Kevin Hart can call me faggot any time he wants.
This is a provocative, charged statement. I heard Kevin Hart's déclassé homophobic jokes of yore: He would beat his son for being gay, blah blah blah. I admit it: I bought in to the brouhaha, that he should be shunned, banned from hosting the Academy Awards and so on.
The never-less-than brilliant Terry Gross of NPR let him have it: She hit him like Mike Wallace when he was the the sledgehammer of 60 Minutes in the 1970s, and, honey, Hart was ready. So was I: to pigeonhole him.
There is hideous racism in the gay world. There is awful homophobia in the Black community. Hart subscribed to neither; he simply spoke his "truth” and preached profoundly. He handled it with grace and perspective. He defended his craft — the gall of standup comedy — seducing and relentlessly drawing out gasps, guffaws even, while simultaneously holding up an unflattering but humanizing mirror to anyone who sits before him. He mentioned many other comics who do the same — including the controversial and fearless Sarah Silverman (to me a deity) and his own sour-sentimental meeting with the legendary Don Rickles, who upon meeting him referred to him with “comic irony” as a “monkey.” It took him a long, hard, cathartic, soul-searching minute to “get it” — the quintessential “playing rough” moment for cerebral adults. “Winky-wink.”
This man can take every bit as much as he dishes out. If Hart can find humor in all the mean-spirited, if “funny,” jokes uttered by whites at the expense of blacks, I can survive and transcend his. Because, after all, they were FUNNY. I would have loved to see Hart host the Oscars: It would be sharp, funny, sexy, smart, truthful and irreverent. I also would love sitting as the lone fag in an audience at one of his scathing performances.
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We may not end up the best of friends, never thick as thieves — our personal experiences and festering wounds rendering us forever estranged — but I know this for sure: I would laugh with him, at him, and, most important, at MYSELF.
Charlie Price is a Denver-based hairstylist who travels the world; he appeared on Shear Genius, the Bravo TV series about hairdressers that aired in 22 countries. He's collaborated with many product manufacturers, including Aveda, Sassoon and Revlon Professional, and has created runway looks as lead hairstylist at NY Fashion Week for such designers as Jason Wu, Jeremy Scott and Cynthia Rowley. Price co-founded and is the producer of Denver Fashion Week and recently launched Beauty Underground Magazine, a publication that features the work of the best international hairstylists.
Westword occasionally publishes op-eds and essays on matters of interest in metro Denver. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to email@example.com.