To Black Fathers, Sons and Kevin Hart

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Contact: Charles Stephens

December 11, 2018 – Atlanta, GA – On December 4, 2018, 39-year-old comedian Kevin Hart was announced as the host for the 91st Annual Academy Awards. Over a 48-hour period, America watched as a series of homophobic jokes and comments from 2009 to 2015 resurfaced for a public divide of condemnation and defense, often with Hart’s young son as the subject, and usually at the expense of Black gay men.

For the fathers who laughed and later defended Hart, we ask that you consider the sons, grandsons, and nephews who are ever watching to determine how to be a good man and to learn what is worthy of derision as good men. For the sons who may be struggling with their desires and identity, including those who are heterosexual, and listening to what plays underneath the jokes: we want you to know that you are not disposable for a laugh. And, for Black gay men who defended Hart’s words and joined the rallying defense of a prominent, successful brother getting attacked, we too experienced a kneejerk reaction, triggered by historical memory and resulting in protective defense. Kevin Hart is a Black man. Accordingly, he is still our brother, his fears of us aside. However, we should not defend words that would speak violence and trauma into the lives of Black children. Time and time again, Black sons, stepsons, and girlfriend’s boy children, have been harmed, even murdered, for fear they might be gay. Even as young as two- or three-years-old. Some things are just not funny.

Let us be clear, we condemn racism and the hypocrisy of white supremacy, but we are also not here for your homophobia either. We will step up to protect Black children from the violence of jokes and fists from unloving sources, just as we have always protected our family’s Black bodies.

Far too often, public narratives concerning the Black community, suggest that we are somehow more homophobic than anyone. This is just simply not true. There have always been LGBTQ folk in the Black community, and there have always been allies. And, because there have always been allies, including black fathers, uncles, and brothers, we know what is possible.

And, lastly, to Kevin Hart. We are inviting you to sit with us to discuss how you can be a better brother to us. Let’s begin. Our door is open. We hope yours is as well.