2005 Good News
“My mama raised me in the church. I was not allowed to stay home on Sundays. There was no option. My father didn’t go, but he gave us a haircut and made sure we went,” said comedian Steve Harvey, who gives voice to “Buzz” the horsefly in the new family film Racing Stripes.
Stylish and humorous, Harvey is a radio talk show host, movie actor, as well as long-time host of “It’s Showtime at the Apollo.” After the press screening for Racing Stripes, he sat down with Thunderstruck and other faith-based media to talk about Hollywood, The Passion of the Christ, and his faith.
“I’ve always had God as a part of my life. It’s important out here, too, because it gives you a base, you dig? Out here, it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah,” he said. “This is Sin City. And if you don’t have a spiritual base, you’ll get caught up in it. It’s inevitable.”
Harvey spoke candidly about the importance of sharing struggles and prayer requests with friends such as Chris Tucker and Cedric the Entertainer. “We ain’t perfect — we say crazy stuff — I cuss every now and then. I ain’t no saint and I don’t try to fake nobody like I am.”
Almost relishing his opportunity to talk about his faith with press, Harvey perked up when asked about the effect of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. “Hollywood is run by people who sit up in their executive offices — who are not connected to Mississippi, Alabama, Chicago, South Carolina. They know nothing about that, they don’t go to church, and they make their decisions about what they think is right. So they had no idea that people would go see a film about Christ. But Christ is pretty big. In fact, He’s the biggest. So now they do a movie about Him and they discover that He’s the biggest of all time. You dig
“There has never been a movie with an R rating that did that kind of money — ever. And they tried to kill that movie with an R rating… Well, what do you think happened back then, on that day? How do you think it went down? You think it was a cake walk?
Does he think that Hollywood will make more movies like The Passion? Harvey deadpans, “People out here don’t like to hear the truth ’cause the truth makes them think.”
Harvey is quick to point out how fame can distort reality in a celebrity-saturated culture. “I saw a guy accept an award and he said, ‘I want to thank my lucky stars.’ That confused me. ’Cause what’s your lucky stars, man? These are blessings from God. God endows you with blessings so you’ll become a blessing. You can’t get up in front of people and be ashamed to tell them about God. Everybody out here wants to make it look like something they did. Like you are that funny or that great an actor. There’s always somebody who is funnier or can act better than you. It’s just that God thought that He could trust you. That if you got there, you’d do the right thing with it. He trusted that [to] you, that you’d give Him honor and credit.”
Harvey confessed to seeing his own priorities change as his career matures. “You’ve got to grow up sooner or later. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have done this movie. But I have five kids. I’ve got to start saying something that they can be proud of.
“I cussed a lot — HBO specials and stuff — but as you get older, you start looking at your mortality. You start thinking, ‘I won’t be here too long.’ And you want to leave something behind for your kids.”
“I can’t cuss and tell jokes the rest of my life. I gotta say something meaningful. I gotta give something back to the Creator who’s given me so much.”
Steve Beard is the creator of Thunderstruck.