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Dometi Pongo's Empathy Shines as Host of 'The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist'

Trailblazing journalist and on-air personality Dometi Pongo knows his purpose. For years now, the host of the new reality tv show competition, The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist, has been on the front line of social justice and pop culture. From hosting MTV's True Life Crime to shining light on social issues on the network's award-winning news program Need to Know, Pongo has moved with intention as he lives out his passion and his purpose.

"You think you've found your purpose, but then you encounter challenges and obstacles that try to inspire doubt within you," Pongo explains his journey. "But you always come back to the core moment," he says. For the Chicago native, it was his faith that led him to knowing he was on the right path.

Pongo shares that during the time he debated on accepting his True Life Crime role, he opened his bible to a specific scripture." I remember praying and opening my Bible to Proverbs 31 8-9," Pongo says. The verse preaches about speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves as well as defending the rights of the "poor and needy." It was then Pongo knew he was meant to go down the path to be a storyteller who not only helps share others' plight but also be an empathic ear to listen to what is happening all around us.

A Black man who has been dominating spaces that have not always been designed for Black men, Pongo has been able to keep his love of hip-hop and marry it with his desire to push for social change. The once aspiring rapper found a way to identify the "symbiotic relationship culture has in putting a mirror up to what is happening in society and informing society what should happen."

With his new show The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artists premiering on MTV on March 3 and on the Smithsonian Channel on March 7, Pongo finds himself in familiar territory with his love of art and telling stories. The show takes seven up-and-coming artists in different stages of their careers to create original pieces that explore social issues for the chance to win $100,000 and show their work at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Knowing a thing or two about following your passion, Pongo says working on his latest project has taught him what bravery actually means in the creative field. The competition series also gives Pongo the chance to show how empathy has gotten him this far in his career.

Learn more about why empathy is important to Pongo, how he got his latest hosting gig, and what is next for the star in our interview below.

Photo Credit: MTV

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