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Jason Fredericks: Life Goes On

Jason and Kevin Fredericks [source: Facebook]
I first learned about Jason Fredericks from viewing videos on YouTube such as “How To Shout In A Black Church” by the comedic group known as the Playmakers (consisting of Jason, his brother Kevin and their friend Anthony Davis).  Later on I became more acquainted with his individual style of comedy through a Periscope line up that he, Kevin and their friends Cheryce Thompson and Sheri Anderson would do when Periscope was a huge craze and Facebook/Instagram Live were ideas for the future. You may know him from social media as well or if you have ever conducted any scheduling for Kevonstage, chances are you have communicated with Jason. Jason Fredericks is much more than a comedian, a writer, a businessman and the brother of Kevonstage. He is a husband, father, basketball coach and a cancer survivor.

On July 12, 2017 Jason took to social media asking for prayer stating “I’m going in for a biopsy today. They are checking for a cancer in my bone marrow called Multiple Myeloma. If you see this post stop and say a quick prayer for your boy. Thank you. I appreciate it.” Twelve days later he shared an update that there was cancer found in his plasma and it was attacking his bones. He had stage three cancer and was looking at six months of chemotherapy treatments and a possible bone marrow transplant. But let’s rewind a bit and go behind the social media updates and find out exactly how things unfolded.

For months upon months Jason suffered from back pain. He sought professional assistance for his back pain from the chiropractor and massage therapist. He went to appointment after appointment and finally relief was occurring after a year. As life would have it, Jason and his son, Julian a.k.a. JuJu, were involved in a car accident. Due to complaints of headaches from his son they made a trip to the emergency room to be examined, as a precaution. He went to get a quick check up because of a car accident, but that quickly changed. After medical examination for both Jason and his son the doctor advised that Julian was well but expressed concern with Jason’s X-rays. Jason’s bones appeared as bones of a man sixty years of age or older. The doctor could see that Jason was not an elder gentleman but 37 years of age and wanted to do more examination on him. After additional X-rays and an MRI the doctor advised Jason that they needed to admit him to the hospital. At this point Jason grew curious of what was happening and asked the doctor if the situation was truly serious enough where hospital admission was necessary.

Jason receiving his treatment (photo courtesy of Jason Fredericks)

At that moment, in front of his son, Jason learned that the back trouble he was experiencing for over a year was due to his bones eroding and he could have cancer. He was immediately admitted to the hospital and unknown to him at the time, he was admitted to the oncology floor of the facility.

When asked about his initial reaction to his diagnosis Jason thought about his health practices and actions over the years. He stated “I questioned why it had to happen to me and I didn’t know how to deal with it.” Multiple Myeloma is not typically a form of cancer that young adults are diagnosed with, but more commonly diagnosed to older individuals. Jason, just as many others, was living his life with an understanding that life is what it is and he would do everything he could to make the best of it and eventually, one day when he is old God would take him on to heaven. With this bombshell announcement in his life he was now open to a new outlook on life.

Everyone handles things differently and when it came to how to handle this news he made a decision to share with his followers and friends via social media. It was not for attention. “I didn’t want it to be one of those things where something happened to me and later down the road people say it came out of the blue,” said Jason. He knew from the onset that there would be a testimony and from the moment he began to share on social media, in regards to his medical diagnosis, he received much more encouragement, testimonies and prayers than he anticipated and for that he is grateful.

Jason has pulled from his faith and scripture to help get him through this new journey. One scripture he referenced during the interview was Luke 22:42 when Jesus prayed for God to take the cup from him just before he was crucified and in his next breath a prayer of acceptance that if it was God’s will, so be it. Jason has grown to see Multiple Myeloma as his cross to bare and he will try his best to work through it. 

“It [cancer] has strengthened a lot my relationships with my family. It has put a lot of things in perspective of what matters and what doesn’t matter,”said Jason. His time with his wife, children and other family hold more value than it did before because he treats each moment as if it may be the last time that he can have with them. Not because he doesn’t believe he won’t live a long life, but because immortality is more of a reality to him now than it was before he received his diagnosis.

“I don’t understand why it had to happen to me, but I thank God for giving me the strength to endure everything that’s been going on with me.” While Jason wouldn’t choose to go through life with this experience, for whatever reason he is and he wants God to get the glory.

Fredericks On Stage

Mr. and Mrs. Kevin and Melissa Fredericks are better known on social media as KevOnStage and MrsKevOnStage.  They moved their young family to Los Angeles, California in the latter part of 2013 and since that time their lives have taken off on the course they hoped it would. While Kevin still participates as a PlayMaker his popularity as an individual has grown tremendously. Kevin is well known as a social media comedic personality and his family has been brought on the scene as well. His beautifully spirited wife, Melissa, and two sons Isaiah and Josiah, known as Zay Zay and JoJo, have taken social media by storm.  You have probably seen the family on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and who knows where else. As of this month they can be seen in a family movie titled “The Family Exchange.” Don’t be fooled by the fact that you see them on Periscope several times a day. As Melissa stated during the interview, “they couldn’t be more regular.”

