FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Redefining Masculinity: Kevin “KB” Burgess & Ameen Hudson

with Ameen Hudson, Kevin “KB” Burgess | June 13, 2024
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Rapper Kevin “KB” Burgess and Ameen Hudson examine the critical causes and effects of the crisis of masculinity--and the kind of manhood that changes the world.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Rapper Kevin “KB” Burgess and Ameen Hudson examine the critical causes and effects of the masculinity crisis–and the kind of manhood that changes the world.

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Redefining Masculinity: Kevin “KB” Burgess & Ameen Hudson

With Ameen Hudson, Kevin “KB”...more
June 13, 2024
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Kevin: Your boys need to know not only that you love them, which is important; they need to know that you think that they’re strong. I remember there was one time in particular, I pushed him to do something he didn’t think he could do, and he did it. He walked up to me afterwards, and he said, “Daddy, you make me feel powerful.”

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Dave: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Seven or eight years ago, we were doing a marriage conference in Dallas. My buddy, Jon Kitna, who played for the Lions is now a coach for the Cowboys. He finds out we’re in Dallas for the weekend. They’re playing the Vikings on Sunday night, and [he] says, “Will you come over and do chapel for the Cowboys Saturday night?” “Yes, I’ll do it.”

I get a message together. I’m driving to the facility. Chapel’s in 20 minutes, and Jon calls me and says, “Hey, here’s what you need to talk about!” I say, “Dude, it’s 20 minutes from now.”

Ameen: Right, right!

Dave: “I’ve already got my thoughts together.” Then he said, “I’m a coach on this team. I know what this team needs. I’m telling you what to talk about.” I said, “Sorry, Jon. I’m not switching it. I can’t even write anything down. I’m driving.”

He said, “I’m telling you what to talk about. Your stuff on manhood is what this team needs. Talk about that.” I said, “Okay, I’ll figure something out.” So, I get there, and I get up, and my opening line was this: “I’ve been in an NFL locker room for 30 plus seasons. NFL locker rooms are full of boys and few men. Men win championships, and boys don’t. Let’s talk about what a man is.”

Kevin: Oooooohhhhh!

Dave: I could tell—everybody’s there. Dak’s there, Zeke’s there, everybody’s there, Jason Garrett’s  the coach. And I can tell when I said, “Locker rooms are full of boys, not men—” Now, the world outside of that locker room thinks, “Oh, NFL players are men.”

Kevin: Yes, yes, yes.

Ameen: Right.

Dave: But all of the guys in that room were looking at me like, “This dude knows. He knows we’re a bunch of boys. We don’t really know what manhood is.”

Anyway, we have Ameen and KB Burgess.

Ann: Ameen, what’s your last name?

Ameen: Hudson.

Dave: Hudson, that’s easy. So, let’s talk a little bit about manhood. [There are] a lot of listeners, a lot of parents, raising boys, [and] a lot of women that are interested in this whole thing. Where would you start?

Kevin: Man, that is a very hard question: “Where do you start?”

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: I think, if I had to take a stab at it, one, I think it’s important, like the sons of Issachar, to understand the times. Before you know what to do, you need to understand the times.

Ameen: Yes.

Dave: That’s good.

Kevin: I think it’s important to recognize that there is a boy crisis/a man crisis in this country right now, that actually spans across every western space on this planet.

Dave: Yes, yes.

Kevin: Last year, I preached a sermon on June 19th. I preached the sermon, and in the first six months of that year, there had been over 200 school shootings, and all of them were done by men or boys. All of them.

A brilliant author talked about how our response to that is, “Well, it’s the video games; it’s the family values; it’s the culture, issues at home.” But the author of The Boy Crisis [Warren Farrell] pointed out that our daughters are growing up in those exact same homes with those exact same video games, with those exact same family values, and they are not killing us. Our boys are.

In addition to that, our boys are taking their own lives.

Dave: Yes.

Kevin: It has outpaced any pandemic you can think of. We are leading the world, particularly young men, in taking our own lives. Put all of the wars together: World War II, Vietnam, the Civil War. We are outpacing them all in self-inflicted mortality.

Ann: That’s a pandemic in itself.

Ameen: It is.

Kevin: It is a pandemic.

Ann: Awful.

Ameen: Absolutely.

Kevin: And because all of life is politicized in ways that, perhaps, we’ve never seen before. I’m about to pass it to you; I know you speak—

Ameen: Yes, even you speaking to what is going on with men and our ability to be able to talk to it, or not being able to really say anything about it, because of the political discourse.

