeah. - I don't really have to say what my mum was Nigerian. My dad was the antithesis of that. My dad was a older, white male, very passive, very, very calm. He usually doesn't speak. - Wow. - And my mum was, she can shout for seven hours at a tone you've never heard in your life without taking a breath. - Amazing. - So was there a huge difference between the values or the approach of your mum and your dad that had a significant? - Well, my dad's a musician was, is and continues to be, but he wasn't in my life. My parents divorced when I was quite young and then my mother remarried a, another guy near a man who was also from a similar background. And in terms of who they are/were as people, it's very different. I think I get a lot of what makes me me from my mum. My mum was incredibly social. She loved music. I've spoken about this before. She used to always cook with this Sony ghetto blaster above the cooker. And it's West Africa Dean, so you're using a lot of palm oil. So there was like, the ghetto blaster, so like clear in my mind, it's just covered with red oil. And like there was no cover on the tape, so you used to have to push a tape in. And there was like marks on it as to where her favorite radio stations were. So I was raising a diet of pirate radio pop. And that was my mum. She's a vivacious big social animal. Like I remember her 30th birthday because you know, she had us quite young and her just went with a fag out the wind. Like having a little dance or whatever and like turning up her favorite records. And my stepfather is not that, you know, he's not particularly social and he's quite different. His dad was in the military. So he was, I imagine, not that dissimilar to your mother, it sounds like. So there were two very different types of parenting in my house. And as I say, my biological dad wasn't present. And ironically, we're probably really similar given our expression through creativity. - Have you ever reconnected with him? - Yeah. So I did who do you think you are? - Oh. - The BBC One show. - Yeah. - And it's really interesting because they, they've started carving up episodes of the show and putting them on YouTube. And they chunked my episode into four parts. And on my father's side of the family, my biological father, they've been mixing for generations. You know, like three of my grandmothers and Mariah Carey Black, you know, like they're super, super fair because there's been generations of people that are of mixed origin. And with Ghana previously being part of the British Empire and being part of the Commonwealth and Ghana Finding Independence in 1957, there was a huge English contingent, particularly in a round place like Cape Coast when it came to trading, when it came to gold, et cetera. And that's part of my family legacy massively. So, you know, my mum was bitterly disappointed after they did the research and realized that her family background, which was just one village versus my bedside, which was lots of different people from different places in Europe coming to Africa and mixing and so on and so forth. So when we made that show, I realized that they wanted to start the show with a conversation between he and I, talking about the family, and I hadn't seen him or spoken to him in over a decade. So we met up just before we recorded and it was weird 'cause I hadn't seen him in so long. And then when we did record, it's interesting, like the film starts with the sequence, with he and I sort of chatting and he's playing thumb piano, but the last time we saw each other was the day before, but prior to that, I was a lot younger. So, yeah, I was a teenager the last time I'd seen him. So, I don't know, I don't really have any bitterness towards the man because I understand him a lot better now as I've grown. And as your friends become fathers, you sort of start to identify just how many people are actually naturally equipped with fatherhood and not everyone is. And unfortunately, my father just didn't seem to be one of those guys. - One of the things I gotta be honest, I worry about with my own experience with my parents is that there are slightly toxic traits that they have. And I think this is the case with all humans, but my parents are humans too, that I'm concerned I will pass on, like with generational cycles. And I think the less aware I am of those things, the more they stand a chance of like showing up at some point and running the show, when it matters the most. Do you have those fears? Have you ever had that? - I had those fears, I don't have them anymore. - Okay. And the reason I don't have them anymore is because I recognize that, you know, I define my present and my future, my past, I have no control over, but who I am today and who I will become is down to me. And that also is massively dependent on my understanding of my childhood trauma, of the things that, if unchecked, could define me. So I've always been desperate to define myself, even when I didn't realize that I was doing it. So, you know, growing up in a council estate, up the road from here in Holloway, and having friends who have exactly the same set up at home, you know, before my mother met my stepfather, we were a single parent household on benefits, my mom did whatever she could to, you know, feed the family and move us forward. And that was the same for all the other boys on the estate. So if I was hanging out with Corey or Tyrone or whoever, their house felt like mine. And I was determined to not be defined by the things that we were being taught to normalize, you know? And as a result, I just have decided that that's not the life that I'm gonna have. And my children won't, God, will and I have. - Yeah. You are, when you look at your career, you are a tremendous outlier in terms of the journey you've taken and what you're doing now. - That's very kind, thank you. - And then you trace it back and go, you've came from a council estate, not too far from here. For you to have gone on that journey and achieved the things you have, I always think there must have been certain factors in those early years that made you take a different course to those friends that might still be on the estate now. It might have been, you know, we talked a little bit about values there. It might have been, you know, I don't know, something someone said to you and experienced you had or just the conditioning, whatever it is, but my question is, do you know what those factors were that made you an outlier? - I mean, you sound as though you've done a lot of work on yourself and in the little bit that I know about you.
What factors made you break out of your environment (12:20)
- This is it, I get to meet people and ask, so I learn so much from these kinds of answers. - Right, and I've made documentaries for over 10 years. So it's the same thing, you know, you learn so much from your environment if you're willing to drink in the information. And I just, in thinking about between therapy and also being present in moments like this, you know, yes, there are cameras, but I'm having a conversation with you and I'm learning from you. And that certainly was the case in 10 years of making films, you know, for the BBC. So when it sort of comes to me looking at how I've become the person that I am and how my journey has played out the way that it has done, it's an amalgamation of different moments and instances, but fundamentally it comes down to a desire, even as a kid, to understand and be aware. And it's progressed into this idea of being present and understanding the moment that you're in and why you were there and taking as much from the moment as possible. So as a child, I would always ask questions and I was far too aware of my environment for my own good. So for instance, I'll never sort of forget going to my friend Kieran's, oh no, yeah, it was Kieran Buckley's house. I went to Kieran Buckley's house in Barnsbury and my mum was very protected so she wouldn't let me play at friend's homes. I know you know how that goes. And I went to Kieran's and I was in the garden and he had this massive, massive, beautiful, Islington garden with several trees in it. And I asked him, how come you got a park at the back of your house? And his mother sort of overheard and laughed a bit and it stayed with me. And he's like, it's not parks my garden, what are you talking about? Come on, freaking in, you're in Gold Bay. And then you play this game, you don't think about it. And then I remember going back to my council state and looking at the one tree that me and Cora used to climb and think, I don't have what he has, why is that? And then you start to think about these things and then start to understand class and where you are. And even so far as the area, you know, I started to really recognize the power of my walk to school, even as a kid, before I got to secondary school, I was like, this is really weird. Like I live in a borough, Islington in North London, that has everything from council states with immigrants and white working class, right the way through to multi-million pound houses. And I lived on a row called Liverpool Road, which is such an important road that I haven't only become aware of how important that road is to my journey in recent years. So I lived at the Holloway End of Liverpool Road. And Liverpool had a long road that runs through Islington and at the other end is Angel. An Angel gentrified years before Holloway. The Holloway is a very different place now. And they had a weight-tros, they had a Sainsbury's and you had these gorgeous massive townhouses. And, you know, if you deviated off Liverpool Road, you'd be in Barnsbury and there were these beautiful little villagey roads. And Holloway was where the people that I grew up around and you had these estates, you had every kind of madness you can imagine happening on my estate. Like I remember my first time I saw a machine gun was in my estate at like nine years old when the police were raiding a flat on my floor because there was all kinds of craziness there. And you're just playing on the balcony, on your estate, on the floor that you live on. And you've got armed police there, you know, let alone the other times that you see other weapons or you see other things happen. And those walks that I would go on where I would be like, wow, the bit that I live in versus the bit that I'm walking through versus the bit that I'm going to to go to school. I know what bit I want to live on. So I better start thinking about how I'm going to get to that bit of the road. - It's so fascinating you'd say that it took me and my head back to my own experiences being a kid and this really vivid memory I have when dev looking up at the sky and seeing a plane and then looking down at my street and thinking, I wonder if all of these fam, this is what they wanted from their life. And then the plane for me was the juxtaposition between a family going on holiday. I'd never been on, like other than coming from Africa, we'd never been on holiday. So I was thinking, oh my God, people are going on holiday. And then I look down at my street and I look up again and I see this plane. And a lot of people will have that, but it takes a different mind to then think, I want to be on the plane. I want to be at the other end of Liverpool street. But then also I have some idea about how to get there. Maybe you didn't have an idea about how to get there, but maybe just the, I mean, don't if you believe in that manifestation, just that I want to be there. So I'm going to make decisions over the next 10 years in that direction. - Right, well my journey is super weird, right? Because from the age of eight, I was a working hector. So I was constantly reminded about my difference just by being present and by being aware, even as a child. So it didn't take much for me to realize you're not like your friends, Reg, because you're currently working while they're at school and you've been allowed time off school to work. So straight away, you're like, okay, I'm a bit different. And this is a bit of a weird situation to be in. And then you look around and there's 100 people on set and you're the only black person, both in front of all behind the camera. And you go, okay, well, I'm not like any of these people here and the conversations that you hear about what people did on the weekend or where they're going there even or even conversations about wine. Like little things that people take for granted culturally, nobody drinking wine in my house. You know what I mean? Like Shalur was a big deal, you know? Going to Sainsbury's was a big deal. Like we used to walk to Dalston with backpacks to go and buy meat and tin tomatoes and carry them back 'cause we never had a car. - What does that do to you though? When you're on set, everyone else is a different skin color and they're talking about things that you're not familiar with in terms of like, let's be honest, like class, right? - Absolutely. - What does that do to you and does it put a chip on your shoulder? Does it make you, I'm more ambitious? Does it make you think, fuck, I'm out of place, I'm an imposter. - Yeah, well, it could have put a chip on my shoulder and I'm incredibly thankful that it didn't. What it did do was make me so hungry to create an environment where I could feel comfortable. And what that progressed into was understanding that it's going to take me a while to get to the point that I'd like to be at. Therefore, it would become my responsibility to create that for someone else, to create that for another eight year old me or 15 year old me. And I feel incredibly proud that I'm able to do that now because I recognize the power of it. And regardless of those moments of feeling out of place or being sort of feeling as though, you know, your class is being waved in your face. Like I told this story the other day to a friend of mine who's, I'm got father to his child. It's one of my good, good, good friends. Sam Wilkinson is a director who I made a lot of my documentaries with. And he's got my gorgeous little godson in his hands, little teddy and witch hat in a way. And I was telling a story about being at this primary school in Isla and where you've got kids from estates and kids from quite affluent homes all in the same school. And at lunchtime, you had these kids with Thundercats lunchboxes and these incredible sandwiches and KitKat minis, all the things that I never had in my house, you know. You're sort of looking at Timfall that hasn't been used 50 times and you're like, oh my God, they're throwing the Timfall in the bin? What the hell? What the hell is going on? They're not being made to fold and put it back 'cause you could use it for dinner tomorrow. Anyway, so you're like taking all of that in and every lunchtime, I'll never forget Pat, God bless her. The head dinner lady, it's big lady, big lady, would walk out and she'd go, "Free school dinners!" And all the kids that were on free school dinners used to have to stand up and go and get your food. And it sort of broke you a little bit as a kid because your mates were just a bit like, "Oh God, can you imagine?" And I told this story to Sam and he started crying. And Sam started crying, I think, not because, well, I think he felt a little sad for Little Minnie Me, but he also, as a father, imagined his son in that position. And I'm sure we'll get onto family and fatherhood and stuff, but I realized how much fatherhood has softened a lot of my friends and also has made me very sort of cognizant of my journey and also just how important my childhood was in shaping where I've become. - And when you were there, when you were in school, when you were eight years old and working and acting, what were your dreams for the future and how big were they?