– Meet the Fredericks –

The couple does everything that you or I would do for ourselves. They do not have staff to take care of their day to day needs. They go grocery shopping, fix their own food, and work full time jobs. They were recently excited to participate as presenters for Career Day at their children’s school. Melissa is a Contract Administrator for an Aerospace Company, and Kevin works for All Def Digital – Head of Unscripted Content, under the direction of Russell Simmons.  So you see, they don’t spend EVERY waking moment of their day in front of the camera. Surprised? I was truly surprised. I definitely get several notifications a day for Kevin being on Periscope by himself, one of the boys or he and Melissa. I am sure that many of you have laughed countless times at the video commentary, reenactments, and social media posts that appear on your media outlets. Viewers are able to feel as though they are truly involved in the day to day lives of this family.

There can be many pros and cons to becoming more and more popular. When asking Kevin and Melissa about how they handle allotting family time, Kevin mentioned how he makes sure that even though he is on the road quite a bit for stand up comedy, he blocks out time for family holidays and celebrations. They even have a house rule of no cell phones at the table to allow for communication among each other. For Melissa, with the family being in front of the camera so much, it is the moments without a camera around to capture that are becoming more important.

But, Melissa is not sure that she and Kevin sees themselves as everyone else sees them. She’s just Melissa Fredericks at her job. So it’s still awkward for her to see the excitement that people have when she does something such as commenting on another individual’s status. She wants to remain grounded, even when it comes to raising her children in the star cast city of L.A. She mentions a time when the boys were on set and the items that were available to eat weren’t quite what they wanted at the time. The staff offered to go and get whatever the boys wanted and Melissa let them know that they will eat what is there or they won’t eat. She didn’t say it to be cruel to her children, but she wants them to learn how the real world works. As parents they are not going to train their children to believe that life caters. Melissa continues to be sure to remind herself and her children that they are regular people with a dream and they are trying to make it just like the next person.

-Faith On Fleek-

The family as a whole is strongly influenced by their faith and relationship with God. As if it weren’t obvious that their beliefs influence the videos that Kevin creates from his take on Christian road rage to exemplifying a press conference by a preacher after service. There have even been times when lucrative opportunities have been turned down because they conflict with their beliefs. The Fredericks would rather go without the opportunity than to put their relationship with God in jeopardy all for the sake of money.

While they realize that God is a part of their lives it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a part of everyone else’s.  The boys, Isaiah and Josiah, recently experienced not being able to allow their classmates to preview a trailer for their latest film, “The Family Exchange,” because the movie mentions God and that is against policy for separation of religion in the school. Their parents took that time to let them know that it is more important to live their lives for God on a daily basis so others around them can be drawn to Christ by the example they show. Kevin said it best, “allow your beliefs and relationship with God to be your north star to your compass.”

– The Dream in Action –

The Fredericks continue to adapt to life in sunny California. During the interview Melissa stated that God has blessed them to be where they are and believe that he will continue to bless them for the future. The move to Los Angeles, California was one of faith and planning. The boys’ careers were taking off and with the dream of taking the fame from YouTube to another level Kevin and Melissa packed it up and headed south from their home in Washington. Their h in God is the guiding light to the choices they make.  Melissa recalls moments when she knew God’s hand had definitely been on their lives. Too many testimonies to tell but Melissa did mention a few. It was six months from the time the Fredericks family moved to Los Angeles until Melissa became employed. Kevin went to Russell Simmons to pitch a movie that never came to fruition and ended up getting a job. A testimony of true faith in a dream is when Kevin had the idea to write a movie and use crowd funding. “When Kevin has an idea, it’s not too much time between thought and action,” says Melissa. After six weeks with the goal being nowhere near met, all of a sudden in one weekend Kevin met and surpassed his goal. As Melissa asks Kevin during the sharing of this season of their lives she asked if he thought he would reach $10,000 and Kevin responds, “Of course.” Melissa follows by explaining, “Kevin is dream big or go home and meanwhile I was definitely shaken.” She recognizes that they have a good balance of dreamer and realist between the two of them. While she may plan for the worst case scenario he inspires her to dream a little.

Because of the dreamer and the realist,  a wonderful, family friendly movie with a great message has been released this month. Within the first few days of posting about the film releasing for there were already quite a few orders. The Fredericks understand that at the end of the day the people who watch them on social media do not ‘know’ them personally. They appreciate the hard earned money being donated to support Kevin’s dream to create the movie and not only to create it but now people are purchasing the movie and donating more than the purchase price.

Don’t be quick to put the family in a box quite yet. There are more than several items you can purchase from Kevin’s website, from videos to attire and accessories. Kevin and Melissa have even written a book for married couples, so ladies go ahead and give it a read. The title is 25 Steps For A Healthy Marriage. Melissa expressed a desire to write another book targeted to women to remind themselves that they are a woman who needs to be taken care of in addition to them being a wife and a mother. When asking Melissa if she considered herself funny she chuckled and stated, “I have funny moments, but I am definitely far from a comedian.” Hence many of the times when Melissa is seen on screen it is for conversations about real life topics, especially marriage. Melissa’s passion is to inspire women. “It’s helpful to me and therapeutic to me to help people going through similar situations,” said Melissa. If you don’t follow her on Periscope, you should. She makes the extra effort to not only speak from the experiences she has, but also from many books that have been read as well. She would rather be in front of a group than the camera but understands with the platform that she is blessed to have through Kevin, she can utilize the opportunity to share real moments from their lives with those who will watch and listen.

– Word to the Wise –

Their message to you, our readers, is to dream. “Dream, plan, move in faith. I think those are three key components to anyone living successfully in their dream,” said Melissa. So dream, please dream. But along with your dream make strategic plans for your faith move.