There is always an ongoing conversation about homophobia in the Black community. When Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality, a coalition of Black pastors rose up and urged their flocks to stay home rather than support his re-election. When comedian Kevin Hart had old homophobic tweets resurface, he apologized but was defiant when out Black CNN anchor Don urged him to become an ally to the LGBTQ community. Hart said of this request:
I don’t like the forcing. Like Don Lemon goes on CNN and he’s like, ‘You can fix this, become an ally.’ That’s not my life dream.”
Watch the CNN video here
This raises the question, though, as to whether Black people with a platform have the responsibility of being open and avowed allies to their Black LGBTQ brothers and sisters. The perception is that there is more homophobia in the Black community than there is otherwise, and that is something that we continuously fight against. While people are entitled to their beliefs, bigotry is bigotry, and it is always wrong. Further, there are perceptions in the community that can be changed, and when the Kevin Harts of the world refuse the role of allyship, those harmful perceptions are re-enforced.
In the meantime, the controversy roils on, and Hart’s loss of his role as the host of last year’s Oscar’s program shows just how people will continue to pay a price for their bigotry. In the meantime, Black celebrities would likely do well to embrace their LGBTQ brothers and sisters, if only as part of their responsibility to represent the community well.