What were your dreams for the future? (20:35)
Could you, what was that internal monologue saying that the end of Reggie's story would look like? - I don't know what it looks like now. And then I never had any sort of desire to create it or paint it. I just knew that it was fun and I enjoyed it and I didn't quite understand why I was getting paid to do it. - Really? - I just didn't get it 'cause it was like, you mean I get off school and I get to play make believe with people that I've seen on Telly and you're gonna pay me for that. But I remember my mom open in a bank account for me because I did a job and this money started coming in and suddenly you've got tens of thousands of pounds and you're accounting, you're not even in secondary school yet. And it's like, hang on, this is crazy because mom's desperately trying to save to put this on the table or to make that happen. And I'm getting to do something that's fun and it's paying me really well and I get to do it with Steve and Brian Hugh Laurie. - That there though, for me speaks to a really critically important part of like success, which is at a very, very young age, you got to see behind a curtain and the curtain was, in my view, just from here what you said, I can do something that I actually like and people will pay me for it. And I imagine most kids from that estate, all they'll ever get to see is you work in the factory or whatever, you have to hate your work and you get paid fuck or for it. That's what, you know. - Well, it's interesting you said it because you've actually weirdly picked up on a really interesting point because something happened on set in a moment of realization even as a child that only came back into my head, popped back into my head a few years ago and I recognized how important it was and actually put it in my book. And that was work to me based on my grandparents and my mother was something that you hated. My grandmother worked the buses, she was a cleaner, she did all sorts of stuff, she was a cook for London Underground at one point and it wasn't London Bus at one at the two. My grandfather had two jobs. At night he was a security guard and some random factory in Kings Cross and during the day he was a mathematics professor at a university. You know, this is an incredibly educated man but because he wanted to build a home in Ghana and he wanted to look after everyone, he literally worked with how was the God would send. So whenever anyone spoke about work, they hated it. And then the first job that I ever got as an actor when I was eight years old was Desmond's which for anyone that has seen it will know like retrospectively how important that show was. For those that don't know what it is, Desmond's, I believe his channel for his longest running sitcom and it's not on TV anymore and it hasn't been on for years but Desmond's was about a black family in Peckham who owned a barbershop and it was a comedy about black life and just about life and because it was so human even though it was massively flavored by this Caribbean family, people loved it and it was massive and it ran for I think seven seasons, right? So the first audition I go for is Desmond's and I remember going to Humphrey Bartlett. I think it was named a production company in Kentish town and we went up to their production office and my mum was excited. She was prepping me on her little cards like to get my lines down and everything and I got the job and then I had this random moment that when I think back it's crazy for me as a kid to have made this realization, I had this realization and that was, I was on set surrounded by people that looked like me and my family, you know, you had Shirley who was the matriarch of the family, who actually looked at my grand. You had Norman who played Desmond who was like the super funny old guy and my granddad was this funny old guy that used to make inappropriate jokes all the time and all the makeup artists were black and they would give me little bald sweets and everybody was just so fun to be around. I was just surrounded by this blackness but in a professional setting and everyone was at work and they were having a great time. And something went off in my head and I was like, wait, hang on a second, maybe what I've seen in my family and their relationship with work doesn't apply to everyone because these people look like my family and they're having a great time. So what would it be like if I did that for me? - And that's exactly it. And a lot of people don't realize that and that's why I referred to it as, you got to look behind the curtain. And once you see it, you can't unsee it. Once you make that connection, that you can love your work and it can be in line with your passions. I mean, right now, the stuff you're doing in your career seems to be perfectly in line with your interests. And I've heard about, at one point, you were doing work in music and you were interviewing pop stars and you're asking them questions you didn't want to ask them. And it feels like you've really got closer and closer and closer and closer to doing work that's intrinsically fulfilling as the years have gone. A lot of people don't realize that, Reggie, and they don't ever get to see behind that curtain. So what would you say to those people who have the dreams, but they've always believed that work is a nine to five thing, it's a chore. It's something you do to fund your passion or your free time. - Well, it's really difficult in this era because there are so many experts on social media or on YouTube who are releasing books or whatever. There's a ton of people who haven't had any life experience which is why people like you, I think, are so important and I'm not blowing smoke in. You're having incredibly important conversations off the back of living a life and doing something and you're still so young. You have earned the right to say, this is what I think and feel and I'm willing to share it. And you continue to learn on camera. Making documentaries is a huge part of me learning on camera and learning with my audience. And I'm sure that you can attest to this. There's something incredibly powerful about saying, I don't know, but I want to learn. And when you do that and it's documented and recorded, people come along with you, you know? And in this moment, there are so many people that just see the end result that want to be Gary Vee or want to shout advice and be the tough love guy. And there is merit in that. And I think that for a lot of young men particularly, you can look at some of that, I'll use Gary Vee as an example. I think he's fantastic in some of the things that he does and the way in which he delivers a message because some people need to hear it. Similarly on the other side, a book like The Secret, for instance, if you don't have people constantly reminding you of things like some of the messages that are in The Secret, you might need to turn to a book that has them all in one place, you know? And I think it's incredibly difficult for people to be honest with themselves about what they're capable of without willing to do the work. And so many people want the end result, but don't respect or understand the value in the journey. And we live in a microwave era where everything happens overnight and people come up and come down from social media stars to reality TV stars or whatever. And it just, it breaks my heart that nobody's willing to just look back a little bit and see that everything that they're doing has happened before and it all ends in one way. And without sort of rattling on about it or anything, I had a conversation recently where I realized how fortunate I've been to have been around for so long because I've had a career for over 30 years now. And I've seen the cycle play out over and over and over again. So like being 12 years old and interviewing the Spice Girls and thinking, oh my God, this is the most amazing, exciting thing ever. And then seeing their peak, 'cause you know, I interviewed them for Wannabee, then you see their peak and then you see the movie and you see them on packets of walkers, crisps. And then you see the fallout and then you get to where you are today and you see how that has played out. But that's sort of like a bigger arc, but you could go even smaller, you know, in the boy band era. You name them, I interviewed them from Backstreet Boys to five over here to whoever. I met them when they were new and excited then I met them when they were arrogant and horrible. And then you meet them when everything isn't happening anymore and they've got that album that no one wants to buy. You see the cycle happen over and over again. Today it's reality TV starts. Only the cycle isn't three albums. If you're lucky, it's three years. If you're lucky, it's three years. Sometimes it's three months. They do love Ireland twice a year now. You don't get to a million followers before there's a new sexy EU on the show, you know? And what does that take to, I guess, in some degrees, to reinvent yourself through as the world changes, as platforms change, to stay relevant, to, you know, what does that take? - I have no desire to remain relevant. I don't care. I will just continue to follow my passions. And I recognized the power of platform when I was 18 when some random kids mom stopped me on the street and said, "You're a role model for my son." And I hated F for it. And then I realized I have no choice in the matter. And the minute I realized that, regardless of how I feel, people are gonna look at me because I have a platform, I understood the power of that platform. And that started a thinking process that made me desperate to get out of entertainment and get into documentary because I felt as though, with that amount of eyeballs, I should have something to say. And that's why I think documentaries have naturally led onto me becoming a writer, director, a filmmaker and using art to actually say something and everything that I do now speaks to my purpose. - Quick one. So many of you who are joining the Hule family and becoming a Hule again as we call it and starting your Hule journey, ask me what my favorite flavors are. And I've been quite, I guess, contradictory in the podcast historically because as Hule introduced new products, I get new favorite flavors. And so here in front of me, if you're watching this online on YouTube, you'll see my favorite three products that I literally can't imagine living without at the moment. So you have the berry flavor ready to drink, which was my original favorite. I have that for convenience. That then was replaced by the banana flavor, which is my favorite. And now, and so that's foot convenience day today, my favorite flavor as it relates to my gym fitness regime is the salted caramel powder, super low in calories, all of your vitamins and minerals, and 20 grams of protein in 100 calories, which is outstanding. So these are my favorite three products. If you're going to try Hule and you've got the same palette as me, stop here, that's my advice. That journey you've described over 30 odd years and the cycles and the staying, being at a point now where you can still do what you want on a big platform, there must have been a ton of failure through that journey.
