Kevin Hart is making headlines once again after people claimed he was gaslighting Lil Nas X in the latest episode of LeBron James’ HBO series The Shop Uninterrupted.
A short clip from James’ popular, barbershop-style chat show surfaced Tuesday morning, and people online are enraged after the snippet seemingly showed Hart dismissing Lil Nas X’s purpose in announcing he is gay. This time around James was not present for the conversation, but keeping The Shop up was CEO Maverick Carter; film star and comedian Kevin Hart; three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski; Cleveland Cavaliers star forward Kevin Love; Portland Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum; radio presenter, TV personality, and author Charlamagne tha God; American rapper, singer and songwriter Lil Nas X; and marketing executive Paul Rivera.
The clip that went viral started off with the group highlighting X’s major and record-breaking success with his hit single “#OldTownRoad.” “With all that early success, you felt it was important to make an announcement recently,” asked The Shop creator and marketing executive Paul Rivera, referencing the singer’s coming-out tweet in early July. Before Lil Nas X could respond, Hart jumped into the conversation, saying, “He said he was gay. So what?” A few of the guests agreed, and someone off-camera asked, “Who cares?”
“It’s not about, ‘Who cares?’ That’s actually my question,” explained Rivera. “Why did he feel it was necessary to come out and say that?” Finally, the singer was able to speak up. “It’s not that it’s like being forced. It’s just like knowing growing up — I’m growing up to hate this shit. I’m not supposed to ever like this,” he explained. “Hate what? Hate what? Why?” asked Hart. “Homosexuality. Gay people. Come on, now,” replied the singer, now clearly frustrated. “If you’re really from the hood, you know. It’s not something –” Someone off-screen again interrupted him, adding, “Of course. The stigma.”
“So it’s like, if for me, the cool dude with the song on top of everything, to say this any other time, I’m doing this for attention, in my eyes,” Lil Nas X continued. “But if you’re doing this while you’re at the top, you know it’s for real. And it’s like showing like it doesn’t really matter, I guess.” It didn’t take long for the clip to garner several responses, ones that were against Hart and ones that understood what Hart seemed to be trying to saying: X’s sexuality shouldn’t matter. That sentiment seemed to be the case later on in the episode where Hart further explains his point.
After the group discusses the hardships of coming out as gay in sports, Hart turns the conversation back around to X, defending his right to stand his ground when it comes to his sexuality. “What I want to say to Lil Nas X is, in no way shape or form should you have to defend ‘But guys this is what I am.’ That’s not it. It’s, ‘Guys this is what I’m going to do. My reason for doing this is because I know I do this well.’ When you have a voice and you simple say this, there is no back and forth about what this is. Nothing else needs to be said,” Hart explains, while Charlamagne nods in agreement.
Hart continued, “So when all of that sh*t gets started about ‘But he’s not, but they said.’ You now don’t give a f*ck, because your sentence has been written. No explanations.” Hart goes on to explain that with status and platform, comes a certain responsibility and he admits he made mistakes but that he never intends to hurt any group of people.” The stigma surrounding homosexuality is one X explained he is determined to tackle using his platform, in order to make other people like him comfortable with who they are. Watch the full episode on HBO.
Often times straight, Black men miss the mark when it comes to addressing homosexuality and the LGBTQ community’s struggle. Was it the delivery or the message? Do you think Kevin Hart intentionally tried to take away from anti-gayness?