Is Kevin Hart About To Become The New Will Smith? » VSB

Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Is Kevin Hart About To Become The New Will Smith?

This movie made HOW much???

This movie made HOW much???

That question on its face seems completely laughable. I should know. I laughed when I wrote it. However, with the success of Ride Along this weekend – breaking the record for January openings with a projected $47.8 million – it does make me wonder.

Kevin Hart has been EVERYWHERE lately. Whoever his manager is needs the raise of all raises. He’s in commercials. He’s in movies. Not just Paper Soldiers type movies anymore either; Kevin Hart is showing up in movies with Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone. Let that sink in for a minute. I realize that Grudge Match wasn’t exactly a movie anybody ran out to see, but still, he’s made the leap from sh*t like Death At A Funeral (a terrible ensemble cast movie starring the always never sometimes kinda bankable Chris Rock) to a pretty much movie stealing performance in the better than it gets credit for movie Think Like A Man to somehow making a paint-by-the-numbers cheesy cop comedy in Ride Along manage to do REAL numbers. So much so that I’m curious about what About Last Night will do. Or better stated, what dat About Last Night do?

I suppose this entire premise will be all for naught if About Last Night – a rom com coming out on Valentine’s Day so that Black people have a movie to go see that night – doesn’t do very well.

Let me just say this…I’m as surprised as anybody that I’m even posing this. I really am. If there’s any actor that I ever thought would be making a possible leap into big money Hollywood territory it would be Idris Elba (its coming if that James Bond thing ever comes thru). For the most part, Kevin Hart has never been my cup of tea when he’s going all Kevin Hart, which means a lot of yelling and extra-ness. But when he reigns it in and just sticks to be organically funny, he’s actually quite charming. In fact, Kevin Hart has definitely placed himself into the leading comic category. Hell, he’s pretty much on “the name you know” status.

While we’re here, let me toss something else into the WTF juicer. I think Drake may end up becoming one of the rappers who successfully manages an acting career…again. Granted, not a single one of anybody outside of Canada was watching DeGrassi Jr High when he was Wheelchair Jimmy, but he murdered SNL this past weekend. He’s got that same presence that Justin Timberlake has. And surprisingly (should he decide to give it a go) that Big Boi from Outkast has (Dre not so much despite wanting to be the acting half of the duo). Hell, even Peyton Manning has it. The camera loves these people. And it helps that Drake is well spoken…he speaks so well. It’s not racist because I’m Black. I mean, it’s still racist, but it’s not as racist. Because I’m Black.

I digress.

Drake actually seems like he could give the acting thing a run and do a good job. He doesn’t have dashing good looks or anything. I realize some women absolutely adore him and all but I mean, Drake looks like Drake. Do with that what you will. But Drake has acting ability and he’s got the right personality to pretty much do whatever he wants. I could totally see Drake taking on some legit role in some legit movie and winning some legit award for it. I can’t see Kevin Hart winning any awards unless they come from organizations that start with Black Something Or Other. Which is okay.

All of this remains to be seen. Clearly I’m jumping all kinds of guns. But I am genuinely surprised at the success of Ride Along. And it has to be squarely on Kevin Hart. Nobody is checking for Ice Cube no matter how many “thugged out” Coors Light commercials he does. Even if it is mostly Black people who showed up, the amount of money this movie pulled in will at least makes folks take notice.

Put it this way, The Best Man Holiday, a movie that nearly every single Black person in existence seemed to go see pulled in $30.4 million on the Thanksgiving holiday. Tyler Perry movies average somewhere between $21 and $24 million (to be fair, he’s had a few movies open up in the $30 and $40 million range). Somehow, this movie with Kevin Hart as the lead did crazy numbers so you KNOW it wasn’t just Black folks at the movies. Perhaps he has made the leap. The new Will Smith is a tall order. And probably not that accurate…yet. Plus he’s not tall enough to play a serious love interest role like Hitch to endear him to people of all races everywhere. But if Kevin Hart gets a role where he’s an AIDS patient and loses lots of weight and hands in the performance of a lifetime in Philly Buyer’s Club two years from now…well…

…is Kevin Hart possibly the new kid on the block from Philly to become America’s darling??

Le hmm.


Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • Erica

    umm… I watched Degrassi and all my friends at Howard did too! lol.

    • Boo Radley

      Yep. Me, too. And he wasn’t on Degrassi Junior Hiiiiiigh. He wasn’t on the show until it was the Degrassi Community School, and the show was just Degrassi by then. On a side note, I have the old 80’s DJH shows in a boxed DVD set, and I live in Texas. Your premise is flawed, sir!

