A Good Idea Poorly Executed
When it comes to history, there’s an awful lot we can learn from the fleeting years humankind has been on this planet. Although in the UK race isn’t so much of an issue, in America this is quite the opposite, with racial tensions still incredibly high in some areas. With Black History month in full swing in the USA, Kevin Hart steps forward with his guide to African-American black history. Combining re-enactments with a familial sitcom set-up and archival footage, Kevin Hart attempts to deliver a cohesive history lesson but fails to really balance the various components in a compelling way.
This hour-long comedy special aims to take us on a history lesson through American black history through the use of a sitcom format and re-enactments from that time period. With a perversion of historical accuracy, forced comedy and a lightning quick pace, the interesting concept fails with lacklustre execution. The idea is certainly a good one and there are some very interesting historical figures depicted but the lack of attention put on factual history holds this back from being a more educational and entertaining choice.
After a brief skit involving Kevin Hart’s daughter in the show Riley, the history begins with a look at American slavery. Spurred on by the inspirational journey made by Henry “Box” Brown and Robert Smalls, this opens the door to more inspirational stories to follow. Throughout this hour-long special, we follow Matthew Henson, the first African-American explorer to visit the North Pole followed closely by 60s rocker, Robert Johnson. Nestled between these two stories is a brief look at the first black astronaut, Mai Hanson. The section on black athletes makes good use of archival footage but quickly dissipates any drama here with a cringe-inducing and perverted view on Hitler and history.
Ultimately it’s this perversion of history for the sake of comedy and humour that really holds this back from being a better title. Unlike something like Drunk History which intentionally makes sure the viewers know this isn’t an accurate view on history, we’re told early on that Kevin Hart wants to educate Riley on the topic which does make this a somewhat questionable choice.
The comedy often feels forced and generally not very funny either which is a bit of a shame. The idea is a good one but sadly the execution just isn’t there. The inaccurate history, the slapstick comedy and general perversion of history make this a tough one to recommend to anyone. There’s far better educational, and comedic, content on this topic that Kevin Hart’s Guide To Black History isn’t something that’ll likely be remembered for years to come.