We’ll All Be Free: UrbanFaith x Caroline Sumlin

We’ll All Be Free: UrbanFaith x Caroline Sumlin

Many of us battle for self-worth in a world that is constantly bombarding us with messages that we are not enough. But author Caroline Sumlin argues that the enemy we are fighting is not just our own thoughts, but the insidious nature of white supremacy and the ways it impacts our society. UrbanFaith Editor Allen Reynolds interviewed influencer and author Caroline Sumlin about her new book We’ll All Be Free which confronts white supremacy’s assault on our self worth no matter what our background is, and shares ways we can liberate ourselves, each other, and seek healing. The book is available everywhere. The full interview is above, excerpts below have been edited for clarity and length. More about the book is below.



Hello, Urban Faith. It is a joy and a pleasure to be with just an awesome person someone who I’ve known for a long time who is doing work as an Instagram influencer as an author now that is Caroline Sumlin. And she has written a new book, We’ll All Be Free about dismantling white supremacy talking about self-worth. Why is it that you think it’s important that we deal with these difficult and tough issues?



I think we can see the impacts of not having the tough conversations on our society. Even taking white supremacy aside, when we talk about going to therapy or we talk about dealing with mental health, we talk about trauma. We talk about those tough things. One of the most basic ways that parents sometimes explain emotions to children… is that they’re like farts. Kids don’t have any inhibitions to keep things in because they know it feels good to let out the burp, to pass gas, to cry, to get angry, to stomp our feet, right? They live and then guess what happens? They feel better because they release that stuff. As adults, we are conditioned to keep things inside, to be ashamed of it, to be ashamed of our humanity. And then what happens? The anger happens, right? The crippling and debilitating mental health [issues] happen. I could go on to name things. I mean, I even think the rise in gun violence, all of that is connected to the fact that we are not dealing with what’s going on inside, both individually, but also systemically. The culture we have created has magnified a society of people that are walking around with a lot of anger, with a lot of hurt, with a lot of unworthiness that they don’t realize is going on. Then we wonder why we see what we see in society. And I understand that people would also argue well having the conversations can also lead to “division.” And I would argue back that the reason why we see division when we have these conversations is because we have been conditioned to be defensive. We’ve been conditioned to ignore certain things and as a result we haven’t been [healthy]… But that’s all the more reason to keep going and to keep fighting and say, “Hey, we can get healthy. It takes work.” You know, no one goes to therapy and comes out smiling every day. You’re going to go to therapy and you’re going to come out with tears. You’re going to come out with anger. You may have to process some things that may feel uncomfortable at first, but then the burden starts to lift off your shoulders and it does get better. I do believe in pushing and continuing to have the conversation. I do believe that there will be a positive ending, but sometimes the messy middle is just necessary.




You have that chapter on hustle culture and how that’s tied to white supremacy. Can you just talk a little bit about that?



Yeah, absolutely. I have an entire chapter on this because it is one of the biggest ways that white supremacy culture shows up in our daily lives. Are the entire idea of the American dream and the message that we are given as young children that if you just work hard enough and you just go to college and you’ll be able to achieve this ideal life in America, you’ll be able to buy a house, you’ll be able to have your family, you’ll be able to afford certain things and you’ll have that American dream. Over time that American dream has become a lot higher, a lot narrower. It used to be that middle class and now it’s gone beyond that at this point because again with the white supremacy culture, the standard is always moving. But I wanted to make sure that the readers were able to understand again the roots in that. I wanted to look at where [this idea comes] from where we have to achieve to be worthy. What [is] the definition of achievement, what the definition of success is, where did that come from? What is the definition of professionalism? Where does elitism come from? Where are all these different beliefs? Even the way that we look at intellect and how we score ourselves. All these things have roots, they have backgrounds. Even the economic decisions and how we’ve gotten to the point of having this free market and why again those decisions were being made.

