Another day, another story about Kevin Hart. But unlike the rest of this week’s stories, it’s not about his cheating/extortion scandal. Instead, it’s about the ways in which Kevin has tried to keep it moving in light of a very messy situation. Yesterday, he posted another Instagram video doing what he always does, running with his friends. He talked to the camera about how his workout outfit was reminiscent of Janet’s Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” days. A couple of days ago, when he and Eniko were seen out together, he uploaded a video to his Instagram video of himself blowing into a cup of tea. He looks at the camera and repeatedly says “hot.” That was it. But even before then, as we were still digesting the details, as news articles and think pieces were being written, Kevin Hart’s team released a family-friendly mobile video game app.
It was comical for obvious reasons. Chief among them being the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad timing. Family friendly and habitual adulterer don’t exactly fit hand in hand. But still, the release went forward.
The video game is called Gold Ambush with Kevin Hart and the description reads as follows.
“Kevin Hart and his family star in this endless running and city building adventure. Secure your land from oncoming attackers by laying down ingenious combinations of traps. Defeat opposing castles by mastering the traps they’ve set forth and raiding their valuable resources. Will your castle reign supreme?”
Perhaps the timing isn’t so bad after all. Kevin could use his own game to learn how to avoid the traps oncoming attackers have attempted to set in his own life.
But seriously, let’s get to the issue at hand. When the image of Kevin’s video game was released people, mostly on Twitter, remarked at the fact that Kevin was depicted as significantly taller than the digitized version of his wife Eniko. A quick scan of any of their pictures together will prove that image is not one based in truth. But that wasn’t the inaccuracy that caught my attention.
I was more concerned about the images of his children.
For reference, here’s an actual picture of Kevin’s children.
Image via Getty
And this is how they’re depicted in the video game.
I’m sure you see the difference here. I saw this image the day the news was announced. And I’ve been bothered by it ever since. I know I brought it up at least twice in the office, searching for an explanation as to why Kevin’s avatar was so spot on and the ones belonging to his children were not.
I thought for a second that perhaps this boy and girl weren’t supposed to represent Kevin’s actual kids. But that’s not the case. The description of the characters says this.
*4 New Characters with unique superpowers: Kevin, Eniko, Hendrix and Heaven.
Those are his kids’ names.
And I’m not the only one who’s asked this question. On the YouTube page featuring the promotional video for the game, one user, day dream, wrote:
“So many questions about his family characters… Why is he taller than his wife? Why does his wife look Latina (like his side chick)? Why does his kids look light skinned and racially ambiguous (they’re dark skinned and full black)? Is he low key trying to tell us that this is how he really wants his family to feel? Hummm…”
I can’t remember if it was the first or second time I brought it up in the office but during one of our conversations, Brande offered the only explanation that seemed to make sense. “It’s almost like they’re trying to make them look like they’re Kevin and Eniko’s children together.”… As opposed to the children he had with his brown-skinned first wife, Torrei Hart.
There’s a chance that it was the developer’s idea to make Kevin’s kids lighter. While the name seller is listed as Stand Up Digital, they’re not owned by Hart. It seems that they only partnered with his company HartBeat Digital to release the game.
And while we don’t know exactly how much say he had in his children’s complexions, the fact that his children are the reason he decided to make a video game in the first place, is what makes the final product so disappointing.
According to the PR Newswire, Stand Up Digital had released a Gold Ambush before the one starring Hart and his family.
“As fate would have it, the game landed in the hands of Kevin’s two kids, Heaven and Hendrix. They played it non-stop, sparking an idea within Kevin. When he found out who the masterminds were behind Gold Ambush, he knew he had people in his circle with connections to Pinxter that he could reach out to. As a true family man, he instantly thought this game would make the perfect project to involve his wife, Eniko Hart, and children in. Thus began Kevin’s full partnership with StandUp Digital (the name ironically fitting seamlessly into his personal brand).”
His kids loved the game, influenced Hart to make his own and even with characters inspired completely by his children, they weren’t properly reflected in the final image. I don’t know if Hart could have done more to correct the inaccuracy. But it’s bigger than him. The fact that he would have even had to is the real issue here. With the lack of diverse characters that has always been present in the gaming industry, this is just another way in which they’ve dropped the ball. Another way in which Black people have been used for our influence and popularity without fully embracing our Black identity.