If you’re a Christian with an Instagram or Facebook account, there’s a really good chance you’ve heard of social media comedian “KevOnStage” (born Kevin Fredericks). Even if you don’t follow him yourself, odds are you’ve seen his content appear on your timeline or in your IG Explorer page - and you’ve undoubtedly laughed. You’ve likely laughed really, really hard. At least I know I have. The guy’s hilarious! He’s also fairly relatable. And given that he’s a professing Christian, a resident of my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and his jokes come profanity-free, it only made sense to “like”, “follow” and “share”.
I can’t recall when I first began to follow his content. But I do recall the first time I was thrown off by something he felt led to post. It was August 2017, after gospel artist Tasha Cobbs-Leonard released her highly controversial collaboration with rapper Nicki Minaj. Many discerned this collab was a terrible idea from the first time Tasha even announced it. Indeed, we rightly judged before the song even dropped that this partnership wasn’t the move. Afterall, the Word is clear: “What fellowship do believers have with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14)? But at this point, the song had officially dropped and the lyrics made it extremely evident that this collab was NOT a work of the Lord <---I explain why here. It was so obviously off base that it couldn’t truly be defended by those who knew God’s truth.
Yet, Kevin made a video lauding the unequal yoking and jokingly suggesting that other such collaborations should follow. “...if Nicki Minaj is on your Gospel song and her fans are going to hear it, then I’d imagine a lot more people are going to hear about Jesus than would previously,” he said. His musing was informed by worldly wisdom at best and utter naiveté at worst. First: The song actually wasn’t at all about Jesus. Second: Contrary to carnal belief, Jesus doesn’t need us, in our human ingenuity, to undermine and contradict His teaching to reach the lost (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17). Third: It’s interesting that he acknowledge the crossover potential from this partnership, yet didn’t consider how this crossover would also expose Tasha’s fans to Nicki Minaj’s worldly influence. Does not the Word say, “Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good habits”(1 Corinthians 15:33)? “I want more collaborations...Dottie Peoples and Cardi B,” Kevin continued before breaking into a mashup rendition of Dottie’s “On time God” and Cardi’s “Bodak Yellow”. “He’s an on time God...He makes bloody mooooovvess,” he sang.
He went on to suggest other gospel-trap/secular mashups. Kevin was simply being his usual comedic self, except that was the first time I didn’t find him funny.
I continued to follow him, however. But from that point forward I engaged his content with a bit more prudence and discernment.
“HE’S A COMEDIAN, NOT A PASTOR!”
As time went on, I began to note other questionable posts from the KevOnStage account. Everything was all fun and games, and his following was still in stitches. But it seemed true matters of faith just got swept under the rug and opportunities to display his witness were simply ignored. For example, if someone misquoted or misapplied Scripture or in any way undermined Christ and His Church, rather than offer correction or edification amidst his commentary, Kevin would simply go along with it for the sake of a good laugh. When I finally commented to ask Kevin why he wouldn’t use his platform to advance the Gospel and contend for the faith when the opportunity arose, I got no response from him. But his followers drug me through the absolute filth, being sure to inform me that “He’s a comedian, not a pastor!” For some reason they were of the mind that his career absolved him from keeping the commandments of God. Of course, he’s not a pastor. But isn’t he a Christian? And as a professing Believer, is there nothing that would warrant a time-out to set the record straight or educate his rapidly increasing following in the things of the Lord? Was I being too deep? Was I expecting too much of him? Admittedly, I was tempted to begin to believe so. But then Kevin and his followers soon proved that my desire, as a Christian, to see another Christian (especially one with a platform) stand for his faith wasn’t at all far-fetched.