Kevin: Yes.

Ameen: I think that a big part of that is because the political discourse has become so polarized around several issues, gender in general, but then manhood being one of them. We’ve addressed things in culture like toxic masculinity, misogyny, sexism; all of those things are things that need to be addressed.

But you can’t really address the issue that is happening with men without it making men seem like victims, and then a certain political side will say, “Well, you all are just painting men to be victims,” so there’s no sympathy for men—

Kevin: —right, right. There’s no compassion.

Ameen: —because they run everything, and they’re ruining everything.

Kevin: Yes, yes, yes.

Ameen: But I think that, if we cannot have a public discourse where we can admit to and actually recognize the reality of the trouble that men and boys are in, then we cannot do anything about the actual problem that men and boys are facing. As you said, the self-mortality rate is high. Men have fallen very far behind women when it comes to college degrees.

Kevin: Fatherhood is also—

Ameen: —fatherhood is being impacted. So, all of those things. It’s awesome that we want to see women empowered, and we fight for that; but there’s also at the same time—both/and—there is a problem with men, and that problem is only going to get worse if we don’t address it.

Kevin: If you try to approximate a version of manhood that literally leaves Jesus out—we talk about this. There is a great book called The Warrior Poet Way [John Lovell], where there is this dynamic that God has called you to a level of strength. You have muscles in certain areas on purpose, okay? And the idea is that you would use that for the protection of the group.

Ameen: Right.

Kevin: There’s value in that.

Dave: Right.

Kevin: Valor is important.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: Hard work is important. Lifting heavy things—I’m not talking about the gym, I’m just talking about what The Boy Crisis talks about. It’s typically dudes on roofs, putting together houses in these dangerous jobs. Those things are important for our society, but if you think that just acting as a warrior and, oftentimes, it’s just a warrior in men’s minds—"I’m a warrior on Call of Duty when I’m playing PlayStation,” “I’m a warrior in the gym because I can drink a lot of protein.” “I am a fighter.”

Believe me when I tell you, you are not more dangerous because you have big muscles. Sometimes you’re less dangerous, actually; but the idea is that, if you try to center masculinity on just being this strong, warrior presence, you miss that there’s another side of what it means to be a man that is personified perfectly in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the 100 percent man. In that, I am strong, but I am also meek.

Ameen: Yes!

Kevin: I am generous, but I’m also faithful to my bride. I am wise, but I’m also able to be humble when told that I’m wrong. I feel emotions of righteous indignation. I’m ready and willing to march and to stand, but I also am ready and willing to listen. It’s a warrior/poet balance that, if it is not present in our men, we’re not solving our rank depression.

Studies are showing that men are not even talking to women anymore, so if I’m a young man trying to pursue a marriage, men aren’t doing it the regular ways in which men would normally do it, like, “Hey! My name is—.” [Laughter]

Ameen: Yes, right!

Kevin: Even that is being shut down.

Dave: Is that how you did it? “Hey.” [Laughter]

Ann: And they don’t even know how to do it.

Ameen: They don’t, for sure. That’s true. That’s very true.

Dave: They’re shooting a text or—it’s crazy.

Ann: Okay, so you have an eight- and nine-year-old boy, is that right, KB?

Kevin: I do. That is correct.

Ann: So, they’re being bombarded. Our world is bombarding these boys with these false images of what a true man is, a biblical, godly man.

Kevin: Right, right.

Ann: You’ve got the world pushing in on them. I’m thinking of all of our listeners with teenage boys.

Dave: Yes.

Ann: How do we go against that? We don’t want to be the parent—“Just take them to church,” like you guys grew up. What are you doing as a father?

Kevin: Absolutely, and it is perhaps my favorite thing to do in my life: to father my children. The biggest advice that I would give, at least what comes to mind right now—probably driving home, I’ll think of something better—[Laughter] but you can’t just simply say, “Don’t listen to these guys.” Right?

Dave and Ann: Yes.

Kevin: That is a part of it. You have to say some, “No! Certain voices will never be allowed in my home.” But one of my favorite preachers said that rules without relationship equals rebellion.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: So, if I am being given a set of fences, and I have no idea what these fences are for—you see, a fence exists to keep something out and to protect what’s in. What’s in? An actual home that we’ve built, that we’ve worked hard for to pay these bills and property taxes, and we have great lives and families here. There’s actually something beautiful inside the gate.

