Kevin Hart and Lil Nas X walk into a barbershop — no, this isn’t the makings of a joke. It’s a real-life order of events thanks to a recent episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted. The unscripted series from basketball titan LeBron James’ production company promises “unfiltered conversation and debate between a unique ensemble of some of the biggest names in sport and entertainment” and that’s exactly what we got. And if you were expecting the comedian and rapper to have a meeting of the minds around Nas X’s sexuality, you expected right.
In a clip that has been released online from the September 3 episode, when a question was directly posed to Nas X about coming out as gay earlier this year, Hart interrupted with, “He said he was gay. So what?” His statement seemed to brush off the act.
“Why did you feel like it was necessary to come out and say that?” Paul Rivera asked.
“Growing up, like, I’m growing up to hate that shit,” Nas X responded. As the group of presumably straight men — which included Uninterrupted CEO Maverick Carter, three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, Cleveland Cavalier and NBA champion Kevin Love, Portland Trailblazer CJ McCollum, radio personality and author Charlamagne tha God, and marketing executive Rivera — around pester him with disbelief, the “Old Town Road” musician continued, “If you really from the ‘hood you know…”
“For me, the cool dude with this song, on top of everything to say this any other time, [it could be seen as] I’m doing this for attention, in my eyes. But if you doing this while you’re at the top, you know it’s for real and it’s showing it doesn’t really matter, I guess.”
The short clip has caused chatter online, reminding social media users of Hart’s homophobic comments in the past, which he had to address earlier this year. In December 2018, old tweets of the comedian’s were resurfaced after he was announced as host of the Oscars. They included the use of several homophobic slurs and one tweet that detailed how he'd abuse his son if he played with dolls.
"Yo if my son comes home & try's 2 play with my daughters doll house I'm going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice 'stop that's gay,'” the tweet said.
Following a social media campaign, Hart was confronted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who puts on the Oscars and offered an ultimatum to apologize or step down. Hart made the decision to step down.
During his eventual sorry-not-sorry apology tour, he spoke to his friend Ellen DeGeneres who forgave him on behalf of all LGBTQ+ people. He then had an off-the-record conversation with Don Lemon who shared on his CNN show that Hart said “it is not his dream to be an ally for the LGBT community.”
What’s glaring in The Shop clip is a feigned nonchalance on behalf of Hart, as if he doesn’t know the “so what” of a Black man coming out as gay. Hart has long incorporated jokes into his sets that are based on this exact idea, that within his community as a Black man, being gay is wrong. Not only that its wrong, but that he would physically injure his own child if he was found to be gay. It was as if January 2019 had never happened. This is gaslighting at its finest.
“Kevin attempting to come off as the ‘enlightened’ one here when he literally lost the biggest job of his life due to homophobia is big jokes,” said #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign.
Let’s just say, the internet isn’t buying it.