World-famous comedian Kevin Hart has been under fire for anti-LGBTQ jokes from his old stand-up routine and tweets. He came under public scrutiny after being named the potential host for the 2019 Oscars. The Oscars has had its own troubled history in regards to inclusion, e.g., #OscarsSoWhite. But this does not let Kevin Hart off the hook for his insensitive comments and jokes made at the expense of queer and trans people. He has since apologized and has stepped down from his Oscar hosting duties.
Since the debacle, many other notable black comedians have come to Kevin’s defense, such as DL Hughley, Nick Cannon, and Michael Che, despite Kevin’s own pathetic attempt to downplay racism after two black men were racially profiled at a Philadelphia Starbucks in 2017. If you recall, Kevin Hart sent out tweets wholeheartedly supporting Starbucks. It was peculiar since Hart was not known for commenting on social issues or making jokes about them in his comedy. Until that Starbucks incident, he had rarely or never spoken out about any political or racial justice issues. During the star’s latest controversy, the Starbucks Corporation has yet to come to Kevin’s defense or offer words of support for the actor.
This latest Kevin Hart controversy only adds fuel to the fire that the ‘black community’ is somehow more homophobic than the larger American society. We all know that this is a damn lie. President George W. Bush ran a presidential campaign in 2004 that centered an anti-gay marriage platform. President Trump has openly attacked the LGTBQ community and has made them targets of his hateful policies. The black community is a reflection of the larger American society, and American society is queerphobic as fuck. But let’s zero in on how this queerphobia plays out in black culture for a moment.
The Kids Really Are All Right
Let me make one thing clear: the myth of the “gay agenda” directly relates to the myth of the “absentee black daddy.” In the black community, there is a sizable number of uber-religious and hotep folks who propose that white American culture has forced “The Gay Agenda” upon black people in an evil effort to emasculate the black man and destroy the black family. For some reason, these folks refuse to recognize that there have always been gay folks in black families, black entertainment, and in black cultural iconography generally.
This train of thought is actually ludicrous and is not based in reality. Hoteps claim, that due to the New Jim Crow and the “Gay Agenda” that the black father has been taken out of the community, thus leaving single black mothers to raise young boys. Some hoteps go as far as to say these single mothers turn their boys feminine, which equates to “gay” in the hotep imagination. No black fathers in the household mean that the “black nuclear family” has been decimated, according to hotep logic. Even former President Barack Obama peddled the dangerous and ignorant myth of the absentee black father. But we all know Pres. Obama gots him some daddy issues, #DreamsofMyFather. Anyway, as the Center for Disease Control has pointed out, black fathers are more involved in their kids’ lives than white or Hispanic fathers. But we all know that in the world of #alternativefacts that actual facts don’t matter.
Seriously, this is all misinformation and lies. Many black families don’t fit into the ideal “nuclear family” model. That model only existed for a small number of people and was never a reality for black folks in America. There are plenty of black fathers raising their sons and daughters, even if some aren’t married to mommy. Family comes in many different forms and has throughout human history. So trying to construct the ideal family based off the 1950s Leave It to Beaver model is ridiculous at best and dangerous at worse. Despite all of these facts I’ve laid out (and that are easily searchable in the information era), a sizable minority inside the black community won’t be deterred from promoting the perilous stereotype of the absentee black father and pointing to ‘gayness’ as the enemy of a stable black family.
There is no “Gay Agenda.” If we lived in a society where people were not so anti-sex positive, then queer identities wouldn’t be such a threat to traditional gender ideals of man and woman. If people are born gay or choose to be gay, it shouldn’t matter to folks. Who cares what two or more consenting humans do behind closed doors. It shouldn’t bother people that two men or two women want to get married and raise a family. It should not matter that an adult feels that they were born in the wrong gender and decides to change that. It’s their body and their right to do so. We should be willing to understand them and not judge them.
I’m comfortable enough in my own sexuality, so it didn’t bother me that I continually got hit on by random dudes when I first moved to North Atlanta. I could blame my wife for encouraging me to wear bright, pastel-colored shirts. They do bring out my complexion. I’m not “family” in that way, but I am an ally. I don’t feel it’s a threat to my “manhood” to have a dude flirt with me. Even if I were single, I’d say just say thanks, but no thanks. Sidebar: I did find out that men no matter their sexuality use the same pick-up lines and tactics on their object of affection. Step your game up fellas. Anyway, manhood should be based on many positive and non-toxic models, not one that is only straight and hetero. What makes a man can be defined in so many ways, and it’s up to every individual to decide.
For a person like Kevin Hart to use his global forum to shit on the LGBTQ community only adds to the hate and violence that the LGBTQ community still face today. The LGBTQ community is not a monolith, and the community is as diverse as any broad group of human beings. Furthermore, black queer people face racism and prejudice inside the broader LGBTQ community and deserve support from straight black people. It is ignorant for us straight folks to feel that our gay and trans brothers and sisters are forcing their lifestyles on us or to make up jokes about beating up the gays. We should evolve past that. It’s 2018!
Riders for the Cause
Black folks have a long history of resistance to racism in American society. Throughout that history, our queer brothers and sisters have been at our sides fighting for equality and justice for all black people, from Bayard Rustin to James Baldwin to Audre Lorde to the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The black LGBTQ community has and continues to ride hard for the culture because they are the culture. In America, if you’re black it doesn’t matter if you are old or young, man or woman, trans or cis, gay or straight, there is a chance the police will shoot you down. Anti-black racism and prejudice across the world can make being black a struggle and very dangerous at times. We black folks should be proud that we’ve come so far, but recognize that we still have a long way to go. Our queer family will be there with us until the very end like they have always been. Brotha James Baldwin defined blackness so well, and it applies to all of us. I hope brothas like Kevin Hart one day understand this too.
“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” – James Baldwin