Kevin Hart Takes on the Cancel Culture

For decades comedian-actor-producer Kevin Hart has been a Hollywood box-office cash magnet.

Hart has starred in a string of successful films, including “Think Like a Man,” “Grudge Match,” “Ride Along,” “Ride Along 2,” “Central Intelligence,” and the “Jumanji” franchise.

In 2015 Time Magazine saw fit to include him on its annual Time 100 list as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In his latest film release, “Fatherhood,” Hart expands his range of character portrayals by taking on the role of a man who struggles to raise his newborn baby girl all on his own, after his wife tragically passes away shortly after giving birth.

In addition to acting, the Hollywood A-lister has also had quite a bit of experience in hosting awards ceremonies. Two major ones in which he can boast include the 2011 BET Awards and the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

Following his 2012 MTV host experience, an optimistic Hart appeared to be looking forward to engaging in more work as an emcee, telling the New York Times, “Hopefully after MTV, of course we’re talking Emmys, Oscars, whatever.”

A three-time “Saturday Night Live” host, Hart went on to co-host, along with Dwayne Johnson, the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.

Then in late 2018, he almost got to check another dream host gig off his wish list. It was announced that he would be the host of the 2019 Academy Awards.

The initial excitement over the announcement would be short-lived, though. The cancel culture wound up roaring into Hart’s life in a fierce way.

After 48 hours of social media outrage over some eight-year-old tweets, Hart extricated himself from host responsibilities.

In January 2019, after receiving some strong support from previous Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, he thought about reconsidering.

However, social media activists were not about to pull back on their attacks against him. Once again Hart announced that he would not be hosting.

The 2019 Academy Awards ceremony was ultimately held minus a host.

It was refreshing when Hart recently made the decision to weigh in on cancel culture. He made headlines for remarks made during an interview with the British Sunday Times.

“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time?” Hart asked. “I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from [screwing] up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t [messed] up or done some dumb [things].”

According to Hart, because comics are too afraid of being cancelled, comedic arts have suffered a severe blow.

“You’re thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the [posterior],” he explained, pointing out that people often misunderstand the intent of comedy practitioners.

“There’s an assumption it’s always bad and, somehow, we forgot comedians are going for the laugh,” he added.

News media and social media trolls summarily attacked and ridiculed Hart for daring to question the stifling effects of cancel culture. Strangely, many tried to do so by belittling the actor’s success.

Hart used his twitter account of 37 million followers to respond.

“I rarely talk s***… but I felt the need to today,” Hart posted. “Stop believing these headlines and read the actual articles … you guys fall for the banana in the tail pipe trick every d*** time.”

Social media saboteurs also attempted to claim that Hart is not effective at accomplishing the primary goal of a comedian; that is to simply make people laugh.

“The ‘He’s not funny’ slander is the best … I have been the highest grossing comedian in entertainment for years now … I have also been the highest grossing comedian in the box office with over 4 billion in earnings …,” Hart posted.

Hart’s Christianity has no doubt helped to anchor him in troubled times.

In 2014, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he recalled a time early in his career when he was financially unable to pay his rent. He leaned upon Nancy, his faith-filled mother, for help. All she would say at the time was, “Have you been reading your Bible?”

A week went by and things looked like they were going from bad to worse. But Mom kept repeating the admonition, saying, “When you read your Bible, then we’ll talk about your rent.”

Reluctant at the time, the good son nevertheless complied.

“I go home and say, ‘Man let me open this Bible up,’” Hart explained to Winfrey. “Open the Bible up, six rent checks fell out. She put all my rent checks in the Bible.”

Hart would come to realize that more than mere rent had been paid. His Savior had paid his debt to God.

After a serious car accident in September of 2019, he expressed his profound gratitude to God for refocusing his life.

In a video post on Instagram that begins with news broadcast footage reporting the details of the accident, Hart narrates the post with some powerful and heartfelt words.

“When God talks, you gotta listen,” he says. “I swear, life is funny, because some of the craziest things that happen to you end up being the things you needed most.”

“In this case, I honestly feel like God basically told me to sit down,” he says. “When you’re moving too fast and you’re doing too much, sometimes you can’t see the things that you’re meant to see. But after my accident, I see things differently. I see life from a whole new perspective.”

