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Going Live with Terri Joe

Houston-based creator Kelon Campbell brings hilarity and shock value to TikTok.

Kelon Campbell and Terri Joe (Images courtesy)

On any given night, “Terri Joe,” one of the characters invented by Kelon Campbell, a queer, Black, male-identifying creator from Humble, Texas, can be seen chatting on TikTok Live with people from all over the world. In spite of what viewers see on their screens, Campbell humorously describes Terri Joe as a white, conservative, heterosexual Christian Southern belle who wears a shoulder-baring floral dress and a dainty cross necklace while spewing homophobic rhetoric, among other gasp-inducing comedy bits.

With his star on the rise, Campbell is setting himself apart from other TikTok creators with visions of bringing his provocative characters to larger audiences in the future.

“All of my characters come from archetypes of people that I enjoy on TV. Terri comes from a show that I used to watch, and still watch to this day, called True Blood. It’s a vampire show with some religious and racial elements,” the 27-year-old explains. “She was mostly inspired by that show, because I don’t know anybody in my life that is in that vein at all.”

The zany Terri Joe condemns homosexuality (referring to gay folks as “hommaseggsyuhs”), liberalism, and non-Christian values. She spends her time on TikTok Live either flirting with her costars, reading them for filth during back-and-forth roast sessions, or having some other sort of dialogue while in character.

Campbell describes his character saying, “She’s definitely Christian, but there’s more behind her. The hate she has for certain groups of people is fueled by ignorance she learned from her family. She says her mother is a ‘benevolent being,’ but her mother’s also the most racist and homophobic person on the planet.” The backstory Campbell has created for Terri Joe creates a complex individual, perfectly poised for improvisation. “She grew up in a sheltered home. She doesn’t want to hate these groups of people, but growing up, that’s what was taught to her. She is a girl who is very conflicted on what the Bible says, what her parents say, and how she feels.”

Terri Joe

Campbell’s natural talent and comedic timing have made him stand out on TikTok, even catching the eye of some familiar names who wanted to go Live with Terri Joe. “Some of the standouts are Madonna, Hunter Schafer, Doja Cat, and Ziwe. I see celebrities as regular people. I actually enjoy the Lives where I’m talking to a random person who doesn’t know what I’m doing or what’s going on, and is confused the entire time.”

While overnight success can go to many creators’ heads, Campbell keeps a low profile as he adjusts to his growing fame. “My personal life hasn’t changed much, [other than] people coming up to me and wanting to talk or take pictures. Going out in general, and being recognized at the most random places like Walmart, actually makes me super-nervous. People talk to me and recognize me because they see me on the internet and I’m in everyone’s face, but I’m actually super-shy in person at first,” he says with laughter. “TikTok is my job now; I don’t have to work a typical job, [so that’s] a big difference.”

@_itzpsyiconic_ #cameo #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #viral ♬ original sound – _psyiconic_


Through his characters, Campbell is able to do and say the most outrageous and seemingly offensive things. It’s the skin he’s in that allows the Houstonian to push the envelope as his various alter egos—including his original character, Jeorgia Peach. “I’ve always been a crazy, wild person—my friends could tell you that. My personality just shines through the characters.”

His refreshingly unfiltered comedic style challenges cancel-culture, as Campbell uses his politically incorrect characters to voice the outrageous insults and jokes that are inspired by his own existence. “I feel like people take life too seriously. Sometimes you have to push those barriers to get people to break out of their shell and think outside of the box. I only say things that adhere to what I can say. I am part of the LGBTQ community, so I get to say these things. I would never say anything about another race or religious group. I’m only saying things that personally relate to me.”

With hopes of bringing his characters to larger platforms in the future, Campbell explains there’s plenty of room at the TikTok table for others looking to pursue internet stardom. “The hardest part is starting. Most people procrastinate, and that’s how it was for me. I’ve always wanted to do something within the social media realm since I was in high school, and I just got into it last year,” he admits.

A comedy career was never one of Campbell’s goals, but acting, in some capacity, has always intrigued him. “The earlier you start, the better you’ll get. Just throw yourself into it, because if you never start, you’ll never know what could happen in the future.”

Keep up with Kelon Campbell on TikTok  _psyiconic_, Twitter @TerriJoetheHoly, and  Instagram @_psyiconic_/.

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Zach McKenzie

Zachary McKenzie is a marketing professional and freelance writer in Houston, TX. He received his bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and has lived in Houston since. Zachary is a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys spending his free time with friends, exploring the richness and diversity of Houston.
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