I was able to tie all of that to racist ideas, systemic racism, white supremacy. The ideal in our country is that whiteness should always be the standard, should always be what rules the country, should always be what leads the country, should always be what’s in charge. And to be successful, you have to assimilate to that. And that comes from, again, decisions that were being made based on ensuring that there was a racial hierarchy. Creating these standards in education, these standards in professionalism, these standards in our careers to ensure that that hierarchy always maintains. If you happen to be a person of color and you happen to kind of ascend higher than what, you know, the status quo says that you’re supposed to be as a person of color, well, you had to assimilate quite a bit and you had to make sure that you essentially connect yourself or tie yourself to whiteness in order to get there. And then if you happen to be a white person, there still is the fact of the matter is the standards of whiteness are also very inhuman. They go against our natural rhythms. We’ve been conditioned to believe that going against our human rhythms, being very industrial, being very work on the clock 24/7, all those things kind of tying back to again the plantation and then the industrial revolutions, all those things [tie] to where we are now. We’re conditioned to think that that’s like normal and it’s not. Even the way that we have constructed a society to ensure that black indigenous and people of color are at the bottom, it still affects everybody because now everyone is tied to this hustle mentality, this work around the clock mentality in order to make something of yourself, in order to prove yourself worthy, in order to prove yourself to be really more white, so to speak. So that America and the western world approves of you. I could go on and on and on, which, which is why I wrote the book.


What advice would you give to the young girl, the young person who’s trying to find their self-worth in this culture that’s telling them that they’re not as valuable?


To understand that the standards that you are being told you [must] measure up to were constructed for a reason and they were constructed not because of who you are but of maintaining that hierarchy of whiteness. So, to understand that it’s really not you. Like if you think you’re constantly swimming upstream and you’re working against a current and you just can’t figure out quite what is wrong with [you], why am I always exhausted? Why am I always trying to measure up to something? Why am I always looking in the mirror and saying something is wrong with me? It is because you’re being fed these messages left and right from every corner of society to try to tell you, “Hey, you’re not worthy,” so you can spend more money, so you can keep trying harder, so you can keep assimilating, so that white supremacy can continue to be maintained. And it’s not you. It’s them. And of course, you have to still live in this world. I wish we could just take a remote and just kind of turn it off. But unfortunately, that doesn’t work that way. And I think just knowing where it comes from and knowing that you can say no to believing those things and choosing a different route in how you approach life, I think is extremely freeing. I think the knowing the roots of it [is freeing], even if you still have to play the game a little bit. Because everyone’s gonna have to play the game a little bit, especially in the workplace. I’m not saying just, go tomorrow and start just doing things differently because you might lose your job. But I’m saying at least you know the roots of something, and you can say, “Okay. I know that it’s not me. I know that society is set up like this and I don’t have to measure my worth against this.”



What message would you give for the church about how to confront white supremacy?


Stop being afraid to talk about it, stop being afraid to have the meetings about it and looking at how you are perpetuating white supremacy in your congregations. This is not something to be afraid of. This is not something that is against Jesus. This is something that Jesus, I believe, would be for. He would be for dismantling any system that oppresses anybody else. This is the work of Jesus. And again, it doesn’t have to be simply marching in the streets when another black person is killed or there’s another racist injustice that we see. That’s important, but it is perpetuated in our boardrooms. It’s perpetuated within leadership, and it’s perpetuated with misogyny. It’s perpetuated when you refuse to play any other worship songs in your church besides a certain group that doesn’t have any people of color in it. Let’s be real. And then you dismiss somebody that wants something else because that’s not the only way to worship. There are simple ways that white’s supremacy is perpetuated, and they all need to be talked about and confronted so that every single human being that walks through your church doors feels like they are home and welcomed there and don’t have to be on edge because they’re a person of color. But again, not even just that, for everybody because my book is We’ll All Be Free, and I make it very clear that my book is written for everybody. White supremacy harms us all. It causes all of us to deal with feeling unworthy in some type of way. And so, looking at how you’re perpetuating it is the first step to dismantling it and it’s not a conversation to be scared of. It’s not work to be scared of. It’s work that is freeing.


Marriage Be Hard: Interview with @Kevonstage and @Mrskevonstage

Marriage Be Hard: Interview with @Kevonstage and @Mrskevonstage

Marriage is one of the most important institutions in the lives of believers. Unfortunately it is rarely spoken about beyond the headlines of culture wars in the news or as the excuse some believers hide real conversations about sex behind. A lot of believers have a hard time keeping it real about how hard it is to be married. Kevin and Melissa Fredericks, aka KevOnStage and MrsKevOnStage, rarely hold back on keeping it real in conversations.