What I would say for my parents is that we want to be able to swipe away the foolishness of some of the things that are arising on these alternative views of what it means to be a man, but in our homes, we have to work hard to present a more beautiful, more glorious, more convincing, more perfect imagination of what it means to be a man in the way that I treat Michelle, in the way I care for her, the way I love her, the way I listen to her, the way in which I organize when I’m given tasks at my house.

I have a job there. I have a duty there. The way I carry that out [matters], in the way that I show that my manhood isn’t merely victories.

Ameen: Yes. [Laughter]

Kevin: This is what you see online. It’s private jets. It’s a harem of women—

Ameen: —a luxurious car.

Kevin: —which I would not call victory, but I’m just saying, you’ve been able to have these moments of success and opulence. One of the things that my family here at FamilyLife has been very gracious to me in [is] allowing us to leave a little bit early because my son has a performance tonight at school, and it’s really important for him that I am there, and I want to be there.

Last night, my son had a little breakdown, and he said simply, “I’m going to fail tomorrow.” I was reminded of a conversation I had with a brother a few months ago, when I was talking to him about how he wrestles with his children not wanting to attempt things unless they’re good at it.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: Yes, yes.

Kevin: This is what I’m saying. One of my boys in particular is like, “I’ll do it if I know I can kill it. If I’m not going to kill it, I’m not going through that process where I look silly for six months,” right?

Ann: Right.

Kevin: And I said to my friend, “I want them to know that they can fail.” My friend said to me, “Have they ever seen you fail?” I stepped back, and I thought, “Man, what they see from Daddy is awards and albums dropping.”

Ameen: Concerts.

Kevin: Concerts. They see victory, victory, victory, victory. I don’t think I’ve sat down with them and said, “You know, Daddy gets nervous every day; every day! You know Daddy sometimes is not sure if he knows what he’s doing, and sometimes he knows he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Right?

Ameen: Right.

Kevin: “You know that Daddy has moments where he weeps. Do you know that Daddy is not perfect?” And I had that convo with my son last night.

Ann: How did that go?

Kevin: I saw his little eyes open up. “Hold on. Hold on. So, you are like me?” “Yes, in some ways, I am you.” I definitely want to be a picture of where you need to go, but make no mistake, we are humans and that is what, I would argue, the prerequisite of the presence of God really being something that is honored as it should in your life when you realize your dependency on it.

Ameen: Yes.

Dave: You need your humanity. And if your children don’t see it—if they see you as a ruler, they see you as an authority, and they see you as someone who doesn’t make any mistakes, then they will continue to see you not like Jesus, Who was the High Priest, but don’t get it twisted. “I was made like you, so I can sympathize with your weaknesses. Yes, that’s the kind of High Priest I am.” You know?

Ann: Yes, that’s good.

Ameen: I think that that vulnerability is important, and I think that, even as a man myself, another thing that I think is important is affirming your sons, saying, “I am proud of you. You are doing a good job.”

Kevin: Yes.

Dave: Yes.

Ameen: You see what the Father does to Jesus, right? He affirms Him in front of people. “This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.”

Kevin: Vocal, yes.

Ann: That’s good.

Ameen: In front of everybody. That’s what a Father does, right?

Kevin: Right. I’m getting goosebumps, man.

Ameen: I think that your son may only see you also—you have to think about yourself: does my son only see me as an authority? I think that one of the things is, “I need to let my son know, ‘I love you, I’m proud of you, I’m here for you, you’re doing a great job, and thank you for being my son,’ or ‘thank you for being courageous here,’ or ‘thank you for doing this for your mother’.”

They need to know that you are not just an authority, but that they are loved [and] cared for, and that they are seen. I think that, if you are affirming your son, then that takes a lot of the need for these other men, who are not real men, to affirm them.

Dave: Right.

Ann: Yes.

Kevin: Yes.

Dave: And your daughters.

Kevin: And daughters as well.

Ameen: And exactly, your daughters; right.

Dave: Same thing, because they’re going to go looking for it from another man.

Kevin: Yes, they’re going to look for it.

Dave: I was thinking, KB, tonight—here’s what I know now, as a dad now of adult sons and grandkids—your son is going to look out in that audience and you’re going to be his strength.

Ameen: Amen.

Dave: The strength of his father being there, not only that he knows your weaknesses and your failures, but just sitting there. I thought, when that happens, he’s getting strength from his father. The same thing happens for us!

Kevin: Yes!

Ameen: Absolutely.