The key moments of failure in your life (31:13)
And people don't talk about that because that doesn't make for good Instagram posts typically, the day you get rejected from the audition or whatever. What are some of the critical moments in your journey where you encountered failure or rejection and you had that sort of mental conversation with yourself to figure out what the hell this means and what we do next? - I have done a lot of therapy and I'm really thankful for it. I started in my 20s and now in my late 30s, I understand the importance of getting to know your shadow. And my current therapist I've been with for a while now is an incredible human being who has given me new tools for the tool belt. I'm using the language now. - And of course. - I'm using the language. And just some of the things that he's given me have really helped me to understand me at my worst. And one of the big triggers for me is when my character is questioned. And I've always struggled with the idea of people getting me wrong or thinking that my intentions aren't pure. And I had a situation a few years ago now where I said something publicly that offended a lot of people. And my argument was, no, no, but I didn't mean that. I didn't mean that. And what I came to realize was, your intentions mean nothing if you hurt people. And in sitting with the community that I offended deeply, which breaks my heart because my first ever mentor Anna Sheer gave me my career in television. It's from that same community as well. And I have learned so much about that community and that faith. And I felt as though I let so many people down and in having those conversations and understanding that, bro, it's not actually about you. It's about knowing the power of your platform, understanding that you have a responsibility when you open your mouth because you've worked so long that people listen to you now, bro. And respecting the fact that regardless of what your intention is, if you hurt people, you have to behave accordingly. And that was a huge moment of failure for me that I have learned so much from and that I am proud of the lessons that came from it. And those lessons, I think, have set me up in such a way that I'm excited about my future because regardless of everything that I've done, I feel as though I'm only really getting started now. And everything that has happened feels like practice in a way. - So I'm gonna ask these questions because I'm scared that at some point I'm on Dragon's Den now. I have a podcast where I speak my mind and I'm gonna say some shit at some point. I've said to my team before, I'm like, "I know at some point I'm gonna say some shit "that is gonna get me in trouble. "Something that I didn't mean or something off the cuff," or whatever, when I say didn't mean again to your point, it doesn't necessarily matter. But if I meant it or not, or what my intentions were, but can you talk to me? And we're kinda talking about like cancel culture here. We're talking about someone that has a platform that's speaking their mind that is using words in various ways. So you're referencing there, there were some comments made, there was an uproar within the Jewish community. What was your mental journey from the second, you said those comments to where you are now? Can you give me like a little bit of the journey of like, you see the uproar, is the initial feeling of like, "You don't get me, that's not what I meant." Absolutely, yeah. And then there's, is there anger there? Is there this, and then you get-- No, there's no anger, it's just disappointment because you know better. It feels as though it's the biggest thing that's happening anywhere in the world to anyone. And it really isn't. But the bottom line is that you have caused offense to people that you care about, you have working relationships with people and so on and so forth. And there's a lot of vanity that kicks in, hence me saying what I said about, you know, you feeling that it's the biggest thing because suddenly your entire world is made up of people who are either disappointed or let down or angry with you and rightly so. And you just have to sit in it. You just have to sit in it and make those difficult phone calls and also be willing to learn and understand that you were wrong. And I think when you are at your core, a good person, which I believe I am, when someone tells you you're not, oh, it's really difficult to get your head around. But leaning into that, and like I said, getting to know your shadow, understanding why that's such a trigger, understanding what that is setting off for you in terms of things that may have happened in the past, et cetera, it's a process that you kind of have to go through that gets really, really dark and difficult and then you come out the other side saying, okay, I'm proud of that dent. Like, I'll never forget it actually. And this is a horrible clang name drop, but Daniel Kalua said to me that, actually off the bat, he and I had a conversation about this whole situation and he said, bro, there's a reason that golf balls have dense in them. And I was like, what do you mean? He said, well, you know, golf balls with dense go further. And I was like, I'm gonna steal that. And Kalua was so right, you know, I learned so much in that situation that it weirdly strengthened my relationships with a lot of people from that community. And also my knowledge is better and my knowledge of self is better in terms of how I manage myself in complicated moments. - This idea of the shadow, getting to know your shadow, I find that so fascinating. - It's good stuff, innit? - Yeah. - It's really good. - I had that expression before. - Yeah, well, I wish I came up with it, but I'm gonna pretend I did. But it's just knowing, it's knowing what your triggers are, knowing yourself at your worst and being comfortable with it. You know, I can proudly say that I can't, there's very little that could happen to me now that I don't have something in place to help me navigate it, you know? - I mean, so I've been having this conversation with one of my best friends.
Getting to know your shadow (37:22)
And he's, I'm gonna say the context, 'cause I think, 'cause you've been through the therapy, maybe you can offer some advice. He was saying to me the other day that he is so easily triggered in the moment by certain things. He thinks it's because he used to get bullied when he was younger on the playground. But for example, if someone was to quite say that he was wrong or present evidence which proved he was wrong, or his romantic partner, who he's currently with, were to get in a little bit of a tip with him, it's kind of like this red mist, and he can't control it. And then 10 minutes later, he'll go, I don't know why I do that. - Yeah, yeah. - How did you find out what those triggers were? And you said you've got something in place to deal with it. - What is that? 'Cause he was like in the moment when I sat with my girlfriend at dinner, and the trigger goes, if I walk off that storming off, if I go silent, that's sulking. So what the fuck am I supposed to do? - Yeah, well, it's gonna sound ridiculous, but listening is really difficult when you feel as though you're being challenged. And nine times out of 10, any conflict that I've ever had hasn't actually been about me. So to have the resolve to shut the fuck up and listen, sometimes allows you to get through the things that are triggering or annoying, or make you angry or frustrating, and get to the heart of what's actually being said and why. And then when you get to that, it just becomes so much easier because most of the time it's not actually about you. Maybe something you've said or done is triggering to the person that you really care about. You're sitting at a place across the table from you. And if you're willing to get beyond the fact that they're saying something, that in the moment makes you angry, you can actually move forward together in a way that just didn't exist before. - The thing that's jumping in, and it's commanding your brain to try and win, or to go for victory or self-defense though. That can come from the playground, that can come from a comment your dad made to you when you were four or whatever. So especially if you're someone who has come from nothing and has succeeded, it's you against the world for a huge chunk of that earlier stage. It's very easy to need to win everything in life, especially arguments. But most of the time winning an argument actually ends up putting you backwards. - 'Cause what you described there is, from what I understood, is ego. You have to build, and I genuinely believe this too, especially 'cause I was a very young entrepreneur in rooms with people that were not the same skin colors me and three times my age when I was first pitching my ideas. And at some point you have to develop a sense of like, huge confidence and self-belief, which has to kind of flirt with having a big ego. 'Cause I promise you, as you'll probably know, I don't wanna speak for you, so I'm saying probably there, people will try and fuck with you. Especially if you're, I mean of course, 'cause everyone's trying to win in their own little personal war. - Especially if you're an outlier. - Yeah. - If you are the T-1000, people really wanna figure out how they can break you. And some people get off on that. - Yeah. - And I'm sure you've experienced it. I certainly have, but I don't know. In my experience, a lot of the time when I find that conflict where I find people trying to push buttons, it doesn't take much thought to recognize where it's coming from. And most of the time, it's not about you. I mean, books like ego is the enemy or start with why they're really, or leaders eat last, the sima synapse. - Sima synapse. - That's a great one for ego. I sort of learned a lot from that about how to lead and also what true leadership can do. And that sort of unnatural thing of not being submissive, but allowing someone to find their answers with your guidance as opposed to you telling them, it's so powerful because it just makes the bond so much stronger. - You said, I read that you wrote that you had, what part of your therapy sessions was to really understand your issue with father figures and the sort of tricky relationship you'd had with father figures? - Yeah, yeah. There was a disappointment that I felt even as a young age in that I didn't have the perfect dad at home or at least a dad that I felt that I deserved as a kid. 'Cause I was a good kid, I was working, I was doing well at school, I was crying to my sisters. Like, I thought I was a good kid. And I felt that I deserved a different kind of dad at home, especially as someone who was so obsessed with TV, I'm looking at Uncle Phil going, why can't I have what Will and Carlton have? I want an Uncle Phil. And in going to some of the houses of kids that I was going to school with and seeing how their dads father made me disappointed that I didn't have that at home. But I've spoken about this before and this is a book that I've been working on called Bits of Dad. And I was incredibly fortunate to have Bits of Dad because of what my mother invested in me. So my mother taught me from quite a young age to recognize what a good man looked like, which helped me pick the right friends and ultimately pick the right mentors and people to follow. So I say Bits of Dad because I would look up to and ask questions of Mark who worked at the play center at the after school club at my school. And he would help me with sort of dealing with some of the dynamics in my friendships at school. And then I had Billy McQueen who I called my TV dad, a producer who I met when I was 12 years old at Disney who would answer any professional question that I needed help or guidance with. And then there were these other men who helped me with self-discipline or money or even football or even conversations about women and relationships. And amalgamated, they made the perfect father. But I had the Bits and the Bits were enough for me. So when you're going to therapy, was it a question you're opposing to your therapist about how you get a better relationship with father figures or was it about authority? Was it about... - Bro, we've had so many conversations about dad. I couldn't tell anyone who was specifically. But I think just knowing that being a good man is such an important thing for me in my future and knowing that I didn't have quote unquote, good men at home has always been something that I've revisited and tried to unpack and understand. And it's something that's in the front of my mind in a lot of ways. As I said, so many of my friends are now becoming fathers, seeing how they parent and also seeing the decisions that they make and now becoming a good father for the first time. I'm not dad, I'm dad and Jason. - You're saying so. - So I can hear. You know, you go round, you pick up, you change nappy sometimes. I haven't changed Teddy's nappy just yet 'cause he does massive duty. But knowing that when that kid gets a little bit bigger, I can help Sam, this guy who's a mate and minor, I love dearly in maybe the bits that he can't do or the bits that he doesn't want to do and her now for a different perspective as well. - I, one of the really sort of fascinating point, I've just become a godfather again. - Congratulations. - Congratulations. - So that's, and I'm particularly close to the dad. One of my best friends worked for me for seven odd years. So I feel, and it's also the child is, so my friend is, the dad is black and the mum is white. So the kid is probably gonna look a little bit, a little bit like me. So I feel a greater sense of responsibility. It feels like my first real kid. There was something you said, a quote, where you talked about really understanding how precious your time was.