With over a million followers on social media (which don’t happen for church folks), they are some of the most busy and influential believers on the internet. Their authenticity and creativity have helped them connect with the “churchy” and unchurched alike. But like all married folks they have had challenges in life and in marriage. Their new book Marriage Be Hard is a candid look at their marriage and the lessons they have learned along the way through reflection, therapy, The Love Hour podcast and real work. They hope to help couples everywhere to get past “just making it” in marriage to thriving through their insights.

UrbanFaith sat down with Kevin and Melissa to talk about their journey and their book. The full interview is above, more information on the book is below.



Discover the keys to upholding your vows while staying sane in this hilariously candid guide to relationships, from the husband-and-wife team of comedian Kevin Fredericks and influencer Melissa Fredericks

Growing up, Kevin and Melissa Fredericks were taught endless rules around dating, sex, and marriage, but not a lot about what actually makes a relationship work. When they first got married, they felt alone—like every other couple had perfect chemistry while the two of them struggled. There were conversations that they didn’t know they needed to have, fears that affected how they related to each other, and seasons of change that put their marriage to the test.

Part of their story reads like a Christian fairytale: high school sweethearts, married in college, never sowed any wild oats, with two sons and a thriving marriage. But there’s another side of their story: the night Melissa kicked Kevin out of her car after years of communication problems, the time early in their marriage when Kevin bordered on an emotional affair, the way they’ve used social media and podcasts to conduct a no-holds-barred conversation about forbidden topics like jealousy, divorce, and how to be Christian and sex positive. (Because, as Kevin writes, “Your hormones don’t care about your religious beliefs. Your hormones want you to subscribe to OnlyFans.”)

UrbanFaith x Tabitha Brown

UrbanFaith x Tabitha Brown

Tabitha Brown is one of the most recognizable people on the planet right now. She is a multifaceted entertainer and entrepreneur producing everything from social media content to TV shows, haircare products to food seasonings, clothes and games. She is also a person of deep faith. UrbanFaith contributor Maina Mwaura had a few minutes with Tabitha to ask how she does what she does and how she feels living into God’s call for her life. The interview is above, more about Tabitha is below.

What Had Happened Was: An Interview with Chaz Smith

What Had Happened Was: An Interview with Chaz Smith

Chaz Smith is a viral content creator who has millions of followers on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and more. He has been producing viral comedy shorts for over a decade, making him one of the veterans to social media content creation. But he is not just funny, he is also faithful. He is now using his God-given platform to produce a new kind of content…Bible stories. His new venture What Had Happened Was is an animated series telling Bible Stories on YouTube and other social channels that will be available for people everywhere for free. He is beginning with the Book of Daniel which launches next year. In order to get the series across the finish line and available for free he has launched a kickstarter to crowd fund the project. UrbanFaith editor Allen Reynolds sat down with Chaz to discuss the project, his faith, and how we can keep that same energy sharing the good news as believers. The interview is above, more about Chaz Smith and the series is below. Contribute to his kickstarter here to help this show come to life!


At its core, WHHW bridges the gap between the world of entertainment, history, pop culture, comedy, and the Bible. In its first season, WHHW will retell the Biblical story of Daniel. The eight episode miniseries will highlight Daniel’s royal lineage, captivity, and how he was forced to serve foreign kings in a distant country. As the story unfolds, viewers will watch how Daniel and his friends encountered threats that challenged everything they believed in, but their actions ultimately ended up impacting the course of human history. In addition to the first season, WHHW is slated to include at least two more, which will depict the lives of Joseph and Esther.

“My hope is that WHHW will bring the stories in the Bible to life in a way that they’ve never been seen before. My aim is to combat the difficulty some have while reading the Bible,” said Smith. I want to tell the stories in a way that’s funny, smart, and easy to understand without bending the truth or watering anything down. WHHW is a blend of memes, pop culture, cartoon and anime references, engaging storytelling, historical and cultural context, and high quality animation. Whether episodes of WHHW are watched alone, with friends, or with family, I want to create something that uses the stories in the Bible to ultimately help people see who God is from a completely different perspective.”