HE’S MORE THAN A COMEDIAN, HE’S A BLACK MAN
Part of Kevin’s charm is his ability to comment on the goings-ons in pop culture with wit and alacrity while also clearly articulating where he personally stands on the matter. I also discovered that he actually is capable of using his platform to discuss and defend what he believes. For example, when a commenter challenged a post Kevin made calling Black women “God’s gift”, Kevin was expedient in posting a response video to set that commenter straight. When a cartoonist drew an image of Serena Williams that many found to be racist and offensive, Kevin put all jokes aside and made a12-minute response video to discuss the annals of racism and discrimination in America. When a white man was being arrested and told the police he was being treated “like a Black person”, Kevin yet again responded with a lengthy video, this time to discuss “white privilege”. In these videos, Kevin is perhaps the most serious any of his fans might ever see him. In these videos he’s passionate about his point, and he was willing to lay down the jokes for at least 10 minutes to discuss matters he felt were important. Such displays from him are amazing and disappointing all at once - amazing because funny man Kevin is actually willing to seriously discuss and take a stand on the topics he holds dear, yet disappointing because he’s never stood for the things of God with the same level of conviction. For the most part, Kevin’s following has applauded his positions and, ironically, though he’s “just a comedian” it seems no one told him to lay off the social commentary and stick to the jokes. No one was screaming, “He’s a comedian, not a civil rights activist!” Nope! His outspokenness on virtue signaling topics like racism, black girl magic and white privilege seemed very much welcomed (and expected) by his following because, though he’s a “just a comedian” by trade, the reality is he’s still a Black man with two Black sons and a Black wife. Certainly every “woke” person in his following would eventually look at him sideways if he NEVER spoke up and out for “the culture”.
As I came to note this glaring double-standard, my support for Kevin began to suffer a rapid decline. Was he still funny? Yes. Could I, as a Christian, take him seriously ever again? No. As his content flew across my timeline and appeared in my Instagram Explorer page, I very seldom took out the time to view it. Save a hilarious piece on the dangers of playing Spades and a post to discourage others from moving to Atlanta to solve their problems, I decidedly allowed very little from his account to warrant my attention - until last week, when Kevin posted a clip from an interview he’d done with a transgender woman (a man) who identifies as a lesbian.
On a recent installment of his show “Ask A...”, an internet series and podcast, Kevin and his co-host “Big Irish” Jay sat down with the transgender woman for an interview that lasted well over an hour. They discussed gender identity, pronoun usage, transgender struggles, what makes a transgender person “tick”, and they even explored the topic of transgender sexuality! As I listened to Kevin cackle his way through the discussion and take great care not to offend his guest in any way, I wondered why he, as a Christian, felt this interview was even necessary? What was his intended end goal? From what I could gather from Kevin’s following, the show’s premise is to spark a conversation that fosters respect and mutual understanding between individuals who hold different perspectives.
Great! So, did Kevin share the Christian perspective? Specifically, did Kevin share the Gospel?
What is the point of a Christian inviting someone into their space to have “a dialogue” if the dialogue is one-sided?
As I suffered my way through that entire episode for context, I didn’t hear “a dialogue” designed to foster “mutual understanding” of different perspectives. If you ask me, what I heard was a one-way lecture on how to normalize gender confusion. I heard a stumbling block for those who might struggle with sexual sin. I heard Kevin prompting his guest via a line of questioning that only helped this individual with educating the masses on the things God abhors while Kevin altogether flaked on edifying them on the things that please God. I heard a publicly professing Christian compromising - and, frankly, it turned my stomach. And being the glutton for punishment that I am, once again I found myself in the @KevOnStage comments section asking him if he’d shared the Gospel with that poor lost soul. I asked him why, in this publicized conversation to foster mutual understanding, did the Christian view come up missing. Of course, he never responded. But, true to form, his followers most certainly did and, again, they drug me through the filth.
Kevin…What is you doing?
By God’s grace, I’ve become somewhat of a pro at being beat up by social commentary, so their jabs caused me no real offense. Instead, I was offended by Kevin’s actions. Even as I no longer expected him to use his platform to contend for or to truly proclaim his Christian faith, I was highly disappointed that he would use it to give a voice to sin and confusion. Not only did Kevin neglect to share the Gospel and answer sin with the truth during that episode, it was neither prudent nor loving of him to expose his following to that type of content. Even if the premise was to foster “understanding”, what in the world led him to think anyone needed to understand transgender sexuality?!
As I did more research into the “Ask A…” show, I found that this is actually something Kevin’s been doing since as far back as 2015, and past guests have included an atheist, a Jehovah’s Witness, and a “gay black man”. (As of the time of this writing, apparently a new episode has gone live and the guest of the week is a porn star!)
