Jul 16, 2019
In today’s episode we chat with
one of the UK’s most inspiring people, former gang leader and
u-turned public speaker, poet, musician and rehabilitation leader -
Karl Lokko. Whether it’s visiting Necker Island with Richard
Branson or attending the Royal wedding, Karl’s remarkable journey
is a far cry from his Brixton Badlands past.
Karl is one of the UK’s most
connected under 30 year olds, he now holds a platform for true
change, helping thousands of youth to escape the gang culture on
the very dangerous streets of South London. As a former gang leader
himself, life hasn’t always been so easy. Infact his u-turn is
nothing less than truly breathtaking. And his journey to get to
where he is now, even more jaw dropping!
From the age 12, Karl found himself on the wrong side of the tracks when his bicycle was stolen a few too many times. In his defense he formed his own gang of misfits, something Brixton wasn’t short of. A product of the Windrush generation decades before him, he was used to seeing displacement all around him. Which gave everyone and anyone a reason to fight.
“There’s a reason for rage, they so won’t that scare you straight? Well, If what you’re doing is because you are already scared, that is going to fuel your rage” - Karl [17:35]
Unfortunately the violence didn’t stay on a scrappy playground level for long. By the age of 14 he had already witnessed his friends being shot, been shot at himself and carried his own knife wounds as battle scars. Scars that he held as a trophy to go with the ‘strike them before they strike you’ mindset that permeated both his gang and the culture that followed - with or against him.
“There’s a lack of remorse, everyone can feel our pain ‘cause I’m feeling it, everyone else becomes fair game” - Karl [16:00]
But his story isn’t only one of a bleak distraught childhood, in today’s episode you’ll hear the remarkable story of how Karl turned his back on the violence and literally earned himself a seat at the table with some of the world’s most powerful and influential people. Karl now heads up a charitable organisation that transforms gang members into respectable citizens, helping them see life outside of gangs. Or as Alex calls it, his “love gang” - “goosebumps” as Mimi puts it.
“I was inspired by bible stories of sheppard boys throwing rocks at political, economical and cultural giants called Goliath. Those emails were my stones and i had to throw them out there” - Karl [47.30]
We are truly honoured to talk with Karl. His giant heart, kind nature and switched on intelligence shines light on what you can do if you really put your mind to making a positive change, both in your life and others.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s episode with Karl, you can find out more about him here:
Butterfly Effect - Youtube video by Karl Lokko