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Lil Nas X Kevin Hart Homophobia Video
On Tuesday night’s episode of The Shop: Uninterrupted, Maverick Carter, Kevin Hart, Rob Gronkowski, Kevin Love, CJ McCollum, Charlamagne tha God, Lil Nas X, and Paul Rivera sat down for a wide-ranging conversation. At one point during their discussion, Rivera brought up that Lil Nas X felt it was important to make an announcement about his sexuality. Before the words could fully exit Rivera’s mouth, Kevin Hart interrupted to say, “He said he was gay! So what?” In response, Nas X gave a masterclass on how LGBTQ people can deal with this type of gaslighting about their personal struggle.
“It’s not that it’s like being forced,” Lil Nas X says. “I’m grown up to hate this shit. I’m not supposed to ever like this.” What he’s getting at is a greater intersectionality issue faced by many young gay men in the black community. According to reports from the Human Rights Campaign, gay black men are more likely to face economic hardship, harassment, and intolerance than their white counterparts. But as Lil Nas X continues, he’s interrupted again by Hart who says, “Hate what? Hate what?”
Lil Nas X says, “Homosexuality. Gay people.” When Hart responds, “Why?” the young rapper calls the situation as straightforward as he can.
“Come on now. If you’re really from the hood you know. You know it’s not some—it’s like, for me, the ‘cool dude with the song’ on top of everything to say this… any other time, I’m doing this for attention… if you’re doing it at the top, then you know it’s for real. And it’s showing that it doesn’t matter, I guess.”
Lil Nas X’s explanation is a powerful example of patience during conversations like this. What Hart is doing isn’t an uncommon thing for LGBTQ people to face, particularly from allies who are attempting to educate themselves. Hart’s rocky history with conversations around LGBTQ people aren’t new either. After being tapped to host the Oscars late last year, a barrage of homophobic tweets surfaced, prompting his removal as host. His non-apology/apology campaign didn’t do him many favors either. But his flippancy around Lil Nas X’s explanation in the clip isn’t so much blatantly homophobic as much as it’s dismissive of the situation LGBTQ people face entirely.
Worst case scenario, it’s a form of gaslighting—an attempt to reimagine the difficulties faced by queer people as non-important or worse, non-existent. It’s a discomfort with the idea that someone has a struggle you’re not facing or have contributed to. Instead of addressing it, people like Hart attempt to eliminate the struggle and the conversation around it.
On a more personal level, Hart’s message is the kind of rhetoric that people use to qualify their own ignorance. If someone can approach a touchy discussion as if it doesn’t matter, it’s an attempt to suggest that it’s a non-starter: a signal that this was always accepted to begin with, erasing all fault and alienating those on the outside in a different way.
Either way, it can all be dialed back to one word—listening. In an attempt to justify and qualify, people too often think that the move is to keep talking until someone tells them they’ve stumbled upon the answer. But in the case of Kevin Hart and other straight people hoping to become an ally, it all really comes down to listening. Lil Nas X has a powerful perspective about the intersection of race and sexuality. It would be a shame if we missed his words because someone else talked over his story.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.