The force thats driving you (44:51)
And the actual quote is, "No one like me has had this opportunity, "so I'd be a fool not to make the most of it." I really want to understand that like driving force within you, that's still driving you today. And I've sat here with so many successful people, so many successful black men. I've analyzed myself and it tends to be a bit of a cocktail sometimes. Your story from the council estate sheds some light on that. And you know, Liverpool Road, that really sheds some light on it as well. And the bit we talked about, that you're being underestimated and feeling sometimes like the outlier in certain rooms. But that thing about time and that sense of responsibility you speak to, 'cause you saw that word and you're right, that almost, your feeling of responsibility. - Yeah, it's really complicated. And I think the idea of responsibility comes from understanding that I was one of the first people to be given a platform either on prime time or on children's TV and so on and so forth. And because I've always been myself, regardless of who I was at that time and having been on TV for so many years, that version of me has continued to progress. As a teenager, presenting kids' TV with cane row and Air Force ones and the mecca tracks your academic sweatsuit knowing that I'm not just wearing this to my dressing room, I'm wearing this on camera, says something, it says something. I'm on the BBC and I'm dressed like the boys that you crossed the street from. That was like, I understood even at 18 that that was a thing, that meant something. And subsequently, you know, I've had kids come up to me over the year saying I grew up with you on TV and bro, I loved watching you because we dressed the same, we taught the same and you were doing that. And it just made me feel like I existed. And when people say things like that to strangers, it's so powerful. And I assume that that might be the case, even as a teenager. And I'm so glad that I was right because that desire to be me, whatever room I'm in, has served me well. And that's gone from presenting kids TV right the way through to writing and directing now. Like, I've just completed my first feature film, Pirates, which we are this year. And I'm a producer, I'm a writer, and I'm a director in this movie about three men of color. Men, 18 year olds, right? And I employed the crew. I am sat there in interview rooms, interviewing heads of department to decide who is gonna ultimately set the mood for this thing that really matters to me because as a writer, director, it starts with the script. But as a director, you're on set and you've got 150, 200 people working for you. And if you don't lead in the right way, they'll decide what this environment is gonna be. And the big concern for me was I'm looking at three versions of me. I got on a Moroccan kid, a Ghanaian kid, and a West Indian kid who were 18 who were leading their first movie. I remember being 18 desperately trying to get auditions for movies and not getting them 'cause it was a very different landscape then. So I understand the responsibility that I have today to put on for those guys, for Redder, for Elliot, for Jordan. It's my responsibility to put on for them and create an environment for them in a way that just wouldn't exist if the man at the top of the tree didn't intrinsically understand them. Because nobody understood me coming up. That's where the responsibility comes, you know? - So this is a tough question to answer because I would find it tough to answer. But I'll answer it as well if you want me to.
The best and worst parts of your leadership style (48:39)
But what is the best in your own self-assessment? What is the best and worst part of your leadership style? - I think the, it's easy to say the best is the best. The bit I'm great. Okay, let's start with worst. I think the worst part of my leadership style is that I want everybody to have a good time all the time. - Ooh, okay. - Interesting. - I do. - Please explain that. - Desperately. - So, when you're responsible for the environment, when you pick the people, if it goes left, or if you pick the wrong person, it's on you, and it's your fault, and that feels shit. When you get it wrong and it affects people that you care about, that feels terrible. So, I desperately want everything to work out in an environment where I'm responsible, you know? So I think that that's probably one of the biggest failures that I hopefully will be better at in the next project, you know, to be really transparent. Sometimes you have to replace people midway through a shoot, and it's knowing when is the right time, and also having the balls to say, you don't quite get what we're trying to do, so thank you for what you've done, but your services are no longer required, you know? That's difficult, especially if you empowered them to begin with, and to take it away is tough. I think the thing that I'm good at is people management, okay, I'm good with people, I'm good on a one-to-one basis as well as with the group, and I think the thing that I'm best at is understanding my actors 'cause I once was one, and knowing that, you know, they just wanna do a good job, and our individuals, some might require talking to before it takes, some might require being left alone, some might require some coaching or some confidence boosting, some might require being told to rein it in, you know? I, with pirates, I decided that I wanted to make sure that my three central guys were a little family before we even got set. So I contacted one of my mentors, Richard Curtis, the writer, director who wrote Notting Hill, love actually, four women's in a funeral, he and his wife Emma Freud, who are amazing, amazing couple, I met through comic relief, which is also something that they do, I mean, they're kind of amazing. When I was 18, I met them through comic relief, and they've been in my life ever since, and when I started writing off the back of spending New Year's at one of his places, I said, "Look, would it be possible to take one of your homes "by the sea so I can go and write?" And they're like, "Absolutely." And they've given me, they've opened their doors to me for me to go and write at their, one of their homes, and the desk that I wrote, a few drafts of pirates, is the desk that Richard wrote Notting Hill on. So I'm dropping that back. Come on, give me some of this. Good stuff, come on. And prior to shooting, the guys allowed me to, I asked them, and they were absolutely fine with the fact that they actively encouraged me to bring the boys to the house for the weekend. We spent the weekend by the sea cooking together, watching "Come and a Vage" movies, talking about the movies very much about friendship and coming of age, but it's also set in 1999 with a whole UK garage backdrop. So the entire music in the movie is UKG, and the boys are desperately trying to drive from North London to South London in the Purgio 205 to get into twice as nice on New Year's Eve 1999. That's the movie, it takes place over one day, right? So, you know, we got like, spoony on the phone, or we got like the heartless crew on the phone, and the boys were just sort of learning about garage, and they were also forming these relationships, and when we got on set, everyone was like, "Oh, so you guys have been friends for years, right?" And I was like, "No, I would just, you know." "Just hang out." And now we're at the point where we started doing screenings, people have watched it, and they're like, "The chemistry between the boys is unreal." And I say all of this to say that the thing I'm most proud of is that I recognize what is necessary to get the best out of my actors. And as a result, I'm incredibly proud of what they've done, and I'm just really excited for them, because I know that they're about to have very exciting careers. One of my actors, Red Eyes and Moroccan Kid, and he's amazing. He turned to anyone while we were shooting, or during our break, we got broken up for COVID, we got stopped to meet you, and we went back, thankfully, and finished the movie, but Red is this young, incredible kid from Morocco, London, of Moroccan descent. And he said to me, in the audition, I was like, "You're so naturally funny. "Why haven't I seen you do more comedy?" And he said, "May I only ever get the child of terrorists, "the young, about to be turned terrorist role, "I only ever get those parts?" He said, "I've never read for comedy ever, "because I'm always reading for the same thing, "which is why when this came across my desk, "I've done everything I can to be good at it, "because I don't want to just play a terrorist." I'm more than that. And for him to be in this film and to be so funny, it's just the most amazing feeling ever, to give somebody that platform. - You've created so many critically acclaimed amazing documentaries, right?