Hart ends the video post with words we can all cling to, saying, “… I’m thankful for God. I’m thankful for life.”

Chuck Norris Is Living the Meme

Chuck Norris has achieved a level of Internet fame that could make a Kardashian turn green.

The multi-dimensional Norris is recognized internationally as a martial artist, actor, film producer, best-selling author, and authentic digital phenom.

His fame began when a friend and fellow actor invited him to portray a villain in a martial arts movie. The film is called “Way of the Dragon,” and the friend who encouraged him to take the role was none other than martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who plays the lead.

Norris has scores of films to his credit, including roles in “Code of Silence,” “The Delta Force,” and “Firewalker.” And he has had major success on the small screen as well, playing the long-running title role in the television series “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

One of Norris’s sterling attributes is courage, which has served him well in his capacity to speak his mind in a straightforward and bold manner, without having someone else provide him a script.

He recently criticized the current administration for policies that deepen America’s dependence on China. Norris zeroed-in on the effects of the ballooning national debt, the harm to the economy, and the potential threat to national security.

“There has been much said and written about the White House’s new world-record-breaking $6 trillion dollar budget. But what I have to say will absolutely convince you the fiscal insanity coming from the Oval Office will cripple our economy and your future and family, too,” Norris stated.

“The size, scope, growth and communist political regime of China make it the No. 1 threat to U.S. economic and national power, stability and security, according to Market Watch,” he added.

Norris’s words carry a great deal of weight, thanks to his additional status as an Internet icon.

Satirical bits about the actor-martial artist began to spring up on the web in early 2005. Initially, college students were the ones who shared the memes, but the trend soon spread to people of all ages and backgrounds.

The amusing linguistically sophisticated one-liners, referred to as “Facts about Chuck Norris,” have taken on a life of their own, and over the years have grown into a massive collection of exaggerated tongue-in-cheek statements about Norris’s superhuman capabilities.

Choice “Facts about Chuck Norris” examples include the following:

–“Chuck Norris threw a grenade and killed 50 people. Then it exploded.”

–“Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.”

–“Chuck Norris’s computer has no backspace button. Chuck Norris doesn’t make mistakes.”

–“Chuck Norris makes onions cry.”

–“Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone.”

–“When Chuck Norris enters a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on. He turns the dark off.”

This phenomenon continues to spread far and wide, permeating the pop culture with books, video games, and advertising campaigns.

Norris himself has appeared on major television talk shows, commenting on the “Facts” sensation, and even making it a point to visit military fans stationed in Iraq.

He is a faithful unapologetic Christian, whose official website includes a comprehensive Christian Resource page complete with audios, videos, articles, and downloadable books to assist believers in their daily walk.

One of the many Internet “Facts” actually prompted Norris to share his personal Christian testimony.

Appearing on the web for all to see, the spoof typified the hyperbolic humor of the Norris “Facts” mania. It read as follows: “Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad Chuck Norris has never cried.”

He responded by talking about a real person, who has supernatural healing power.

“There was a man whose tears could cure cancer or any other disease, including the real cause of all diseases – sin. His blood did. His name was Jesus, not Chuck Norris. If your soul needs healing, the prescription you need is not Chuck Norris’ tears, it’s Jesus’ blood.”

Norris’s relationship with God was kick-started at the age of 12, when he attended a Billy Graham crusade. He has freely shared his experiences with the trappings of celebrity, which are riddled with distractions and obstacles to faith’s path.

“Unfortunately a lot of times in the entertainment industry, sometimes you lose sight of what’s really important in your life.”

When he paid tribute to his 100-year-old mom this past Mother’s Day, he shared the importance of intercessory prayer in relation to his own life experience.

“My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin,” Norris explained. “When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.”

Interestingly, one thing Norris’s admirers and detractors can agree upon is that this extraordinary man has led an impressive life.

In an interview with CBN’s The 700 Club, Norris gave credit for his life’s blessings to the Creator.

“It’s amazing because people come up to me and say, ‘Chuck, you’re the luckiest guy in the world to be a world karate champion and a movie and TV star.’ When they say this to me, I kind of smile because luck had nothing to do with it; God had everything to do with it.”

