Kevin Hart Says We Don't Talk Enough About Good Black Fathers

Actor and father of four Kevin Hart makes it his mission to contribute to the positive representation of Black fathers and to make sure kids in underserved communities have safe spaces.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Kevin Hart had the Boys and Girls Club as his after-school spot. It's where he sometimes did his homework and extracurricular activities and had access to books and an extended sense of community.

"They did their best just raising money and doing as much as they could to show the kids in the community that there was an added component of education and help," Hart says in an interview with Kindred by Parents.

Now, in collaboration with The Children's Place, he's showing kids in underserved communities across the country they deserve safe spaces that are fun, inspiring, and a resource for learning.

On Tuesday, Hart unveiled a redesigned reading space in East Harlem at the Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center. More than 100 children filled the outdoor and indoor space at the center as they played games and then listened to Hart read along to his children's book Marcus Makes a Movie.

The reading space in East Harlem was just the beginning. Hart and the Children's Place will launch several learning centers in deserving communities across the country. Online retailer ThriftBooks has already donated 2,500 books to the center's refreshed library and has committed to donating a total of more than 20,000 books to future centers.

Kevin Hart reading his book Marcus Makes a Movie
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for The Children's Place, Inc.

Like Hart's partnership with the Children's Place, his children's books, or his roles portraying Black dads in ways we don't often get to see on the big screen, he's committed to bringing positive representation to the forefront. "As I've grown to be and become the man that I am today, you start to understand what's important," he says. "You start to understand, at the end of the day, what you want your story to be."

In his new movie Me Time, coming to Netflix on August 26, 2022, Hart plays a stay-at-home dad whose wife takes the kids on vacation so he can have some time to himself. That's not a representation of fathers, especially Black fathers, that hits the mainstream every day.

For Hart, the way we talk about Black fathers, and his contribution to that broader discussion, matters.

"The conversation of good Black fathers—it doesn't happen enough," says Hart. "Very far, few, and in between."

Mothers, he says, should undoubtedly be celebrated. Black fathers, he says, need that encouragement too. "You need that energy," says Hart. "You need to hear other men be celebrated, and doing the task of it makes it cooler and makes it better—and it also makes those that may not be doing it to the best of their ability want to change."

The father of four, who often featured his kids and his parenting in his stand-up comedy, says there's "a lot of funny" in being a dad and a husband. At the end of the day, he hopes his light and humorous yet intentional displays of active parenting encourage other fathers. After all, there's so much adults can learn from children.

"Kids teach you how to be happy. They're happy," he says. "They're so free. There's not a care in the world other than the want for love."

That's what he gets most from his own kids: "Remembering that you should take the time out to really make sure that you're being happy—that you're being present, and that you're aware."

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