Dave: It hit me, “Well, that’s how we get our strength, too, as our Heavenly Father applauds us. We think, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”

Kevin: Yes, yes.

Dave: He says, “Yes, you can, and I will give you strength in that moment to do it.”

Kevin: Absolutely.

Dave: I watched my youngest son play college football, and then a little bit in the NFL, and he played, not for my college, but against my college.

Kevin: Ok, got you, got you.

Dave: And I remember the first time he scored three or four times in the stadium that I used to score multiple times. [Loud Laughter]

Kevin: You had to throw that in there.

Dave: Yes. I was a quarterback, but he was a receiver. But I remember the first time at Ball State, which is where I played, he scored; and I remember, as he was handing the ball to the refs, he just threw a glance right up [to] where we’re sitting.

Kevin: Yes,yes, yes.

Dave: I knew it was sort of, “Hey, Dad! I’m better than you,” but better than that, it was like, “I think I’m here because something you—”

Ameen: Oh, I love it!

Dave: It was just one of those five seconds where, “Your strength is helping me do what I’m doing right now as a college athlete.”

Kevin: Yes, I love it. I love it, yes.

Dave: I thought, “That’s going to happen in an eight-year-old boy tonight.”

Ameen: Tonight.

Kevin: Yes, absolutely. Amen, amen.

Dave: Pretty cool.

Kevin: If I could add to that, I’d also say [that] what you just said is a great example of even what some of the research is showing. For boys in particular, from their fathers, the effects [of] a father’s presence in his son’s life has unique benefits that you don’t even see in your daughter’s life. One study in The Boy Crisis pointed out that boys that are born prematurely, whose father is at the hospital regularly while the baby is growing to a place where they can leave—if the father is present, the baby leaves the hospital faster.

There are things that happen when you are wrestling your boys, that their levels of testosterone and different reactions and emotions are leveling out and maturing and strengthening through you just wrestling with them regularly.

One of the most powerful moments—I got a little emotional as you were talking, because my son, Keanu [is] a quiet boy, introverted, cool by himself. We went and celebrated his sister’s birthday (my daughter’s birthday) yesterday, and we would look up and say, “Where’s Keanu?” He’s just around by himself having a great time.

One day, he told me, after there was something hard that needed to be done, and I pushed him—I said, “You can do it, and I’m here for you to catch you if you don’t. But it’s in the attempt.”

Dave: Yes.

Kevin: That’s what I told him last night. “Son, you can’t control how the audience is going to respond to you, or what your classmates are going to control, but what men do is they give their all, regardless. I give my all when I’m scared, I give my all when I’m unsure, I give my all when I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. I give my all.”

I remember there was one time in particular, probably like six months ago, [when] I pushed him to do something he didn’t think he could do, and he did it. He walked to me afterwards and said, “Daddy, you make me feel powerful.” [Laughter]

Dave: Wow.

Kevin: I later read some research was done on what boys need to hear from their fathers, and they talked about how there’s a good argument to be made that your boys need to know not only that you love them, which is important; they need to know that you think that they’re strong. You want them to feel strong and respected. Powerful.

Dave: “You have what it takes.”

Kevin: Yes!

Dave: They need to hear those words.

Kevin: “You have what it takes.”  Ameen alluded to it. In Jesus’ life, there are two massive moments, once before He goes to the cross, and the other at the beginning of His ministry. Those are the only two times we saw God step down and speak audibly. Men, fathers, He didn’t nod it, He didn’t say, “Hey, I see you,” or “Good job, champ,” or “I might get you ice cream after this.” No, it was very specific. “This is My Son.” He hasn’t done anything—He has not yet saved the world—

Dave: And He was well-pleased.

Kevin: —in time, but He’s “My Son!” “My love for Him is not only in what He does or will do, but Who He is. He is My Son.” I try to tell my boys often, “I am honored to be your father,” and “This is my son, in whom I am well-pleased.” He makes me smile. “You make me smile, son.” That kind of affirmation is what boys need, particularly from their fathers, when they are about to go do hard things.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: Scripture gives us that as a blueprint. Before He starts His ministry, before He goes to the cross, the Father steps in and says, “Behold, I love this guy.”

Ann: This is a sermon, man. This is so good!

Dave: Yes; and as you were saying that, I was thinking, when a son—and this is true for a daughter as well, but we’re talking about boys right now.

Kevin: Yes.

Dave: When a son understands his identity from his father in that sense, it breeds a confidence, even in the middle of a valley or fear.

Kevin: True!