The most key moment from all your films (53:37)
And they're so diverse in the subject matter. - Thank you. - Yeah, no, I was going through years of work, and it's really just like, it's so diverse. But I wanted to know, and this might be like picking your favorite kid or something, but of all the documentaries and all the moments and those stories that you've told, is there something where you think, "This is why I started." - Man, that's so tough, because there's something in every film, genuinely. - Yeah. - And it might even be the lesson that, you know, you made a crap documentary, and you knew it going in, but you did it anyway. There's been so many amazing lessons. So I think the thing that comes to my most whenever I'm asked this question is, the South African preacher, I made a documentary called "The Millionaire Preacher." And there was this guy called Umboro, who is still active as a preacher. I mean, he recently, I think he got arrested for selling pictures to his followers that he took when he went up to heaven. So he recently, I think has been arrested for that. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with him now, but anyway, at the time when we went to make the documentary with him, he had a congregation of about 10,000 people, and he was a multi-millionaire, several Rolls Royces. You name the car, he had it, mentioned the lot, and his entire congregation was made of four black people. And he fell out with me because he didn't think I respected him enough, because I came to the film as somebody who isn't particularly religious, but has a religious background. I grew up in a Pentecostal Christian church. My stepfather was Muslim. I converted to Islam when I was a kid. And in my teens, I decided that faith really wasn't for me in that context. So I'm looking at this man thinking, "You are literally exchanging people's faith for their pay packet." And I was disgusted by him and by everything that he represented before I'd even spoken to him, before I'd even begun to unearth who he was and what got him to that place. And it was an incredible learning experience when he decided that he didn't want to film with me anymore. And his armed guards were sort of like, had their fingers on the trigger as I was trying to force the point that he should keep talking to me and he was just not interested. I came to realize that it's not about me. The reason I was there was not to have a personal experience. The reason I was there was to make a film that could potentially shed light on an issue or teach something to people across the UK that I would never meet in ultimately the world as the film went on Netflix. And I had a similar situation when I made a film about being young, black and gay. I have a family member who I'm incredibly close to, who is a gay man. And his coming out was this incredible moment for me in terms of realizing how difficult his life had been up and to that point because of what he worried about, because of what he thought might happen. And I wanted to make a film about that. And cut a long story short, ultimately the film for me didn't feel as though it nailed it. And I was really, really disappointed. And the production company that I worked with at the time would always do screenings of the film as they, the films as they went out. So we went to the execs house and we're in his house and we're in the kitchen watching it and the credits roll. And as the credits are rolling, everyone's sort of high-fiving each other. I go, "Oh, we killed it. We're trending on Twitter. This is brilliant. Everybody loves the film." And I'm just like, that isn't the film that I had in my head. That doesn't speak to the specificity of the experience and the way that I wanted it to. Anyway, point being I went into my DM on all the social platforms that I was on at the time and every single mailbox was filled with messages from young men and women saying, we saw that you were making this film. So we purposely watched it with our parents and I've just come out to my mum because of the film you made. I was able to have a conversation with my dad because of some of the things that were happening on screen. Thank you for giving us that opportunity. Thank you for opening the door. And I felt like an absolute idiot in that moment because I was so busy worrying about being Mr. Programmaker and making this film that was perfect in my mind's eye. Whereas in reality, the conversation that was being had had never been had before, let alone on the BBC. And as a result, it actively changed lives of people watching. It literally changed the lives of people that messaged me. Wasn't about me and I felt really embarrassed for myself. It's really interesting that balance of it being not about you, but it comes to me being. Yeah, do you know what I mean? It was birthed out of your own personal experience and you're designed to tell a very important story, which had clearly moved you emotionally enough to commit your life, a portion of your life to telling that story. So, but also I completely understand what you're saying, which is like the outcome is not about you, I guess. Yeah. The experience is yours. But the experience that people take from the content you will never own. I will never know how much what I do affects people or doesn't. There's someone out there right now who's seen everything I've never done and I'll never meet them. Similarly, there's someone who I'll bump into tomorrow who's just seen one film and will have a really important conversation with me, you know, on a lot of levels for both of us potentially. I'm not responsible for what happens with what is created once it's out in the world and being comfortable with that is quite difficult, but also quite freeing in a lot of ways. Quick one, as you might know, I've recently teamed up with a new partner for the podcast called My Energy and they're best known for their pioneering renewable energy products. But they're also doing so much to try and help all of us navigate some of these alienating, complicated terms as it relates to sustainable energy. Whether that's the term, layers or U layers or clean air zones, cars you can and can't drive in London, it can be a lot to understand. But these guys are making it simple. They have tons of helpful guides, explanations, Q&As and videos on their website that make all of this stuff make sense to Neanderthal idiots like me. And they sell some of the most amazing renewable energy products, whether you are buying an electric car or you're trying to find sustainable ways to run your home, check it out, MyEnergy.com. They're an awesome company, round by an awesome, awesome founder, one of the real UK Britya success stories and I can't be more excited to be a part of it than. - And let's talk about money then.
Your relationship with money (01:00:11)
So you mentioned money there. What role does money play in all of this stuff in success in your view and life? - Well, I've never chased it, which is probably why my accountant hates my guts. I walked away from Primetime TV that is a very rare air in terms of the amount of people that get to host those shows that get millions and millions of viewers and also the payment that comes with it. I didn't enjoy hosting those shows. I didn't enjoy being in that space. I didn't enjoy being told what to do and say, I essentially was being asked to not be me and that didn't work for me. And in walking away from that and focusing on documentaries, I walked away from a lot of money and knowing that I was going to take a hit financially, ultimately being able to get to the place that I am now as a filmmaker was something I was very aware of. So money has never been a driver for me. But it's been something that I've been conscious on because you've got to live right. And also I look after a lot of people and I help a lot of people and I support people. So I've always wanted to do that. So money has always been important in that sense. But it's never been important because I'm going to show you. - That jump you described there where you swing from being like a TV host saying, "Do you know what? I want to make my own documentaries." Feels like a risk. - It is? - Yeah, massively. - Talk to me about the feeling you had when you thought, "Do you know what? I want to go and pursue myself now." And my sort of intrinsic, I always get roasted for using the right intrinsic and extrinsic on this basically. Intrinsic, fulfilling passion. Despite that I'm going to have to take a financial cut potentially, I might not, you know, and there's no guarantee here, right? This might not work out, might not get commissioned. - Well, it's the same thing with radio. You know, I hosted radio for 10 years. I was at Radio 1 for a decade and I walked away. I left hosting the chart show, not because I was five but because I decided it wasn't right for me anymore because I stopped learning. And for me, it's always been about what are you learning? How much are you enjoying this? And does this align with where you are as a human being? Does this align with your passions? Does this align with what you care about? And you know, you touched on it yourself earlier in the conversation when I recognized that I didn't want to talk to Harry Styles for 30 seconds about the new video, I wanted to ask how the hell are you managing all of this? You're nine years old. Like, mate, how are you managing this? They're a grown women that are hunting you down sexually. And you're figuring out who the hell you are as a person. How are you managing, bro? I wasn't allowed to have that conversation on Radio One, but I was in my documentaries, you know? And every form has its limitations, which is why documentaries have grown into filmmaking because now I can actively write the conversation as opposed to sitting down with someone hoping that they're gonna give me the sound bite that makes that exciting for the audience. Now I can write it and through some of my experiences in fact, and life, I'm able to create people and create characters that are flawed and interesting enough that trigger conversations in the way that I would hope to do in the approach to making a documentary, whereas with a film, drama specifically, I'm able to literally lay it out and create it on my own terms. And in terms of, yeah, in terms of like fulfillment, happiness, mental wellbeing, how important is it to be your true self?
Whats the importance of being your true self? (01:03:28)
You know, again, we talked about the LGBTQ community and how the struggles they face in the suicide rates are higher because they are forced in many instances to live a life that isn't true to who they actually are. From your own experience, I mean, from mine, I know that, I mean, you're doing it now, you're making extraordinary work because it's connected to who Reggie is. I'm guessing you're more happy, right? You're fulfilled and it all seems to be a really positively reinforcing cycle when you get closer to that sense of who you are. You know what it is, it's looking at your Darren, I'm sure you have a similar thing. You know, you look at your calendar for the day and you go, what am I actually doing today? And we've all had those days where you see something in the calendar that you don't wanna do. So, then do I have those days? It's very rare that I have something that I don't want to do, but professionally, particularly. Yeah. And I'm really excited by that. And I'm proud of that. You know, everything that I'm invested in professionally, comes from a place of passion. So for instance, I made, you know, talking about social media and all the rest of it, I made a drama for the BBC called Make Me Famous, which was a standalone one hour drama about the relationship between fame, social media and suicide. And, you know, I created a character who was a reality TV star who, after being on a hit show, suddenly his star begins to fade and there is a newer, younger, sexier version of him who's getting all the accolades and love and suddenly his rates going through the floor and what that does to him on a mental health level. And the conversations and research that I was like embedded within in the build up to write and the screenplay were incredibly eye-opening for me because I was talking to stars from reality TV past and present and hearing the difference between people who've been on reality TV 15 years ago and today, it's heartbreaking, you know, and seeing the way that these kids understand fame and what they're searching for, you know, and also recognizing that I'm someone who's hosted with had TV, you know, and I have a really strange and unique relationship with it. So my point is, regardless of what it is I'm doing, I care about it, I care about it and that's anything from content to product. I have a dairy-free ice cream, you know, I have it that sounds ridiculous, but I have a dairy-free ice cream, I'm a creative director and business partner and blue skies, but this is a dairy-free ice cream that is made in Ghana. It employs 3,000 plus people. The people that work there all look like me and my family and they are being given an opportunity to not only have a career, but be paid properly and it's on Amazon Fresh and it's in wait-hose and people here are enjoying it and some are not thinking about it, but what it's actually doing is incredible, it's changed the community and this is something that I'm connected to. So whatever it is I do now, if it doesn't align with my purpose, I don't want to be involved. Isn't it such a massive, I reflect on this a lot and especially when I'm speaking to someone that has sort of immigrant parents that our parents' central concern was survival. Yes. And what a privilege it is that people like me and you can sit here and talk about the meaning and fulfillment and pursuing a dairy-free ice cream from guidance. Just it seems like, you know, I think immigrant children will hopefully understand the weight of that responsibility, you know, when it's so close and your family tree, there was people literally fighting for survival. Yeah. I just think that's it. But the difficult thing about that is, and this is a conversation I'm having a lot, you know, talk about people becoming fathers, a lot of my friends are from a similar background, you know, black, white and different, you know, whatever. Children of immigrants are white, white and class. Now that they have worked hard and found a level of success and are now becoming the parents, the lives that their children have will be worlds apart from the struggle that they experienced. How do you navigate that relationship with your kid who, for an intense in purposes, is... Silver spin. Silver spin. Because you've worked so hard, you've now made it easier for your child. And are you going to be mad at that kid? Because things are easier. How do you raise that child with the same values, you know? I hope that's a rhetorical question. That's right. Well, I definitely don't have the answer because I'm single, I'm not even a dad. So I don't have to have that conversation just yet. My segue. Tending to me. And that was... OK, so you're single. Talk to me about that.