Dennis Quaid’s ‘Blue Miracle’

Dennis Quaid is one of the rarest of Hollywood celebrities. Folks truly view him as the grinning guy next door who just happens to be a big-time movie star.

Standing apart from many Left Coast dreamers and achievers, there seems to be an additional attribute that Quaid possesses. He is one of the charmed ones in life who is blessed with an immensely successful acting career but is also gifted with the wherewithal to be able to sustain it.

His launch to stardom began in the 1980s with a string of hit movies that include “Breaking Away,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Big Easy,” “Innerspace,” and “Great Balls of Fire!”

Along the fame path, though, he remained committed to being part of family friendly entertainment, as evidenced in the films “The Parent Trap” and “Footloose.”

More recently, Quaid has chosen to be a vital part of Hollywood’s subcategory of movies, faith-based films, taking on major roles in movies such as “Soul Surfer” and “I Can Only Imagine.” In the process, via his participation in uplifting projects, he has established quite a track record within the faith film genre as a verifiably bankable star.

“Surfer” reportedly cost about $18 million to produce and earned more than $47 million in global box-office revenue. And “Imagine,” with a budget of a mere $7 million, has taken in more than $86 million since its release. Both films got the head-turning attention of movie executives, due to their remarkably sizable profit margins.

Quaid is also working on some yet-to-be-released faith-based projects, which includes “On a Wing and a Prayer,” a film based on a true story in which a Dad (played by Quaid) attempts to save his family from an impending plane crash.

One of the producers of the movie is Roma Downey, whose credits, along with her husband Mark Burnett, also include the highly successful television series “The Bible.”

“Imagine”’s directors Jon and Andrew Erwin tapped Quaid to star in another upcoming film project, “American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story.”

Regarded as one of the greatest stories in NFL history, Warner went from being an undrafted free agent to playing professional football for 12 seasons and in the process became a two-time Most Valuable Player and a Super Bowl MVP.

In observing Quaid’s career, I see a kind of enfolding of his faith within his work. He was raised a Baptist Christian. In addition to the art of acting, he is also a music artist and has written a Christian song for his mother, titled “On My Way to Heaven,” which was included in the “Imagine” film.

Quaid discussed his involvement in Christian artistic expression in a promotion video for the film and his song.

“It’s a connection to my faith roots in the sense that I grew up in the Baptist church, went to Sunday School, and got baptized when I was nine. I always loved the music from the church,” Quaid shared.

In “Imagine,” he portrays Arthur Millard, the difficult and sometimes abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Contemporary Christian Music group Mercy Me.

In an interview at the National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention in 2018, Quaid spoke about how playing Millard’s father led to trusting in the Almighty.

“After Arthur, I started having the thought of not judging anyone else and that included myself. Because you just let God take that over; let him take care of that all. It frees you up in life,” Quaid explained.

The actor talked about a long quest that he had undertaken to find an answer to an important question.

“I went around the world in my late 20s and the question I had was ‘Who is God?’ I became a seeker. I read the Bible cover to cover and for me, the answer is Jesus,” Quaid said.

He is presently the co-star of a yet another more recent redemptive project, the newly released Netflix film “Blue Miracle.”

The script is based upon the true story of a Christian orphanage in Mexico, which suffers from severe financial troubles. Quaid’s character Wade Malloy, a past two-time tournament champion fisherman but now a gruff individual long past his glory days, reluctantly teams up with a guardian and his kids for a chance to win a lucrative fishing competition.

Malloy’s coaching helps him grow beyond his past while simultaneously creating a bond with his fishing team of underprivileged children.

“Blue Miracle” follows a framework seen in many children’s sports movies, except that the sports related activity is not the usual hockey, baseball, or martial arts. Instead it spotlights the universally beloved sport of fishing.

The movie is ably executed and features the type of highly creative variants that allows it to end up being both satisfactorily entertaining and warmly endearing.

In a recent discussion of the film, Quaid spoke about his faith and how the virtue of humility unlocks “God’s miracles.”

“God hears me every time, I pray to God and He will help you listen,” Quaid told Movie Guide.

The actor’s character in “Blue Miracle” discovers that humility is a prerequisite to fulfilling the team’s destiny.

