Tuesday’s episode of The Shop is in the headlines because of a conversation involving Lil Nas X and Kevin Hart. Check out the clip:
A little context here. At the end of June (Pride month), Lil Nas X came out on Twitter. While many fans celebrated this moment, others criticized Lil Nas X, claiming that he was using the coming out experience and Pride month to increase his popularity. It’s why the moderator, Paul Rivera, asked him specifically about the timing of it.
You’ll probably recall also that Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars this year because of homophobic comments he made several years ago. He did, however, make it abundantly clear that he thought the backlash from the “trolls and haters” was unwarranted and even lamented the fact that he had to keep apologizing for his past actions. Don’t worry though, Ellen DeGeneres forgave him on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community.
Now, several months later after the smoke has cleared, we find ourselves yet again talking about Kevin Hart’s prejudices. Lots has already been written about what was wrong with the way he acted in that conversation. Vox has a great article on it but I think Goldie Taylor from the Daily Beast summarizes it best:
"He said he was gay. So what!" Kevin Hart knows exactly what the "so what" is here and why a young black boy would closet his sexuality until he believed it was safe. Why not simply listen, give @LilNasX the space and deference to tell his own story... https://t.co/8nY9cHPftP— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) September 4, 2019
I don’t want to talk about Kevin Hart. His behaviour speaks for itself in that video. I will say that it’s interesting that he seems to be confused about why a gay person would grow up with internalized hatred when he used those very same insecurities to justify why he wouldn’t play a gay character during an interview with The Breakfast Club.
Let’s talk about Lil Nas X instead. What impressed me about this whole debacle was the way in which Lil Nas X conducted himself in a room that mostly left him to fend for himself. Lil Nas X’s points are well articulated, insightful, and spoken from his own experience. He expertly explained why exactly he chose his timing to come out and even describes his own internalized homophobia that is unfortunately common within the LGBTQ community.
Even when Kevin Hart interrupts him, he’s cool-headed and calm. He still knows how to clapback though, and completely shuts down Kevin’s outburst with a simple “If you were really from the hood, you’d know.” In under ten words, he completely undermines all of Hart’s credibility. *Chef finger kiss*
Lil Nas X is only 20. He can’t even legally drink in the states. Despite that, he’s shown so much maturity. Being gay in hip-hop is hard. (Although Lil Nas X doesn’t really fit into the traditional boxes of music genres does he?) It can also be intimidating to be in a room full of straight men and explain why he needed to come out. Hell, it can be intimidating just to be in a room full of straight men.
I probably sound like a broken record because this is like my fifth article of LOOK AT HOW AWESOME LIL NAS X IS. But the reason I feel so strongly about him is because he continually reminds me that we should be taking him seriously. He’s young. He’s non-traditional. He’s gay. He’s black. These are all cards stacked against his success, and they’re all reasons why it’s easy for many to underestimate his effort and his talent. But if this video proves anything, he’s way more prepared than they give him credit for. Let’s talk less about what Kevin Hart is doing wrong and talk more about what Lil Nas X is doing right.