Rapper Lil Nas X’s mega-popular “Old Town Road” remix held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 19 weeks, up until mid-August.
Twelve weeks into his top-slot reign, the hip-hop artist came out as gay via Twitter on June 30, the final day of Pride month.
“Some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more,” he tweeted at the time along with a video for his song ‘C7osure,’ in which he mentions coming out. “but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure.”
Both positive and negative fan reactions bubbled across the internet, right on the heels of Lil Nas X’s late-June release of his new EP ‘7.’ As of Sept. 3, feedback hadn’t quite dissipated — including from celebrity comedian and actor Kevin Hart, who is a Philadelphia native.
Lil Nas X and Hart appeared together in an interview on HBO’s talk show “The Shop,” where the esteemed rapper addressed the reasons that inspired his viral announcement. When marketing executive Paul Rivera asked Lil Nas X why he came out only recently, Hart interjected: “He said he was gay. So what?”
Lil Nas X then said he grew up being taught “to hate this s--t,” that he wasn’t “supposed to ever like this.”
“Hate what?” Hart interrupted for a second time.
“Homosexuality, gay people. Come on now,” Lil Nas X replied. “If you’re really from the hood, you know. … So for me, the ‘cool’ dude with the song on top of everything to say this any other time, I’m doing this for attention, in my eyes. But if you’re doing this while you’re at the top, you know it's for real, and it doesn’t really matter I guess.”
Hart hails from North Philadelphia. Lots of “The Shop” viewers took to Twitter to condemn Hart’s comments, claiming the remarks were insensitive and detracted from Lil Nas X’s chance to share his experience with fans.
“Interesting how Kevin Hart tried to gaslight lil nas x about homophobia, saying it doesn’t exist in the black community; when he himself said he would beat his child’s skull if they were Gay. He sat there like “why does it matter” hmm yes Kevin....why does it ....,” one viewer tweeted.
“Kevin Hart really acted clueless like he just wasn’t in hot water for promoting the exact culture Lil Nas X grew up in,” another Twitter user named David said.
Hart has come under fire before for homophobic comments. In December 2018, he stepped down from hosting the Oscar’s after backlash from anti-LGBTQ tweets he posted years prior.
At the time, BuzzFeed News reported Hart was deleting homophobic tweets, including one from 2011 that read, “Yo if my son comes home & try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay.’”
Following Hart and Lil Nas X’s interaction, others chimed in to defend the rapper, saying he deserved an uninterrupted opportunity to discuss his coming out journey, but made the best of the situation.
“Many people come out to fight against the exact joking and mockery of LGBTQ+ folks that comedians like Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle put out into the world,” tweeted Raquel Willis, executive editor of Out Magazine.
This week, in a new interview with Hoodrich Radio, Lil Nas X broke his silence on the exchange, saying, “I’m not mad at Kevin Hart,” and that he hadn’t publically addressed the issue for fear his words would be twisted.
As of yet, Hart hasn’t commented on the fury he’s received online. Hart is recovering from back injuries sustained in a car crash on Sunday in California.