Romantic Relationships (01:08:07)
How are you to be waving a flag? You don't find the partner, is that what you're saying? Oh, yeah, this is like Tinder cast. Amazing. So tell me, is Reggie Yates hard to date? Absolutely. Why? For the same reason that you are. I'm in your business. No, it's the truth. It's the truth. And I have a feeling everything I'm about to say you will identify with. And that is the disclaimer. Everything I'm about to say will probably make me sound like a massive prat, so please don't judge. You're not like a lot of people. You're not like most of your friends because of the life that you've chosen for yourself. And more importantly, the person that you've had to be to become the person that you are. Which as a result means that your dating pool is small because if we're talking about someone beyond being attractive and needing to have the value system or the outlook, or-- and this is the really difficult thing, the understanding that you require, it suddenly becomes incredibly hard. And one of the stumbling blocks I've found is hoping that someone will become the person that I really feel that I need in terms of their understanding of me. Or expecting them to. And in doing the work and realizing the role that I play in that, I've been at different times very responsible in that, those moments of conflict should we say. Whereas today, I'm just very clear about who I am and also what I need. And I think if you're very open and honest about that in the beginning, it makes it easier, but it doesn't make it easy. And the pool continues to shrink the more my world changes. Because a guy that was like a mentor for me always described me as a moving target, like, "Reg, we're moving targets, bro. Like, it's never going to be easy." Because you continue to learn, you continue to work on yourself. And you continue to have that hunger to be better for yourself and for others. And it's incredibly difficult to find someone that is either on the same path or has the empathy and understanding for you in the path that you're on and the knock on effects that that will have romantically. So you said two things there that I really wanted to jump back to before we proceed with this topic. You said, "You've come to learn who you are and what you need." Yeah. "Who are you and what you need?" I'm a fiercely creative person with a very young spirit who needs friendship and understanding and empathy. As a writer, when you're building characters, one of my favorite things to do for my characters is write down what is the lie your character believes. And I think for the longest time, I believe that I would find a female me and I couldn't imagine anything worse today. And also, you have to understand the difference between your characters' wants and needs, which is why I find writing so cathartic because I'm essentially doing therapy on me as I'm creating different versions of me at different points in my life. And it's never going to be easy to be in a relationship with someone like myself or I imagine you because we are moving targets. I'm a hawk in the park. Going back to what is it? Are you single? Yeah, I'm new. How's that walk going for you? It's good. Okay, so going back to what I need. I find this so fascinating because you've described it there. I've been on this journey over the last 10 years where what I thought I needed, if you'd asked me 10 years ago, I would have gone this hair color, these eyes, this waist size, this fashion sense. And as I've got older and older, it's just come down to these fundamental, I guess, principles or values. And now there's basically only three of them, but I really want to know where you are with what you think you need now. I think it's very simple. It's to be with someone that I can love unconditionally and that will love me back unconditionally. That's the simplest version of it. And that is flaws and all. And I think it's also the desire to be understood and also the ability to understand. Because I feel like, Reggie, I feel like there's a lot of women out there that would love you unconditionally. And I still feel like that might not be enough. That's an interesting point. I don't know. I think... Because I've had X's that loved me, I genuinely know. I'm thinking of one in particular, loved me unconditionally, but it wasn't enough. Okay, so the point I was about to make, and I think that this is something that might... I don't know. I'm interested to see if this speaks to you is the understanding part of it. I say understanding, and it feels like quite a blanket term. But what I mean by that is culture is such a huge thing for me. Like I'm walking around at the moment, with this tiny little chain on, but the penance on it are Junyami, which is a Ghanaian symbol, which means trusting God. I've got a little Africa symbol, and I've also got my family crest, right? I don't even think about these things anymore, but when I think about what I have on me, literally, my family is incredibly important to me. My relationship with my spirit is incredibly important to me, and where I'm from are incredibly important to me. And there is a huge difference between empathy and understanding. And being in a relationship with someone that doesn't understand those three penance, and doesn't... Well, if they don't understand those three penance, they won't understand me. So when I say understanding, I speak to that, and it's very easy to say that you can love someone unconditionally, but when you're someone like you or I, who meet a thousand people a week, some on the street, some in situations like this, some through crew that you will never meet again, you long to come home, look at your partner, and not need to say anything and for them to understand you. And that's why I understand in such a huge part of it. Professionally as well, right? Because you coming your work is going to take you all over the world, and an insecure partner might think, "Oh, they might be trying to compete with your work, they might be jealous of your work." They might, "Well, does that mean he doesn't love me? He's spending x amount of time away in a jail cell." What about me? It's part of it, because work is and isn't work. It's a part of who I am. I go to the cinema twice a week, I've just put a movie theater in my home, and God forbid anybody told me that I shouldn't be in there as much as I intend to be. Movies have got me where I am, and have helped. I learned to shave, watching Danny Glover teach his son how to shave a lethal weapon. Films are a huge part of my life. And you go understand that. You have to understand, professionally, just as much as you do emotionally, spiritually, and culturally. Do you think in relationships you're selfish? I definitely was. Not so much now. I learned the hard way. I've been in failed relationships, and I've also, even in my most recent relationship, my desire to understand only went so far. And I've done some more work on myself, and ultimately didn't work out, but I think I understand why, and I definitely understand the role that I played in that. Last question on this particular one. You can just throw it back at me if you wanted, because I've been refusing to give my perspective here, because I've really gained a lot from this kind of conversation. If you spoke to your former partners, what would be the one common theme as to why they think the relationship didn't work? I think my previous partners will say that I always operated with the best intentions, but didn't listen enough. And listening so poorly. Oh my god, especially if you've got a lot to say, and especially if you've done work and you know stuff, you think you know stuff, you can. And I certainly did in my 20s fall into this belief that I knew enough, and I didn't need to listen to you, because you don't know as much as me. I mean, it's incredibly unhealthy and potentially quite toxic. So yeah, I think my biggest failure romantically has been to not listen. Interesting. Well, yeah. I think I've been very uncompromising, and I'd say selfish. I think I'm definitely probably in relationships, other than my ex, who's taught me a ton of really important lessons about myself and about patience and about just really realizing that, because I used to once upon a time when I was younger, I used to think it was all about findings. I've said this in the last podcast, but finding something that was perfect. So again, I was in search of like the female equivalent of me. That was like super crero-entated, had the same beliefs as me. So all the world would give me, but it was such a contradiction, because I wanted them at my beck and call, but then also wanted them to be busy. And when you analyze what I was looking for, of course it didn't exist. So the question of my mind moved from being, are they perfect, are they worth it? And when it becomes, are they worth it? It's an immediate appreciation for their and your lack of imperfection. And also that there's going to be some really tough, difficult times where it doesn't make sense to you. They're worrying about something irrational. They're upset about something that would never have upset you, but you have to, as you said earlier, you have to listen. And you don't have to agree. And in fact, you don't have to tell them that you disagree. Yeah. You just have to listen and hear them out. And that's a skill that I've honed more recently in my last/current relationship, where even if I don't agree on everything, I listen and I will hear them out. And yeah, I'm learning the lesson. How much do you take who you are professionally into your romantic relationships? It's a perfect question to follow up with. No surprise that you do what you do, because that's literally what I always ask people, which is in work context, I've been taught, or in order to succeed, I've had to be someone, a set of values, a way of speaking, a lack of compromise, a clarity of vision. And it's worked out. And it works out. So I come home at night and I'm like, same clarity of vision. Same like that, no mother. There are emotions and somebody else's feelings in it. I want, she wants to go to the park and do a walk. I'm trying to, from my business perspective, trying to understand what the ROI on that is. Like, I'm like, but that's not what I'm going to my steps. Yeah, like what the hell are we doing? Having a picnic, like, I've got money, you know, so I've got money to make or something. But I've had to realize that I have to be too steep to succeed, or different steves to succeed in different parts of my life in certain contexts. In a boardroom, if I'm doing a deal with a, one of the CEOs of the biggest brands in the world, whom is smashing his pen on the desk, telling me I'm an idiot, and I'm at war with him with friends, but this is how some of these people do business. I have to be a certain person, right? The person I have to be when my partner tells me something, like, you know, about their personal spiritual beliefs that I might not understand in the full context, is completely different. It's not about being right or winning in that context. It's about listening, trying, seeking to understand, and trying, if I can, to try and find the sort of mutual bridge in which we both share values, even if the words were using are different. Yeah. And I've been on that journey for the last, I'd say, two years because of this person I met who, yeah, who taught me those lessons. It's empathy and understanding, isn't it? Ultimately, that's what it comes down to. What about you on that question you asked me there about the person you are in work, and then the person you are in. Well, work has to be quite black and white in a lot of ways, doesn't it? You have to be very clear and clinical about what needs to get done to achieve the thing. And that's just not the case when you're dealing with a human being. If the thing is having a nice dinner and having a conversation where everybody feels heard, you can't be black and white about that. There is a gray area that relationships, romantic, platonic, professional, whatever, that they can operate in that require Riggle Room. And I think that at my worst, I've not allowed for Riggle Room when it comes to somebody's outlook or perspective. Ultimately, I am very happy that I am where I am, and I think I've ultimately made the right decisions in terms of my relationship choices and whoever I end up with, hopefully will be the best version of themselves and I will be the best version of myself and we'll figure it out. But what seems to keep coming up for me is what the foundations of any healthy relationship actually are. And the foundation for me that I'm in search of is friendship. I think if I want to not only spend time with you in the way that I would a friend, but also I'm kind to you in the way that I am to my friends in terms of allowances and allowing for being wrong and also figuring it out. And also having a healthy conversation about something when you're on different sides of the argument, bringing that into my romantic relationships has already started conversations in a way that feel healthier than anything I've ever experienced before. How did your parents, how do you think your parents' relationship has impacted your ability to form relationships?