    • Liberty?No?OK

      I’ve found my people! #BisonBabies #YoungAlum

  • JayIzUrGod

    Nah, he won’t be the next Will Smith. Kevin Hart gets to have his own legacy. If anything, I see him being a Hollywood version of Louie C.K. It took a minute for him to be bankable, but he’s now found the right time, the right material, and the right markets. He’s good. Kevin Hart will have his very own legacy, and it would be cheap to compare him to anyone, because I really haven’t seen anyone gain fame the way Kevin has (its organic, period).

    Whether we agree on how funny he is, or what he deserves, the man has worked hard, and has an empire to prove it. That speaks for itself, and I do believe one day, he will stop being funny and become a serious actor (a la Tom Hanks & Jim Carrey). Until then, let it play out. And the same goes for Drake (the Justin Timberlake comparison is spot on…actors turned to pop artists turned back into actors). What he represents will always be debateable but his empire is on the move, his stock is on the rise, and he aint quitting anytime soon. Them beez the brakes.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      But wouldn’t Timberlake be in a different category because the Mickey Mouse club required him to both sing and act? IMO, Justin would be light years ahead of Drake when you take that into consideration..

      • Lets get this straight…..NO ONE is touching Justin in the “I can be just as bankable in music AND on screen” game. No one. Not even Jamie Foxx, who is an EXCEPTIONAL actor, can really touch the influence JT has when his albums drop. But anywho, I still think Drake is on the same kind of trajectory….

        • And Jamie took a long time to grow…he peaked at 38

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Jamie’s music took a long time to grow but the acting has always been there. It took a non comedy role, Collateral, for folks to see he had chops. No Collateral = No Ray = No Django

          • How old is Jamie? Even when he was younger (think Booty Call) he always seemed so old in the face to me.

            • 46

            • 321mena123

              Old in the face? Dang AP! Like the entire face?

        • Sigma_Since 93

          The only difference is Justin’s music has crossover appeal and Jamie’s doesn’t.

          • I think his singles have crossover appeal (Blame It on the Alcohol), but his overall albums certainly cater to hardcore RnB fans

            • Sigma_Since 93

              Also consider that we consider Justin to be a blue eyed soul brother and has been given the honorary black card. Musically, Jamie hasn’t gotten his white card. I can’t soccer moms who aren’t down with the swirl playing The letter word or Infatuation.

          • locks & beards

            Jamie does not take music seriously. To him it’s just something he enjoys doing.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              I think after Peep This didn’t do so well it became that way; folks seriously slept on that album. People never took him to be a serious musician despite the fact he went to college for music because the comedy took off first.

            • Boo Radley

              I get that same sense from him. He strikes me as one of those overly talented people — the types who are very good at many things yet perpetually unhappy because they can’t find one thing to be great at.

        • Aly

          Is Justin really bankable on the screen though? I can’t recall a movie he’s starred in that has done well.

          • He did a great job in that Facebook movie….He has his niche….he does rom com’s mostly, but honestly, I cant recall most rom com’s 4 months after they’ve left theaters lol…and a lot of those I wouldnt have seen if JT wasnt in it….the best of his acting skill tho is on SNL, if they made him a permanent cast member it would make perfect sense

            • Dyck in a Box is a favorite Christmas tune of mine

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Friends with Benefits

          • I would agree with this. I don’t see him as an “Actor” but more as a sketch comedian. The two don’t always translate for me.

          • esa

            i think of JT as the perfect TV star. he should have a variety show and wear a tuxedo and pretend he’s Dean Martin to Jay Z’s Frank Sinatra.

            • Only if there’s lots of alcohol involved like the old Dean Martin show. :)

            • Aly

              Yes! I could totally see that, esa. He’s very likable and definitely funny and talented, but he doesn’t scream “leading man” to me.

              • 321mena123

                He is hot.

      • JayIzUrGod

        I’m not saying Drake is in the same league, rather that the mold is similiar in that both acted first before becoming full time musicians though yes, Justin sang and acted for Disney. But they both have the acting bug better in their older age than their younger years

    • Hip hop has been largely based on consistency, if Drake were to take time to do acting the doors would lock behind him…Justin can take years off and come right back, Drake cant

      • JayIzUrGod

        Good point but i disagree. Justin has cornered a portion of the pop market just for himself. Nobody makes music like his though it sounds like anyone could. Same goes for Drake. Plenty of dudes try to rap and sing but Drake has that market cornered and i don’t see anyone taking that spot from him even if he does take a brake.

