Kevin Hart loves his connections to Philadelphia. He really loves it now that a whole day is dedicated to him.
“All right, all right, all riiiiiiiight,” cheered comedic-actor Kevin Hart along with a crowd of North Philadelphians outside Max’s Steaks, a restaurant just a block away from his childhood home.
July 6, Hart’s birthday, is now officially Kevin Hart Day in the city. Councilman David Oh introduced a resolution to dedicate the day to the North Philly-born and raised comedian for his charitable mark on the city.
“I think this is honestly the biggest honor that I have gotten in my career to date,” Hart said. “The reason I say that is I truly do believe that Philadelphia made me into the man that I am today.”
The birthday celebration included performances by Philadelphia hip-hop luminaries Freeway and Bria Marie and featured the unveiling of a mural of Hart, produced by Willis “Nomo” Humphrey of Mural Arts Philadelphia. Standing beside his turquoise-infused portrait, Hart said he had some things to say from the heart.
“There was a point in my life where I needed people to buy cheesesteaks for me at Max’s,” he said. “Now, when I got to Max’s, my face is on the side of the building, which is unbelievable.”
He added that it’s a priority for him to put Philadelphia on the map as much as possible.
“That’s why I did my last special at the Lincoln Financial Stadium,” he said. “That’s why I came to Philadelphia for ‘Laugh at My Pain’ and walked down Broad and Erie to show people where I was from.”
Hart was an unknown comic on the road before launching a meteoric career starring in blockbusters including “The Wedding Ringer” and “Ride Along.” His five stand-up comedy specials are best-sellers, including his 2016 movie “What Now?” — which was filmed at a sold-out Lincoln Financial Field and swept the box office at $24 million.
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said that in addition to making a name for Philly, Hart has contributed extensively to helping youth through his charitable work throughout the city.
“To improve the lives of the youth in Philadelphia going through the same struggles he did in his upbringing, Kevin Hart has shown extraordinary generosity,” she said. “Kevin Hart is a favorite son in the city of Philadelphia.”
Hart donated $250,000 to purchase new computers for the School District of Philadelphia and to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. He’s also given $50,000 in scholarships for Philadelphia high school students.
During the festivities, the crowd got in a few choruses of “Happy Brithday to You.”