In fairness to Kevin 1) he’s had on less controversial guests as well, and 2) for the record, I don’t find inherent fault with his having on the more controversial ones. He’s free to have an on-camera conversation with someone from a different faith or lifestyle. HOWEVER, the caveat for our freedom comes when we use it to satisfy our sin nature, when we use it to cover sin, or when it becomes a stumbling block for those weak (immature) in faith (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Peter 2:16). As a Christian and a recently former consumer of his content, I do wonder about his intentions for these publicized conversations. My concern is what’s driving his content choices and what it is he expects his audience members, especially his Christian following, to do with the messages his content conveys. From what Kevin’s made public, even if his intentions are “good”, the reality is he’s simply been giving these guests a platform to justify, normalize and proselytize his audiences in the things that are contrary to God and the Way of Christ. Sadly, his fruit demonstrates one with a stronger desire to seek his OWN interests and entertain the goats than to love his neighbor and to edify the sheep. His choice in content makes him come across as one more willing to please the carnal interests of men rather than to be a fisher of men.
According to Kevin’s following (as they ripped out my edges), Kevin could very well be sharing the Gospel with his “Ask A…” guests behind the scenes. But, to be frank, there’s a very slim chance that’s actually going down given that what’s done in the dark always comes to light. If one would promote evil publicly, how likely is it that they’re promoting good privately? Further, it is the Lord who reveals the truth privately to us and we, in turn, are supposed to proclaim what He’s said in the light and shout it from the rooftops (Matthew 10: 27)! But let’s say, for the sake of argument, Kevin truly is witnessing to these individuals behind closed doors: Why does their private receipt of the truth have to come at the expense of Kevin publicly exposing thousands of others to a lie?
I Said all of This to Say…
As I reflected on this and my ongoing frustration with Kevin’s content, I realized it was finally time for me to unfollow @KevOnStage. While I’m always up for a good laugh, professing Christians who make a habit of compromising in the world is no laughing matter to me. Certainly, neither of us is perfect, and we all have moments when we don’t exercise the best judgment in what we post or say on social media. But the Holy Spirit is certainly more than able to reel us in from consistently using our platforms to pander to the world and promote sin (Philippians 2:13). As a professing Christian, surely Kevin knows that his witness is on 24/7, especially so as a public figure. Christ says we are the light of the world...the salt of the earth. What good are we to the world if we hide our light under a basket or if we lose our flavor (Matthew 5:13-16)? When we come to Him, we die to ourselves thus now having our whole life hidden in Him (Galatians 2:20; Luke 9:23; Colossians 3:3). In Christ, we become a new creation, so our identity in Him is ultimately who we now are in the world (2 Corinthians 5:17). We’re not born again to remain who we once were.
Contrary to lukewarm conjecture, a Christian is always a Christian FIRST. No matter our vocational professions, our profession of faith in Him takes precedence over all. Paul was a tent maker, yet his greeting was always “Paul, a servant of Christ…”. Paul was a Jew, yet his appeal to his people (according to the flesh) was for their salvation, not to rant about the injustices his people suffered under Roman oppression. As a Black man in America, Kevin undoubtedly feels inclined to speak up and out for matters he believes affects the African-American community. But as a Christian, he should be all the more convicted to speak up and out for the things of God as the opportunities arise - and they arise often. We don’t get to make our faith something “personal” when it’s time to contend for it, yet at the same time publicly profess it as material for our stand up routines and t-shirt slogans. That’s “Christian appropriation”! That’s convenient Christianity. That’s wanting the gain of being a publicly professing Christian, but none of the pain. Frankly, that’s hypocrisy, and that’s not funny.
I’m sure Kevin couldn’t care less that I’ve unfollowed him, and I’m certain he doesn’t even know it occurred. (Seriously...who cares?) But I share this piece to belabor the overall lesson I’ve learned from this experience that might be of use to other Believers: 1) We must always exercise discernment with whom we follow and whose content we choose to consume on social media, for deception can come even through humor. 2) We must remember that our Christian witness and identity are now who we are in the world, no matter our earthly identities and professions and we should be much more eager to represent that identity over any other. 3) We can never feel guilty for being too deep for the things of God, for that is the gift of discernment at work, guiding us out of sin and error and into all truth.
If I’m honest, I knew good and well I should have unfollowed Kevin at least since his commentary on the Tasha Cobbs/Nicki Minaj collaboration, but I struggled with the thought that I was overreacting, and I assumed that I could simply self-filter his content. But I, myself, was compromising! Yet, I certainly now repent for ignoring that conviction for so long, and I recognize my own error for attempting to suffer his content all that time. And, so, I’ve finally unfollowed KevOnStage, which I’m sure may seem too deep or perhaps even petty of me to the undiscerning. Yet my convictions simply weren’t going to allow me to continue to follow him as I follow Christ.