How has your parents relationship affected you? (01:21:37)
Massively. Massively. Again, we're talking about the journey of others, so I'll try and be as respectful as I can. But as an adult who is now a lot older than my parents were when they had me, I'm able to have a little clarity on their decision-making and understanding that their age probably played a big part in some of the decisions that they made. I'm sure it's the same for you. You look at friends who get married in their early 20s or essentially find their life part now before they've had a life. And you can have an opinion on it. But you're not necessarily going to be right, because there's no way of knowing. You can have an assumption as to where it's going to go and how it's going to play out, because let's face it, who you are at 21 is infinitely different to who you are at 29, let alone 30 plus. I just try my hardest to be as kind as I can to the decisions that my parents made and how that in turn affected me. Because I think culturally now we live in an era where we think more about how our behaviour affects others than ever before. And the way in which my stepfather spoke to me at one point or the way in which they interacted in front of us as kids- Shouting. Whatever it was. I don't think it ever occurred to them the effect that that might have. That's not because they're bad people. That's because culturally that wasn't even in the conversation at that time. So I hold no judgement towards parents from that generation. I've got no excuse though, because when I'm a parent I know better. I've had 10 years plus of therapy and also I exist in the self-help generation where we've read every book and we have conversations like this. And I have conversations like this with my friends. And I know for a fact that my dad and my stepfather wouldn't sit around with their group of predominantly black friends and have conversations about healthy relationships and mental health etc. So this is the last time I mentioned because I feel like I've said so much about them. But again Richard and Emma, when I went to their house for the first time in Notting Hill and I walked in and saw this sign on the wall, it broke my heart and excited me in a way that I've never been excited before. And those two conflicting emotions stick with such a visceral moment that I had that no one in the room was aware of. They've got a bunch of kids, they have this lovely house where all their kids at the time lived at home. And there was this neon sign on the wall that said everything is going to be okay with literally in lights on the wall in their house where their children were growing up. And it grounded me to the spot when I saw it because I thought subconsciously what is that doing to these children? That they are safe as a message in lights is something that they walk past every day. To me that's what love looks like. It's being able to tell someone you love them without having to say anything based on the environment you've created, based on who you are for them and them feeling safe. That to me was in one moment a real sort of opener in terms of what I would be searching for and should be searching for that feeling of safety from someone that doesn't need to be said. Is that in part because you didn't feel like you fully had that when you were growing? Definitely. I think it's partially because of what I grew up in and partially because of the relationships that experience up until that point. You know? It's funny because a lot of things can, we can sometimes play defense, play defense, but it turns out, well, we think we're playing defense, but it turns out to be self-harm. So we reject the chance of safety because we're not comfortable with it. It's kind of like what I was describing when I was 14 and Jasmine told me she loved me. I was playing self-defense, but it was in fact self-harm. You're trying to protect yourself in doing what feels right in the moment, but ultimately you're killing something that could have been incredible. I think we've all been there. And I certainly have, definitely. I'm just really thankful that I don't do it anymore. I remember sort of rejecting this idea of who my family was and how much of an impact that had on me. And then when I embraced it and I embraced the good and the bad, I was able to see so much of the good. My father, who I don't have a relationship with, is an incredible musician. He's still part of a band to this day. I put on his album and I cry because it's like this man brings so much beauty and joy to strangers. He wasn't able to give it to me, but I'm objectively able to find that beauty in the art that he creates today. You cry when you listen to your biological father's. Particularly one song, Jesus Christ. Which song? It's called Jojo's song. And so we have the same name. He's called Regent Gates. I'm Regent Gates. And he's obviously, a guy named called Jo, based on the day that he's born. I'm quite on Tuesday. And so everyone calls him Jojo, right? So it's Jojo's song and it's a song where he's singing and playing the thump piano and it's just like, "Oh my God, it's beautiful." And to know that this man who for chunks of my teens, I really resented because I felt that he wasn't there for me. Has this beauty in him? Moves me to tears whenever I listen to him sing. And have you forgiven him? I forgave him a long time ago. Because I think it was, like I said, the point when some of my friends started to become fathers, you realize that not everybody is going to get it right. And not everybody's cut out for it. And I was just unfortunate to not have one of those world's greatest dad guys. I ended up getting a dad that just really wasn't ready to do it or grow up. And I can't be mad at him for his journey that brought him to being the man that he was when he became a father. And on that point, just to conclude that point of the relationships love point, do you think you're ready to be in that relationship that you said you think you need? Yeah, I think so. I think because I'm on my journey professionally and the worry of not getting there, which could affect you romantically, doesn't exist anymore for me, that's a huge thing that is taken out of the equation of who I am romantically. I think because of the age that I am and the experiences that I've had, I'm very close to being who I will be for the foreseeable. Yes, I am a moving target, but the targets moving are slowing out. The things that are changing in me aren't as big as they were in my 20s and my 20s. So meeting someone today and being with them in five years, I don't visit just being totally different people. It's so interesting. I love that point. And you talk about the moving target, the way that I've come to learn to mentally understand it, my mind is like, you imagine two lines and they're from this point onwards, the lines start moving. And if they are 1%, if say the Reggie Yates line is just 1% to the right, you and the other line will move apart over time. And I love what you said there about like, I think I'll be a similar person in five years time, which means that like the degree of separation won't be. It's less, yeah. So I think that's a... Well, the greater journey has been made up until this point. And I mean that personally, in terms of my development in knowing who I am, the level of self-confidence I have and also what I'm fighting for, has suddenly been crystallized. Because as someone who has the ability to do lots of different things, I was running around trying to figure out who I was supposed to be. And at the same time, worrying about what I was leaving behind for so many years. Whereas now, I've tried loads of different things. I've had lots of different kinds of relationships. I've traveled. I've done all these different things that I know what I want for me. And I also... I feel fairly confident. I wouldn't say I know, but I feel fairly confident about what love looks like for me, what success looks like for me, and what fulfillment feels like for me, which instantly makes picking a partner or being chosen a lot easier. In that stage where you're running around, trying to figure out who you are, for me, that was a very insecure stage of my life. I talked to you, I said, I thought I wanted Lamborghinis, right? Yeah, yeah. That's what... And it's funny because in that stage, when you're most insecure and you're most searching for answers, what I tend to see, especially on Instagram these days, is that is the stage where people arrive at the conclusion that they need a romantic partner to complete them, right? Yeah. And it's in fact what you've described is, no, my fucker. Like, that's the stage where you need to do the self-work. Yeah. And then people form these like, oh, well, I had a huge gap, so I filled it with a romantic solution. Well, you complete me as one of the most dangerous... Oh, God. ...statements ever, right? Because you don't... Yeah. Yeah. And eventually we're both going to realize that, I don't complete you and you don't complete me, you've got to be complete to meet someone who's complete, to begin something new together. And it's that idea of, you know, your life, their life, and the shared life, right? And being willing to recognize that they have to have a life separate from yours. And as you do, for you to build something together, that's separate and different. And I'm excited about that, because I feel as though my universe looks the way that I've always wanted it to. I love the friends that I have, you know, they're like family to me. I love the home that I have. I love the relationships that I have with my mother's like my mate now. It's really lovely. And all of that has been worked. I've had to do on my own. So now I can come to the table as a healthy, grown up, and make healthy conversation and have healthy decision-making, you know? Damn society wants you to rush it though, doesn't it? It really does. It really does. But I mean, our parents' generation all got married a lot younger than we didn't. Look at the divorce rates. Yeah. I think being happy with who you are first is imperative to being able to recognize someone who is happy within themselves. Your work, you're doing so much at the moment.