    • Shamira

      I wouldnt even go as far to say Louis CK. More like Mike Epps, IMO.

      • LehcarB

        Anybody find Mike Epps funny?

        • *pass mic to Keith*

        • Shamira

          my point is…Mike Epps had a heyday, capitalized on it, and was in EVERYTHING for a hot minute. Cashed out, and is now barely filling up seats at the Laff Factory, but at least he got paid in the process, lol

          • LehcarB

            It is really sad when a comedian falls out of relevancy. Saw Tracy Morgan a month ago(30 rock fan had to be loyal) he spent 90% of his time discussing his love for eating out white milfs.

            • Tracy Morgan always struck me as someone who didnt realize people were laughing AT him

              • Val

                I think he knows, he just likes having money more than he cares about having self-respect.

            • Lorianne

              Tracy Morgan was the headliner at my school’s homecoming comedy show sometime between 04-05. This was a free show and people walked out, including me. He has got to be the most vile ‘popular’ comedians out there. All he talked about was nasty sex related topics. I was there for 5 minutes tops. I couldnt take him seriously following that wreck of a show.

            • 321mena123

              I have NEVER understood Tracy Morgan. He is just LOUD and not funny! Like drunk LOUD and ridiculous.

              • LehcarB

                He was actually pretty subdued. Sat down for 70% of his routine. Nothing loud about him. Ill give you ridiculous tho

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Nah, Mime Rpps is thinking too small. Only Black people know Mike Epps, White people don’t. I used the Louie comparison because Louie worked for a hell of a long time before his brand of observation and family based humor popped and honestly, that’s the same story for Kevin

  • Suki

    Good post lol I like Kevin Hart. The Real Husbands of Hollywood TV series wasn’t half bad too. He’s an idiot. As far as the next Will… I dunno.

    But like you said about Drake? Spot on!

  • iamnotakata

    “Drake actually seems like he could give the acting thing a run and do a good job. He doesn’t have dashing good looks or anything. I realize some women absolutely adore him and all but I mean, Drake looks like Drake. Do with that what you will. But Drake has acting ability and he’s got the right personality to pretty much do whatever he wants. I could totally see Drake taking on some legit role in some legit movie and winning some legit award for it. I can’t see Kevin Hart winning any awards unless they come from organizations that start with Black Something Or Other. Which is okay.”

    I am here for all of this!! Drakes SNL performance made me love him that much more!!

  • I think Drake is actually hilarious but the SNL writers didn’t really do him justice. The Katt Williams skit was great lol As for Kevin Hart, I’m glad he’s seeing success in Hollywood and I don’t think he’ll be the next Will Smith because he’s already carving out his own little comedic space.

  • Moderation for what? Why I gotta be silence for? I ain’t even say anything bad.

    • nillalatte

      You just naturally bad so they gots to lock you up as often as possible.

  • Pillows McGee

    about last night is a remake of the 1986 movie. I actually saw it over this past summer in a preview and I think its pretty good, but the main focus of that movie is ealy and joy, then again you tend to enjoy stuff more if its free lol …if it comes out on valentines weekend + heart i think the movie will do well also

  • Msdebbs

    I’m sure there’s a height requirement for the next Will Smith so Kevin Hart is a no go. I don’t think his stand up is that funny but I really can’t hate on his miniature azz all his hard work is finally paying off so I’m happy for him.

  • LehcarB

    I was def watching Degrassi until Jimmy Brooks left the show and all those new people were added. (I wonder what the chick playing Liberty is up to?). Drake can act,then and now.

    I guess I have to look like a hater here; Ride Along was made on a 27 mil budget. 47 mil simply covers that plus promotion expenses. And the lil left is the profit. So no I’m not convinced Kevin Hart is a star but with him being everywhere he’s making good money. He has this calendar year and he will lose traction. I recall Katt Williams being every briefly too,no?

    • White people never embraced Katt

      • LehcarB

        For the majority no.But you be surprised . These white boys 20-26 they be knowing

      • I won’t say White people as much as the mainstream crowd never embraced him. Hipsters were checking for Katt, but not the people in the suburbs where the real paper is made.

  • Maneek

    I’m “watched degrassi when the computer lab teacher was a student” years old.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Do you remember Drake was also in Soul Food the series?

      • u lie? Where and when? Speaking of, the new black chick on SNL looks just like Maxine Joseph from Soul Food….

    • Boo Radley

      I’m “remember when Emma was an embryo–literally” years old.

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