On a recent 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. The show, a collaboration between LeBron and Maverick Carter, is billed as an unfiltered conversation and debate among guests from sports and entertainment.
During the conversation, Rivera raised Lil Nas X’s recent coming out and why he felt it was important to announce his sexuality. It could have been an opportunity for Lil Nas X to talk about the experience and why he came out, but instead Kevin Hart interrupted, “He said he was gay! So what?”
This “so what?” comment is the kind of dismissive put down that LGBTIQ people often face when declaring their sexuality. Lil Nas X turned Hart’s rude interruption into a lesson in how we can deal with people who question or need to come out or try to manipulate our stories to suit their own agendas.
“It’s not that it’s like being forced,” Lil Nas X said. “I’m grown up to hate this shit. I’m not supposed to ever like this.”
Hart interrupted: “Hate what? Hate what?”
Lil Nas X replied, “Homosexuality. Gay people.”
Hart then responded with, “Why?”
Lil Nas did his best to explain: “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.”
What was lost on Hart is the reality gay black men face. According to the Human Rights Campaign, they are more likely to be poorer financially, harassed and not tolerated by white gay men. Yes, being a young gay black man matters – coming out is no small thing.
Lil Nas X’s patience has to be admired and is a perfect example of the sort of conversations LGBTIQ people face. Questioned as to why we need to make an “issue” out of our sexuality at all.
Hart’s lack of respect for Lil Nas X’s explanation isn’t an obvious example of homophobia but it demonstrates a lack of respect and understanding for LGBTIQ people and the abuse and discrimination we face.