Kirk Franklin: ‘I’m never going to stop trying to help my son’
The gospel superstar says that he'll never stop helping his firstborn son after a call leaked of a profane exchange between the two
Kirk Franklin says that his grown, firstborn son Kerrion is troubled and that is what led to the profane conversation between them that was exposed to the world when Kerrion recorded it and posted it to social media.
Franklin, 51, and his wife, Tammy, who is not Kerrion’s mother, appeared on The Tamron Hall Show Wednesday in a planned appearance about gospel music stars. Instead of talking about Franklin’s career, the couple discussed their challenges with Kerrion, 32, who is from a previous relationship and is the oldest of Franklin’s four children.
Franklin told Hall that his son had become “increasingly aggressive” in their interactions as he got older and that Kerrion has been in therapy for 20 years. The gospel star, who has been open about his own personal challenges including a porn addiction some years ago, says that he and his wife and Kerrion’s mother, Shawn Ewing, have collaborated in supporting him.
But as the call revealed, that has not always gone smoothly. Franklin threatened to put a ‘foot in his son’s a—‘ told him he would ‘break his neck’ and said ‘Don’t you ever disrespect me.’ He now says that the conversation was a part of ongoing problems between the two.
“Early on, Tammy, Shawn [Ewing] and myself, we started to realize that there needed to be some deeper help with things that was happening with our son and so when he was a teenager, we started him in therapy and counseling and we’ve had him in and out of counseling and therapy for over 20 years, and as Kerrion became a grown man, when he became a grown man, his disrespect became more aggressive…,” a visibly sad-looking Franklin told Hall, with his wife at his side.
“So you know this is them that we’ve been trying to rally for years to try to help and like I said now that he’s about to be 33 as a grown man the relationship at times can become very agitated and very frustrated…but I’m not going to stop trying to help, you know, he’s my son. He’s my son, he’s my firstborn, and I never want him to feel what I felt not having a father. So even though it gets tense and tight when he calls from time to time I will answer his call, even though I expect it to sometimes kind of derail. It’s important for me because what if that call is the call that things change. So I never know. And I never want to give up.”
While some believe that the incident should have remained a private family matter, Franklin apologized to his fans for the language he used in the call with his son and wanted to clear up any allegations or speculations that he has abused him in the past.
“I’m confident that his mother, myself, Tammy, my family, there’s never been anything physical that concerns me, or even makes me uncomfortable because I know the truth, he knows the truth, and I love him and as a grown man I am still this dad and when it becomes aggressive, I still have to have a level of respect, I got to have – I’m still your daddy. And you – there’s still got to be respect and there can’t be levels of disrespect but I’m confident that there hasn’t been any physical abuse. I mean, we’ve had therapy and counseling sessions and documentation long enough to know that the deeper issue is, we’ve been just trying to help our son…”
The conflict continues to play out across social media as fans noted that Kerrion is missing in Franklin’s most recent Christmas picture.
On his own Instagram page, Kerrion continues to allege he was abused and seemingly addressed the omission in the Christmas photo, posting a pic of a Jet cover saying that was the last time he was allowed to take a pic with his family.
“I am breaking the generational curse right now,” Kerrion posted, among allegations that he’s been silenced and excluded. “
“14 years not one Dinner, not one cozy Sunday night together. Not invited over for Christmas or any holiday. I am sick of threatening words CONSTANTLY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. I have earned the space to speak how I please about my childhood. None of you have walked in my shoes,” he posted.
Franklin’s wife Tammy, who has been married to him since 1996, chimed in, echoing that Kerrion has been troubled since she says junior high.
She told Hall: “Well, you know I wasn’t a part of the conversation as my husband has expressed although there have been some people who assume that I was. I can tell you that it has been a very hard and difficult situation with our family for years to the point where my husband has to have someone on the phone to help, because it has become that combustible, I would say. Even the counselor got on the phone that day, there were apologies exchanged, there was a desire to continue or, start back, I would say, counseling.”
On his part, Kerrion says that his parents are using the media to gain sympathy.
“What time am I supposed to watch more manipulation tomar ?” he posted on his Instagram account the day the The Tamron Hall Show aired. “Toxic is when they can’t leave you alone but still won’t treat you right x I am against #ParentalAbuse #Period I said I was Done and I’m standing on it. He does not respect me and I don’t feel safe around him. Still not one phone call. I am not going to call. This is supposed to be a private matter yet my parents are running to the public to play victim.”
At this point, it appears that the rift between father and son is ongoing but hopefully will be resolved away from the public eye.
You can watch a clip from The Tamron Hall Show interview here.
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