Kevin Hart may have spoken up about athletes choosing to kneel during the national anthem, and Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, but don’t expect the funnyman to wade any deeper into the political fray.
“People are taking things and trying to turn them into political moments,” Hart tells ESSENCE from the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills where he was promoting his latest film, The Upside, out January 11. “I don’t speak on politics, never have. I speak on what I know.”
The Philadelphia-bred comedian is known for remaining mum about politics, instead choosing to focus his comments and stand-up comedy routines on lighter fare. He’s even been criticized by fellow comedians, such as Kathy Griffin, for keeping out of it.
While Hart claims to know very little about partisan issues, he’s well-versed about being a Black man in America — and he’s tired of watching racism and injustice continue unabated.
“The older you get, the more disgusted you get with the repetitive behavior,” he says, explaining why he chose to speak up in support of athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
However, he’s frustrated that the reason behind the protest — racism — often gets overlooked.
“When the conversation of the flag had come up and I was asked questions, it was more about me saying this has nothing to do with protesting the national anthem or American flag, it’s being spun into that,” he says, explaining the media often twists things to fit a particular narrative.
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“But we’re ignoring what it’s about,” Hart continues. “It’s me dealing with the reality of what the frustration has been that has caused people to protest and speak up.”
“That’s not politics. It’s right from wrong,” the father of three insists. “For me, I know my lane. The day I jump out that lane and do something else is the day your head gets bit off.”
While he’s not getting into any political discussions anytime soon, Hart does want people to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, on Tuesday, especially if you’re concerned about the future of the country.
“Get up. Get out and vote. If you don’t understand why it’s important, I can’t tell you,” he says. “You don’t have to be into politics to understand why you need to vote at this point in time.”