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Kirk Franklin’s Son Has Us Facing Generational Toxicity Head-On, And Whew.

We've all been spoken to this way at some point, but is that OK?

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The Black community is special in many ways, ways I couldn't possibly have enough time to list. We make the most out of all situations, no matter how traumatic, and we can find the humor in just about anything. We have our special code for existing, a practice that dates back to slavery when slaves would often figure out other forms of communication to prevent inclusion of their masters. Ugh, I hate the word “masters". But anyway.

Because of this, we have also (mostly) experienced toxic parenting in some form.

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Hear me out.

Kerrion Franklin, 32, the son of gospel phenomenon Kirk Franklin, recently revealed a viral, explicit back-and-forth between himself and the award-winning recording artist on social media, which allegedly revealed threatening words from father to son. The call went absolutely apeshit on Al Gore's internet, opening Pandora's Box from the rooter to the tooter, causing all of us to have the conversation of what's normal and what's plain ole toxic. The Instagram post was captioned:

"This is why I'm done. No father should speak to their children like this. If I have any issues it's because of this type of treatment that I deal with behind closed doors."

According to the caption, the argument was not a thing of the past. He continued:

"Hanging up in my face, No apology, no compassion, no effort. Stop telling me to go home to my family I don't even know where they live. I don't think I'll ever trust my father to be alone around him ever again. I didn't want to do this. I probably won't release the entire recording because it's too embarrassing that I'm even dealing with this. No matter what ppl think I pray my dad deals with his deep hatred toward me. I don't feel safe around him at all. This recording is recent it is not from 2018 just to clarify. I'm going to learn from these experiences, live my life in peace and make beautiful art."

Watch the clip below:

Since, Kirk has publicly apologized, saying:

"Recently my son and I had an argument that he chose to record. I felt extremely disrespected in that conversation and I lost my temper and I said words that are not appropriate and I am sincerely sorry to all of you. I sincerely apologize."
      Additionally, Franklin says during that conversation he got their family therapist on the phone to try and help with the situation, though he says his son did not play that part of the conversation.
      "I'm not perfect. I'm human and I'm gonna make mistakes and I'm trying to get it right. Please keep me and your family in your prayers."

      But Franklin may have been a hair too late as the fire had already started.

      Many were cracking jokes about the situation:

      Twitter

      They instantly came to the defense of Kirk, refusing to entertain the conversation of "canceling" him. After all, most of us understand this type of conversation in some form.

      But, for some, they simply wanted to know, "why is this normal?"

      Twitter

      I think back to a conversation that I had on the matter where a gentleman straight up labeled this sort of behavior toward children as abuse, which I agreed with. He then went on to say that parents who speak to their children this way are bad people and bad parents—black and white, no in between.

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      This caused me to go from agreeing with him about this type of behavior not being the best form of parenting, to angrily defending my parents, which—get this—is a form of Stockholm Syndrome (a classic case of psychological trauma). Hey, don't shoot the messenger.

      As a generation, are we abused? Have we all been placed under a scope of trauma that we have no idea we're facing? Did Kerrion hold a mirror up to the Black community?

      And most importantly, are we all equally fucked up because of this, and too focused on humor as a coping mechanism to even realize it?

      Let's talk about it.

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      Featured image via Kirk Franklin/Instagram

      Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

      A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

      “The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

      A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

      Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

      Amira Unplugged / MTV

      In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

      Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

      To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

      She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

      As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

      A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

      Amira Unplugged

      Amira Unplugged / MTV

      Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

      Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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