Quaid was fortunate to experience the same virtue outside of his movie life.

“By being humbled, that’s when God’s miracles are allowed to work. Once we get out of the way”

May we all be so blessed.

Tim Tebow, The Christian Comeback Kid

Tim Tebow is heading back to his primary sport, returning once again to the days of being a professional player in the NFL, after a stint on another field.

Back in the day when his NFL career appeared to be over, rather than leave professional sports behind, the versatile Tebow turned to the game of baseball. In 2016 he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets, handling the positions of left field and designated hitter until retiring in February of 2021.

Now the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed the former Heisman Trophy winner to a one-year contract, with the understanding that he will switch positions from quarterback to tight end. The same day the Jaguars made the announcement, Tebow was spotted on the practice field wearing a No. 85 Jacksonville jersey, a truly unexpected sight for a whole lot of folks.

The sports star had plenty of detractors in the past, and unfortunately the menacing trend continues to this day. As a bona fide celebrity phenom, his solid beliefs on religious, cultural, and moral issues have resulted in him becoming a target for those with opposing viewpoints.

Acknowledged for being outspoken regarding his Christian faith, Tebow has publicly expressed strong pro-life convictions and has also openly advocated for faith-based abstinence.

He has been fearless in stating that he has lived his life in a way that is almost unheard of in today’s celebrity vortex, exercising restraint and maintaining self-control when it comes to the ways of the world.

It turns out he became very well known for engaging in a unique prayer practice, which routinely takes place right out on the playing field. Kneeling on one knee, he bows his head and rests his arm on one bent leg. The form of prayer expression ultimately reached fame status as “Tebowing” and was even included as a feature in a Madden NFL video game.

In terms of prior regular NFL seasons, Tebow spent his first two with the Denver Broncos and additionally made two starts for the New York Jets. He primarily played one position, that being quarterback, during his entire professional football career.

As Tebow’s detractors like to point out, he hasn’t played a down of professional football since the 2015 pre-season with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In relation to his current newfound position, he already has a relationship with Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer, who was his coach at the University of Florida, where he was the first college sophomore ever to win the Heisman.

Friends of Tebow say that he is enthusiastic about attempting to make it back on the field in a new position at the highest level of play for any football player. He said in a statement via a team release, “I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team. I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace.”

So how can a guy who has not played in a regular season NFL game since 2012, had only one snap as a receiver, and is about to turn a relatively mature 34, still have the confidence to embrace the challenge in an NFL comeback as a tight end?

The answer is in Tebow’s heart. He appears to have a type of celestial advantage when it comes to his athletic pursuits, which is most likely attributed to his ironclad faith-based attitude and irrepressible work ethic.

Fans in Denver remember that back in 2011, when he became the Bronco’s full-time starting quarterback, an amazing metamorphosis of the team seemed to miraculously take place. Tebow was able to transform a 1-4 Broncos team into a genuine contender, with seven wins in eight starts.

Sports journalists were awed by the then-quarterback’s unexpected late-game turnarounds, where the Tebow-led team often came from behind late in the fourth quarter. The Broncos, with Tebow as the QB starter, won their first playoff game in years and managed to snag the AFC West title as well.

Tebow has always had a knack for leadership, inspiring his teammates to work together to achieve. He also consistently remembers at post game interviews to thank his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” never seeming to flinch as the harsh backlash inevitably follows.

He continues to be a voice of encouragement for people of faith everywhere. One sterling example is a sort of mini-sermon that Tebow delivered in April of 2020, in which he used his Instagram account to touch upon the subject of player trades and compare the practice to what he referred to as “the greatest trade in the history of the world.”

What is the trade? The old you for the new.

And why does he consider the trade to be the ultimate one? He says it in a way that only a Christian who is running the race can.

Tebow muses aloud, “Why is this the greatest trade? You need to understand this, so you can understand the old versus the new. Do you know what the old is? Sin, dead, darkness, bondage, separation, lost, baggage. Do you know what the new is? Righteousness, alive, light, freedom, united in Christ, found, child of God, purpose, son, daughter, home in heaven, paid for. That’s what the new is.”

A trade worthy of anyone’s consideration.