Dave: When he’s standing on the stage tonight, there’s a confidence down in there because his dad said it and gave it to him.

Ann: Guys, I know we’re out of time, but I’m just thinking of all the single moms that don’t have a dad or a husband in their home, and they have these sons. They ask, “What do we do?”

Kevin: Yes.

Ann: Please [take] a minute to give them encouragement.

Kevin: Absolutely. First of all, let’s make no mistake that this was designed to be a tag-team effort for the building up of whole men and women in this world.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: I think, for one, one of the beautiful things about the grace of God is that the grace of God is a gap-filler. In the book, The Boy Crisis, that was written by an author who—it wasn’t a Christian book. I don’t know if the guy is a Christian, but he certainly doesn’t talk about his faith publicly if he is. But this gentleman had done research on this issue for years, and in the book, The Boy Crisis, there’s a little chapter called: “Can God the Father Heal a Wounded Son?”

In this little chapter, he talks about this research that he found, largely coming out of inner cities—not to say that fatherless is just an issue in inner cities; it’s a national [and] international issue.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: But he found that boys were finding God the Father in churches, Christian churches, and finding healing and wholeness that was matching what you would get from having a father in the home.

Ann: That’s encouraging.

Kevin: This is secular research.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: Yes. Wow!

Kevin: And I think that there’s something to that. This is why we need healthy churches that are filled with men who love God’s people, that love the fatherless. I have no ears for anybody coming from—I won’t name any names, but you’re coming from a perspective where you are talking about fatherlessness, particularly in the inner city, yet you do not have any plan of addressing that fatherlessness outside of talking about it as a political point to score points against the liberals that you don’t like.

Because the fact of the matter is, what is the phrase that is attributed to God more than almost any other phrase in the Old Testament? It is that He is a Father to whom? The fatherless.

Ann: The fatherless.

Ameen: Yes.

Kevin: The target of God’s love throughout the O.T. is fatherless individuals. Job said that, “If I have not cared for the fatherless with the food of my own house, then I should be judged by God.” It is important for the people of God to be fathers, and mothers for that matter, to the fatherless.

Ameen: Amen!

Kevin: I think there is much hope in that—

Ann: —me, too.

Kevin: —where there’s grace in the church. And if there is not that in your church or in your family, then maybe there’s more of a communal kind of family like the one that I grew in, where my uncles would approximate fatherhood in my life, or my grandfather. If that’s not there, know that the power of prayer—

Ann: That’s good.

Kevin: That’s what I saw in my life.

Ameen: Amen.

Ann: Did either of you have fathers in your home growing up?

Ameen: Not really. I didn’t. I saw my dad once a year, so that’s—

Ann: —see, I’m looking at both of you. You didn’t have your dads, and neither did Dave. And I look at you godly men who are impacting and changing the world for Jesus. There is hope.

Ameen: Amen, Amen.


Kevin: There is.

Ameen: Amen, absolutely.

Kevin: And Ann, you said that much better than I could have. And that’s what I would tell: “What she said!”

Ameen: Exactly. That’s exactly right.

Kevin: That’s what I would tell my single mothers.

Ann: Wow.

Ameen: Amen.

Dave: We’re Dave and Ann Wilson, and you’ve been listening to FamilyLife Today.

Ann: We’ve been talking with KB [Burgess] and Ameen Hudson. KB has written a book called Dangerous Jesus: Why the Only Thing More Risky Than Getting Jesus Right is Getting Jesus Wrong. You can get a copy at

You might not know this about FamilyLife, but we’re donor-supported. That means that conversations like today’s get into people’s homes and cars because of financial partners who believe in reaching others with God’s plan for families.

Dave: And right now, when you partner financially with FamilyLife to help more conversations like today’s get into more homes, we want to send you as our thanks a copy of Sissy Goff’s book, The Worry-Free Parent. That sounds like a good book, doesn’t it? The Worry-Free Parent: Living in Confidence So Your Kids Can, Too.

Ann: You can partner with us at or by calling 800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

Dave: Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife, 100 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, FL 32832. Make sure to let us know you’d like a copy of The Worry-Free Parent by Sissy Goff. And let me say, “Thanks for partnering with FamilyLife.”

Ann: And if you know anyone who needs to hear today’s conversation, would you share it with them from wherever you get your podcasts? We’re Ann and Dave Wilson, and we’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

Dave: FamilyLife Today is a donor-supported production of FamilyLife®, a Cru® Ministry.

Ann: Helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.


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