YouTube comedian Kev On Stage apologizes to Black cosplayer for past insult
Called out for an old video mocking a plus-size Black cosplayer, YouTuber Kev On Stage apologized just as loudly as he initially offended.
Comedian and actor Kevin Fredericks, better known as YouTube personality Kev On Stage, became a viral sensation online due to his relatable humor and social commentary. However, not everyone has been laughing.
Earlier this week, a Black plus-size cosplayer under the moniker MidnightPursona reminded her followers of a moment Fredericks made a video making fun of her cosplaying Chun-Li from the “Street Fighter” video game franchise.
“Today I was reminded how years ago a Black man made fun of me on his very popular [YouTube] channel for cosplaying Chun-Li,” she tweeted.
She recalled Fredericks calling her “Chunk-Li” as he featured her in his “funny video reel,” and discredited her ability to pull off certain moves the Chun-Li character is known for. She said the incident “caused [her] to never wanna cosplay [Chun-Li] again.”
In a subsequent tweet, MidnightPursona added, “Back then, that video, though it probably meant nothing to him and his fans, really made me feel terrible. For other people, it’s a quick laugh, but for me, it really made me feel like I was too dark and fat to cosplay anyone I truly loved. However, I’m a spiteful cosplayer.” She further noted that she shared the memory to demonstrate how a person can get past a “dark moment,” and to inspire other Black and plus-size cosplayers experiencing similar hate and bullying.
Unexpectedly, MidnightPursona ended up getting a direct apology from Fredericks that was potentially as loud as his original offense.
“I would like to personally apologize for making that video,” Fredericks began in a reply. “It’s embarrassing to see what I thought passed for being ‘funny’ back then. So I can only imagine how those hurtful words landed on you then.”
Fredericks explained that as he launched his online persona, he was making three to four videos a day, trying to build his following. He admitted he didn’t think of how his words could impact the actual people he often featured in his videos.
He added how much he hated her description of him as “a bully, idiot, and troll,” yet how “absolutely correct” that description was of him at the time. While the specific timeframe is unconfirmed, Fredericks’ tweets suggested the incident occurred about a decade ago. “Thankfully, I am not [the] same person now. But I want to apologize for who I was.”
“I’ve learned a lot in the  years since this video,” he wrote in a later tweet. “I’ll learn a lot more in the next  years. I want to be better for Black women and part of that is accepting and taking accountability for when I did them harm.”
“I have since learned more about fatphobia, misogynoir, intersectionality, and being anti-black,” he said, adding: “I have matured in many of those aspects (with much more to learn) but that doesn’t negate how that video made you feel. And for that, I am truly sorry.”
Wishing her well, Fredericks congratulated MidnightPursona on her continued success, thanked her for the opportunity to hold himself accountable, and warned his fans not to harass her, tweeting:
“If you’re a fan of mine, you don’t need to defend me because I was wrong. The whole point of aging is to grow and learn and be better.”
Fredericks’ change of heart reflects a bigger sea change in Black representation. From increasing amounts of Black cosplayers online to the launch of the annual Black Nerd Convention known as Blerdcon, a greater acceptance and platform for cosplay among Black and brown people is being fostered.
Attitudes are also changing concerning what passes for comedy. Many comedians and famous folks from different walks of life have come under fire for past and current jokes and statements about marginalized communities. Some have embraced a more contemporary standard; others far less so. It’s become almost routine for veteran comedians like Dave Chappelle to deflect from offensive speech by bemoaning “cancel culture.” Therefore, many found it refreshing to see Fredericks admit he was wrong, explain what he’s learned, and apologize in the same public forums as the initial offense. His apology even surprised MidnightPursona.
“If I’m being very honest, I really didn’t expect you to say anything or even notice my post,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet. “I really do appreciate you taking the time to write me an apology. I’m happy you worked on yourself and took the time to learn. Thank you, this is very appreciated.”
Kay Wicker is a lifestyle writer for theGrio covering health, wellness, travel, beauty, fashion, and the myriad ways Black people live and enjoy their lives. She has previously created content for magazines, newspapers, and digital brands.
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