Kevin... Stop that's STRAIGHT!

Kevin… Stop that’s STRAIGHT!

Homophobia or being Kevin Hart?!

The upcoming 91st Annual Academy Awards were announced last week with excitement that Kevin Hart would be their honored Master of Ceremony. Unfortunately, that following day Hart announced that he would exit the hosting position due to a ultimatum in regards to previous anti-gay posts via Twitter.

The ultimatum: apologize or seek new host.

The history of tweets throughout his timeline, itself, included great mentions of gay slurs and LGBTQ bashing to even AIDS shaming while declaring some type of dominance over someone that is not “heterosexual” nor considered to be “healthy”.

Hart is no stranger to controversial collateral damage. When interviewed in July 2015 with Rolling Stone, he said “One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic… Be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, as a hetersexual man, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will.” His quote refers to a stand-up segment that discussed father-son relationships. When seeing emasculate expressions, Hart voiced the notion to make interjections controlling a child’s innocence by stating, “Stop, that’s gay!”

Growing up black, male and queer.

“Stop, that’s gay!”, is nothing new, but a known pitch to an old common tune. It is the one unwritten law that has been set in stone within the Black household and community that we all know far too well like religion, which has already condemned us all to hell sis.

Black families and faith based institutions have been at the forefront of being a disservice to their own. As hate is preached from the pulpits into our homes, it casts out those LGBTQ persons who do not exemplify heterosexual normatives. Unknowingly these “excommunications” only enhance the increasing numbers of suicide, sex trafficking, homelessness, substance abuse, homicide and more among Black Queer Lives.

But the reality is that we are not talking about Black vs LGBTQ, but a community standing together against malicious antics and hate speeches dressed up as religion, public opinions or comedic performances.

And truth be told. This goes without saying.

If we plan to hold Kevin Hart accountable, even after apologizing due to a refusal of more apologetic obligations, than we must ‘KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY’, having the same standards held for others as Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman’s past Twitter feeds mentioned homophobic slurs as well, branding it as comedy in a 280 character tweet.

Tweets via Nick Cannon’s Twitter

Tweets via Nick Cannon’s Twitter

Let’s take it even further to include Bill Maher’s unforgettable yet comfortable usage of the “N-word” and more on his nationally televised HBO late night commentary.

Unfortunately, I don’t see derogatory labels going out of style anytime soon sadly as people still fashion the country with red MAGA hats.

Comedy is created to allow comedians to express themselves in ways that seem fit to produce their best talent. Do we enjoy a good laugh? Yes, who doesn’t?! But at the risk of causing harm to others? No! If I can quote my fave, Emmy Winner Lena Waithe (Master of None; The Chi), when asked about Kevin Hart hosting said “...take the moment and make it a teachable moment”, as this could have been an opportunity to teach, equip and acknowledge creating an inclusive environment.  

For example, the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite campaign, allowed Chris Rock to push the initiative showcasing cultural awareness and diversity on a prestigious platform that has yet to see diversified leading roles as nominees. Kevin Hart could have really taken this opportunity and turned it around in such a huge way for ‘true’ equality in correcting the errors of his ways. I must say though, respectfully, I understand his stance already apologizing as he has previously addressed the situation and not wanting to be forced by the Academy to apologize again or be at risk.

But if not the Oscars, then when?!

Let’s hope for a more inclusive and apologetic Kevin Hart in his comedic performances and philanthropy in the coming years. But nonetheless, we all have fallen short as I am open to assist, as my movement, Homo is the new Homeboy (#HITNHOMEBOY) uses education, advocacy and hip-hop culture to acknowledge the adversities and intersections primarily within black and black LGBTQI communities seeking a mutual peace.

Ever thought of attending a Pride Parade? Ballroom Event? Or an inclusion forum?!  If he is willing, we can make a true authentic change in the community and culture.

-Justin Michael Hendrix (Artist/Advocate)