What does the future look like for you? (01:31:57)
This is kind of where I wanted to... To end this is you're doing so much across, you know, your books, you know, your podcasts. I think you've taken a little bit of a break on the moment. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm going to get back to that, but that's another conversation. Your documentaries, your business. What are you most excited about and what does the future look like? What is the big professional? I mean, if there is one, it was the big professional... I don't mean milestones. I mean, the big professional feeling. You know what I mean? The big professional feeling is being creatively fulfilled in broad terms. In more specific terms, it's my business. We haven't actively launched yet, but we are working and operating and that is 5'7. So I have a company called 5'7, which is People, Products and Content Business, which has a cause arm. We have Past the Mic, which is a platform that we created for young creatives, which is growing and doing really beautiful things in terms of empowering diverse voices. Right the way through to content. We make everything from feature films like Pirates or, you know, Make Me Famous. Right the way through to product like Blue Skies. So everything that we do at 5'7 has the fingerprints of my outlook on the world. And this idea of understanding the power of platform, like there are so many people that get to a point of notoriety and start selling slimty. And there is no judgment on anybody that does that, but I... I judge you. Reggie doesn't, but I do. Judge you a little. I always go back to that mum in the street who stopped me and said, "You're a role model for my kid." And me hating it and then finally coming around to realizing I have no choice in the mouth. If you have an opportunity to make movies, to sell products, to make TV shows, to create a cause-led initiative, why not make it good? Why not make it speak to what you care about? Why not make it something that can actively inspire other people to be better than you are and do more than you've ever done? So for me empowering others is a huge part of my drive right now. And working with young, talented people inspires me to be better. And as a result, I feel incredibly fulfilled. You know, I don't see myself as a mentor, but I've technically mentored three or four people. And they're like my little brothers and sisters now. That's how I see them. They're my friends who come around for dinner, football, or whatever. And you know, guys and girls will call me an ask for advice on their relationship or on a decision that they have to make professionally. And I love that I have that relationship with people because I never had it growing up. I had these bits of dad, but I never had the big brother, you know. There was always a distance between me and the person that was helping guide me. Shortening that distance for me in the lives of others is what success feels like. So the big thing is being creatively fulfilled financially free and ultimately understanding what it feels to love and be loved really. That's a journey. That's what we hope for.
In your view whats your potential? (01:35:07)
In your own view, what is your potential? Unlimited. And I don't say that because I think I'm LeBron James, because I definitely can't dunk like LeBron. Yeah. But I do think that I don't think I know anything that I've wanted to do, like really wanted to do. And I've really worked for. I've achieved. Amen. And because that has happened, it can happen in any way, shape, or form. My mother believes that she's quite a spiritual woman as most West African women. I'm sure you've got your stories. But she believes that everybody's born with a gift, right? My mother believed that my gift is to see and to communicate. And she always said that to me since I was a kid, you can see and you can communicate. And the communication thing is sort of panned out. Essentially how I pay my bills, sharing ideas. And the the C part of it is quite ambiguous in a lot of ways because what I've come to understand that to mean is that, you know, as a kid, I used to dream quite vivid things and they would all come to pass to, you know, learning about self and doing some reading, going to some seminars, watching some stuff. You understand things about manifestation, all the rest of it. And that dream thing has sort of changed into manifestation in a lot of ways. And when things start to happen that you had in your head, it teaches you that you can do anything. And that's how I feel right now. I feel like I can do anything. I had an idea at a funeral of all places. Two years later, it's a movie that is coming out in cinemas. And I genuinely think that anything that I put my heart to and my mind to, I can make happen, I can make real. If that's your worldview and you believe that and you've seen it and you've got evidence for it in your life, that when you think about something, when you see it, you can then create it. Is it frustrating when you speak to friends, close friends, other people who express their dreams to you that they don't have that too? No, it's not a matter. It winds me right up. No, but you can't be like that. Very interesting to think about words sometimes, try to be any way. I hate saying the word can't. I feel really strongly about this. You can't allow yourself to think that way because who they are is based on their journey. Yeah. And they may beat that and get beyond that, but you can't be mad at someone for where they are on their own trajectory. Yeah. It's like, because I have the same worldview where I've built those case personal case studies in my life that I could go from being in Mosslides, stealing Chicago town pizzas to believing in chasing that dream, failing along the way, messing up, failing, whatever, but being able to create the life that I was aiming for. And so when I see friends who express their dreams to me and I deeply believe that whatever, like we're not talking about going to Mars, right? We're talking about, I want to be an whatever, or I want to try. I know they can do it. Every part of me knows it's possible because I've seen behind the curtain. And they have what it takes. And to be fair, when I started, I had my mentorship, my English and my parents weren't speaking to me. We don't come from a family that had any money. So I know that the self-belief alone, the foundation of being born in such a privileged country is more than they need to go after that. And I just have this fucking thing in me where I'm like, "You can." I definitely, I get you and I hear you because I've definitely felt that before, especially when it comes to young people that want you to help them or that want you to mentor them. And you take a chance on someone and you give them all the information, you give them the blueprint, you give them all the tools, and they still don't listen. Or they agree and they do the total opposite. It's like practice for parenting, isn't it? People that you love or are invested in aren't necessarily always going to do what you think they should do. And you can't be mad at them for it because it's their journey. And that is something that I'm incredibly thankful for, that the people that I've had around me have allowed me to not listen and make mistakes or go in another direction. Like I had a huge, huge desire to be a musician for a long time. And I was making music and I was offered a publishing deal. And I was collaborating with everyone from, I mean, I won't even say the names, but I made an album and I had a deal on the table. And I was adamant that this was what I was going to do. I was going to be the first person that could host Top of the Pops and perform on it. Like that was my thing, right? And when my God rest his soul, music lawyer at the time, Richard Anci, sat me down and said, "Okay, you see that Top of the Pops that you're hosting? You see that radio one show that you got? You're going to have to leave all of that, bro, to do this. Because you're going to tour, you're going to be in studio, we're going to send you here, there, and there are the label we want you to record and blah, and I was like, I don't want to give all that up." And he was like, "All right, so are we going to sign this thing or not?" And I walked away from what would have been another career because ultimately it wasn't what I was supposed to do. And I wasn't willing to give up the thing that I loved, but I needed to spend three or four years of wasting the time of people that were producers and sing a songwriter to come and collaborate with me. And people gave studios were giving me free time, record labels were offering me contracts, and they were rewriting them. All of this investment into me, for me to say, "Now, I'm just going to go back and do what I was doing before I met all of you a lot. Sorry, you know? I've done it. I can't be mad at someone else who's doing a similar thing, because there is that point in your life where you have to figure out through mistakes or through trial and error what you're ultimately supposed to do." Amen. I'm glad you're agreeing. No, I do. I would love you to challenge. No, I love, but that's why I do it because I know, listen, I know that I'm like, so many of my approaches and so many years of my life are so imperfect, but I love getting the perspective from someone else because everything you've said I completely agree with. And of course, you're right. But I still contend with that feeling because there's this bias in me that I've had, it's weakened over time, but really wants people to feel what I feel in my life. And that is an awful bias because it's projecting my own values and worldview and what I think happiness for everyone looks like onto them. So I... Yeah. You're not the only one. You know? I'm a million percent of done that myself. Even in relationships, right? Absolutely. So if you do this, you're going to be like this, which means you're going to be just like me and you're going to be great. The most frustrating one is whenever you say to someone, you say, "What do you want?" and they go, "This?" And you go, "Okay, here's how you get it." And they go, "Oh, fuck." And you're like, "Well, you said you wanted that. That isn't even my worldview. You said you want to be a Costa Rican belly dancer. Here is the cause." And they're like, "Well, the truth is uncomfortable, right?" Yeah. And it's usually harder than people want it to be. And that, unfortunately, in this conversation, is both the case for someone like yourself who sat on one side of the table, saying, "This is what you need to do." And on the other side of the table, the person saying, "Well, I don't want to do all of that." And what you both leave with is truth. And that is that you can't control someone else. And that is that you've really got to do the things that you aren't willing to do to get what you want. Amen. Listen, Reggie, the work you've done with your documentaries, I just think is tremendous. And I think I remember once upon a time listening to, I think it was Neil deGrasse Tyson say, that the most important work we can do, or the most important people in our society, aren't the people we elect and to power, it's the electorate that elect them. And so therefore, the most important, powerful work one can do is educating the electorate. And what that really means for me is the way that people think about whether it's sexuality, or regimes, and other countries, whatever it might be, is the way they think dictates who they then elect and to power, which then impacts our laws and the society we live in. And that's the work you're doing. And I find that to be the most admirable, important work of it all. So thank you for doing that work. Thank you for being a role model. I've watched you as a young kid growing up in Plymouth for many a decade. And you've been one of the faces that even I could relate to on TV, because you look like me. And so I want to thank you for that as well. But also thank you for your time today, because I think the conversation we've had has been very honest, diverse. You've shared things, but you didn't have to share. And I know that comes from a very selfless desire to impart value on people that might need it in various areas of their life. So thank you. That's incredibly kind. Thank you for having me. Thank you for the real pleasure. Thank you.