That Time I Interviewed Kevin Hart and He Was Dead-Ass Serious the Whole Time

Kevin Hart Insta

Kevin Hart | photo via Instagram

Comedians are not funny all the time. And I’m not talking about when they’re on stage. I mean in life. You can’t expect a professional funnyman to be hilarious during a casual convo any more than you can bank on a Starbucks employee to whip up a frap’ for you during their off time.

Still, when I interviewed Kevin Hart in 2011 for Entertainment Weekly, just after he shocked Hollywood by investing $750000 in his independent stand-up comedy film Laugh At My Pain and producing it via his Hartbeat Productions company and CodeBlack, then scoring a $2,000,000 box office weekend debut, I expected a couple of jokes when I was set to speak to him about his success and how it all went down.

When he hopped on the phone to talk to me, though, I realized within the first 30 seconds that there’d be no punchlines in this chat. He was anxious to talk about his business acumen. About the groundwork he laid. How he strategized. About the risks that led to the weekend’s gratifying reward.

As you read this, Kevin is having a moment. He just released a sneaker through Nike Yeah, that shoe up there. He’s signed to them as an athlete (those that follow him know this is more than a vanity play. He’s an all-around fitness fanatic that has become a runner over the last two years). They’re dope, too.

And this Friday (July 17) Central Intelligence, his new movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, comes out. It’s a good time to be Kevin Hart.

In a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, he spoke, again, about his business savvy. Now not only is he flourishing as comedic actor, but he’s in the early stages of creating a Netflix-esque service for fellow comedians. His blueprint is Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service, which guarantees that artists involved get a bigger piece of the pie when their audiences tune in. Kevin also speaks about putting those around him in positions to succeed (Ex: his personal trainer will now be involved with his Nike endeavors, too).

In his BFC interview, Kevin was “On”–delivering jokes like he was performing and promoting his products like a seasoned salesman. But each time he gets to talking about future endeavors, the showman transforms into some cross between a motivational speaker and goal-driven businessman.

Like my buddy said in that tweet, I could watch Kevin Hart pressers all day. It’s comedy with a heap of real inspirational rap. He always charges up my battery a bit.

Every time I see him speak or do an interview and drop a gem, I always think back to my EW interview from five years ago. We had a great convo. I never laughed. “I’m trying to become a mogul,” Kevin told me. And when I hung up the phone, I thought, “This guy is a comedian, but none of this shit is a joke to him.” It’s still true.

Bonus: Dude just dropped the trailer for his next comedy film What Now?, out in October. He’s funny here.

Gucci + Gia Coppolla = Great Story

This is fresh.

Gucci x Gia Coppola’s The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice Film

Publications and brands today are constantly looking for ways to create content that isn’t corny, tells a story and makes them money without feeling like blatant advertising.

gucci-copolla-orpheus

Actors Lou Doillon and Marcel Castenmiller | photograph by Dan Regan for Vogue

 

Gucci reached out to director Gia Coppola for this 4-part short film called The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s an update on the Greek myth about Orph’ (I always shorten names), who was known to charm all with his music. All the clothing featured is from Gucci designer Alessandro Michele’s 2016 Pre-Fall collection. It’s very well done and a great example of how you can tell a compelling story while selling a product (fly-ass Gucci garments in this case) and a media company (Conde Nast and their branded content army 23 Stories) can use it as respectable content they’re proud of. This is the type of thing I hope to do one day.

Also, shout out to Dev Hynes, who produced the music for Gia’s Orpheus. I’m looking forward to his forthcoming album, Freetown Sound.

Random-Ass Fun Brad Fact: When I was in the 6th grade at Martin Luther King Middle School I took Greek as a foreign language and our teacher gave us new names of gods and mythical figures. I was Spartacus.

Inspirations: The Coveteur

The CoveteurIn my last post, I talked about be the original visual inspiration for the He Tells Stories site. Today, let’s get into the future and what site is making me adjust to more of what I envision this place becoming.

Over the last month or so, I’ve happened upon and become a huge fan of The Coveteur. It’s a style site that profiles artistic people from all walks of life. R&B singer Miguel, model Chrissy Teigen and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington have all opened up their home or creative space to let the site photograph and interview them. They hop into their closets and talk about their favorite pieces and in the midst of all that, the reader gets a greater understanding of who the person is overall.

TC also goes the extra mile. Not only do they identify the brand of the blazer, jeans, or shoes someone is wearing, they give you an opportunity to “Shop the Look” by linking off to the article of clothing’s site so you can purchase it. So as Coveteur visitor, you are entertained by the stories and pictures (maybe even inspired, depending on the subject’s interview) and you can shop. That’s a good experience.

Beyond that, The Coveteur just looks good. It’s busy, but not overdone. There’s a saying that iconic French designer Coco Chanel made popular that goes something like, “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” That comes to mind when I look at their template. Both of their home and article pages are full of content. But there’s just enough white space to not make things look cluttered. That’s a tough beam to walk.

So yeah, I want that. I want a site that entertains, enlightens and inspires people. And I also want the shit to look good. I know that so far I’ve only mentioned fashiony stuff as look inspirations. That’s because I think aesthetics are damn near as important as content. And I find that fashion folk tend to lead the charge on that front.

I can’t wait to show y’all the new site and the logo. I’m aiming for the reveal to come in about two weeks.

-bw

Inspirations: Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist

Image from The Sartorialist

The first incarnation of this site (“first,” because another is coming in the next few weeks. Been working hard on it!) was inspired by style photographer Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist blog. His site is essentially a clean, white board that showcases his pictures. I admire its simplicity. Go to his blog, look at one or two shots he’s posted daily with minimal text. Get in, get out. With that in mind when I began working on the He Tells Stories site, I basically told a designer, “Let’s do that!” And months later, I’m realizing that I’m going to need a bit more activity to showcase my videos. I’ll write about another site I’m chasing because of its look and purpose now and why in another post soon. But back to The Sartorialist!

I almost felt corny writing about Scott, because he’s such a popular figure in the fashion/street style photography world. Like, “Duh, of course you love his site. Everyone does!” And it’s true. But when you’re finding your way like I am, blueprints like his are worth a look. I want to take pictures and create images that are as striking as his. And I want a site that’s as efficient, too. It’s coming soon.

Inspiration is a funny thing. You take a little bit from this and that. But if you’re not careful, you’ll lose your personality. I’m looking forward to bringing more of me to the table by telling my stories while incorporating ideas that come from elsewhere.

Cheers to that.

-bw