I’m Chaz, and I love making people laugh! I’ve been a content creator since 2013, and gained millions of followers and hundreds of millions of views across all social media platforms, but storytelling is where my heart is really at. I’ve been committed to creating uplifting content that brings joy to people. For the past 2 years, I’ve been working on my latest project, What Had Happened Was. The series is a colorfully animated, comedically narrated web series, dedicated to retelling biblical stories in an entertaining, insightful, and simple way for people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. WHHW serves as an intersection of my experience in the social media space, heart for storytelling, love for animation & desire to produce quality entertainment content for this generation. This project means so much to me because it’s far bigger than me. I see this as an opportunity to use stories and laughter to help the people of this generation make sense of the world––and who we are.



Why You Should Stop Posting Meme Photos on Facebook

It used to be that you had to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic to be exposed to sarcastic, misleading, and — fine, I’ll admit it — occasionally entertaining slogans about politics and spirituality.

No longer is this the case.

If you use Facebook with any kind of regularity, you’ve probably witnessed photo memes popping up like dandelions. And you may have liked them. You might have shared them. You might have even created a few. But I implore you — please stop. You’re making it hard for real communication to take place on Facebook, which is one of the few places where people with radically different worldviews can engage in honest dialogue.

Don’t believe me? I offer several reasons, with examples:

Reason No. 1: They’re often inaccurate or misleading.

Exhibit A in our proceedings is this gem above rebuking Christians for focusing on the wrong things. Now the fact is, the underlying truth behind this is something that I believe in strongly — Christians should be known more for how we help the disenfranchised than for what political stands we take. But the actual statement is just not true. Plenty of Christians line up at food banks and homeless shelters all the time — so much so, in fact, that these days it fails to even qualify as news. But you’d never know it from this meme photo, which relies more on stereotypes than actual data.

And this image is just the tip of the iceberg. With the next big story involving a church or a Christian leader, there’ll be plenty more.

And even the ones that aren’t snarky in tone can be disingenuous. If they include any kind of statistical graph, for instance, they’re bound to manipulate or distort the truth in some way. After all, there’s a reason why Mark Twain referred to statistics as the worst form of lying. The best of these are usually large and thorough enough that they require full-screen viewing to accommodate all the details. But even these should be taken with a grain of salt.

And don’t even get me started on the photos-with-long-stories-as-captions, which are often just the same recycled urban legends from email forwards.

Reason No. 2: They exist primarily to amuse or incite people who already think like you do.

Let’s be honest. People don’t encounter these photos and say, “Wow, perhaps I’ve been wrong all these years, and my long-held political and/or religious beliefs are actually dangerous and wrong.”

It never happens because these aren’t designed to engage people who hold different views. Rather, their purpose is the same as much of the partisan-slanted media we see today — to reinforce your views and help you feel better about yourself for believing that way.

Now, I’m all for exercising free speech — but images have power. And as we know from Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. And if this were only a political issue, I might not be as concerned. But in today’s political climate, where being a Christian is still associated with being Republican, these photos are making it harder for unbelievers to see the truth of the gospel because of all the political baggage.

I believe that everyone, Christian or not, has a right to participate in the political process. But Paul told the church in Galatia to avoid letting their freedom become an excuse to indulge in their sinful nature. For many of us, sharing these photos is a way of sticking it to the people who we feel are “the problem.”

As citizens of a global community, this is wrong.

Reason No. 3: If not misleading or divisive, they’re often so generic as to be meaningless.

Because “if at first you don’t succeed” at motivating your friends, maybe there’s something missing.

And that something is context. Many of these inspirational quotes and images, if they were on my refrigerator, I might find really moving. But the thing is, they would only be there if I put them there. People self-select these things. You can’t pass out inspirational nuggets like candy and expect them to be effective. One person’s inspirational quote is another person’s cheesy platitude.

And finally…

Reason No. 4: They make it harder to enjoy actual photos taken by your actual Facebook friends.

No disrespect to George Takei, the Japanese-American Star Trek alumnus whose posts get shared like crazy by his millions of Facebook fans, but he’s not my Facebook friend.

I know that in today’s relational economy Facebook friendships are slightly more meaningful than people with whom you make eye contact in elevators … but still. With so many people in my Facebook feed, I find much more meaning and significance in the large and small details that my friends post about their lives. You know, babies, vacations, meals, costumes, graduations, etc. So by constantly sharing these photo memes, you’re cluttering your feed with stuff I’m not interested in.

Because that’s the point of Facebook, right? To make connections and enjoy relationships. So if you want to be someone who builds relationships across the cultural divide, do us all a favor and stop posting these photos.