Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
From Burnout and Isolation Into Allyship and Inspiration: The Intersectionality of Music, Design, Inclusion, and Social Justice With Kendall “Boo Boo” Howse

From Burnout and Isolation Into Allyship and Inspiration: The Intersectionality of Music, Design, Inclusion, and Social Justice With Kendall “Boo Boo” Howse

Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse, a Senior Designer, Illustrator, and Musician, discusses his design journey, which started with creating artwork for his music projects that eventually led to him freelancing full-time. He shares his passion for Dungeons & Dragons and its evolution to becoming a more inclusive and cooperative game. He emphasizes the importance of community and inclusivity in design and shares his experiences advocating for diversity and equity in the tech industry. He also encourages slow progress and reevaluation of solutions to create meaningful change.

Key Takeaways:

  • Experience cooperative storytelling and communication through Dungeons & Dragons

  • Follow his journey from creating band merchandise to becoming a full-time freelancer and eventually joining the tech industry

  • Explore his commitment to creating inclusive spaces and advocating for marginalized communities within the Bay Area Black Designers community

  • Learn about community, collaboration, allyship, and systemic change from his perspective

  • Reflect on the challenges and opportunities of working in the tech industry as a designer and on the need for progress and meaningful action


"If I believe that I am to do this alone, if I believe that the best ideas available to me are already in my head, I am doomed to fail." - Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse

"In alternative spaces, we have the power to set our own rules and create new realities." - Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse

"Every once in a while, we need to take stock and see if there has actually been progress forward." - Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse


(01:28) Introduction of the multi-talented Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse

(02:24) Icebreaker: How playing Dungeons & Dragons impacts him as a designer

(06:31) The history of his nickname "Boo Boo" and why he sought out alternative culture as a kid

(10:02) Feeling isolated after the Murder of George Floyd, the transformation of his music from despair and frustration to hope and encouragement, and the self-made CEO myth

(17:39) His path into design, freelancing, and how he almost lost his home

(24:03) ERGs and Bay Area Black Designers: His career in tech and inclusion

(26:29) The importance of allyship to get through marginalization and isolation and how to make a meaningful impact in the workplace

(31:04) How to measure systemic change and the importance of knowing the differences between no progress, slow progress, and false progress

(32:21) Ways to get in touch with Kendall

About The Guest:

Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse is a Senior Designer, Illustrator, and Musician based in Oakland, California. With a background in DIY punk rock bands, he developed a passion for design and visual communication. He has freelanced for various clients and worked in-house at CoreOS, later acquired by Red Hat and IBM. He also actively promotes diversity and inclusion in the tech industry by helping companies form ERGs, co-chairing Bay Area Black Designers, and facilitating Frame Shift Consulting.

Connect with Kendall "Boo Boo" Howse:



Referenced Links:

Dungeons & Dragons

Mass Arrest


Soul Glo

Isabel Wilkerson

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Guests/Episodes Mentioned:

Building Better Connections with Kat Vellos

Building Community with David Silva

What's Next:

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Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Technically Speaking is a podcast by Harrison Wheeler about BIPOC designers, entrepreneurs & technologists sharing their unique stories of triumph and resilience at the intersection of product design.