I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn’t
have a patent on homophobia, it does, however, have a problem with
comedian Kevin Hart is another glaring example of the malady.
days after taking the coveted post to host the 91st Academy Awards,
Hart stepped down rather than offering an apology for when his 2011
homophobic tweets re-surfaced.
chose to pass, I passed on the apology,” Hart, presenting
himself as an aggrieved victim, said in a home video he made for the
public. “The reason why I passed is because I’ve
addressed this several times. This is not the first time this has
come up. I’ve addressed it ... I’m not going to continue
to go back and tap into the days of old when I moved on and I’m
in a completely different space in my life.”
one who has purportedly evolved on LGBTQ issues, Hart squandered his
elevated profile to educate the public how his evolution came about.
Hart’s now a crossover phenom, he still plays largely to a
black audience. And, sadly, in 2018 this audience is a demographic
group - young, old, church or unchurched - still unevolved and not
completely woke to the deleterious effects of homophobia on its
community. It’s not easy for any person of African descent to
be LGBTQ in our black communities, but our transgender brothers and
sisters might feel the most discrimination.
trans death rate is as meaningless to the larger black community as
it is to the larger society. Many trans reside in black and Latinx
communities, and their lives are in as much danger in their
communities for “walking while trans” as it is for
“walking while black or brown” in America. While many in
our black and LatinX communities will take to the streets when
another young unarmed presumed heterosexual African American male has
been shot and killed on the streets of America, the community goes
dark when a trans death has occurred.
the thought that our black and Latinx communities, especially its
churches, would annually honor Transgender Day of Remembrance, an
international event memorializing transgender people murdered because
of their gender identities or gender expressions, like it does MLK
Day and Black History Month highlights whose lives matter.
it’s shockingly troubling that Hart chose to walk away from
hosting the 2019 Academy Awards as an aggrieved victim rather than to
offer an apology is evident he gleaned very little, if anything, from
a similar incident with his pal Tracy Morgan. In 2011 Tracy Morgan,
comedian, and actor on NBC’s “30 Rock went on a
homophobic rant during his stand-up performance at the Ryman
Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Morgan’s “intended”
jokes about LGBTQ people were instead insulting jabs.
unlike Hart, however, publicly expressed his mea culpas as part and
parcel of his forgiveness tour and he spoke out in support of LGBTQ
like Morgan, and many of us, who have grown up in communities of
African descent — here and abroad — cannot escape the
cultural, personal, interpersonal, and institutional indoctrinations
in which homo/transphobia are constructed in our very makeup of being
defined as black.
the community’s expression of its intolerance of LGBTQ people
is easily seen along gender lines. For example, sisters mouth off
about us while brothers get both - verbally and physically - violent
son “better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or
I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little n-gger to death,"
Morgan told his audience at the Ryman Auditorium.
Hart shared during a stand-up routine how he had advised his
3-year-old son having a “gay moment”:
if my son comes home & try’s to play with my daughters doll house
I’m going to break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s
homophobic rants are not about LGBTQ people, but rather it’s
about the tightly constructed hyper-masculinity of black manhood. I
ask, in my brothers cultivating images of strong black men,”
can the brotherhood also include the diversity of their sexual
orientations and gender expression?
Hart will not go on a mea culpa tour as Morgan did, I do suggest Hart
read or go see “Boy Erased,” a tour de force memoir about
a minister’s son trapped between the dictates of
fundamentalist Christianity, conversion therapy and his queer
the pain this moment with Hart has caused many LGBTQ of African
descent mustn’t go unnoticed. I must confess I was a fan of
Hart until this kerfuffle. My spouse and I just recently went to see
him in the comedy “Night School” with Tiffany Haddish.
a gay man, I was painfully aware of Hart’s history of
homophobic jokes,” Ernest Owens wrote in “Kevin Hart’s
Oscars controversy feeds the stereotype of the black homophobe.”
feel there’s a double standard, undoubtedly, when it comes to
homo/transphobic statements blurted out by public figures and artists
versus racists statements.
example, let’s not forget about the racist rant in 2006 by
Michael Richards, who played the lovable and goofy character Kramer
on the T.V. sit-com “Seinfeld,” for his repetitive use of
the n-word in the context of supposed humor that has, many of us
feel, cost him his career.
many black comedians like “Saturday Night Live" star
Michael Che and Nick Cannon point out a double standard when white
comedians make homophobic jokes with no reprisal or backlash from the
public. Cannon reposted homophobic tweets from Chelsea Handler, Amy
Schumer, and Sarah Silverman in defense of Hart.
of us who live at the intersections of these communities will choose
between standing with our black homophobic brothers and sisters
versus standing with racist white LGBTQs. I, however, choose to do
neither in order for me to not only free myself from these “isms”
but to free them, too.
feels he has evolved on the issue of LGBTQ sensibilities to the point
no apology is needed. And, consequently, a forced and heartless one