Kevin Hart’s Surprise Appearance and Other Observations From My Seat at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards

Kevin Hart Makes 1st Official Appearance Since Car Crash at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards
Screenshot: E! Red Carpet & Award Shows (YouTube)

I love award shows.

Awards season is my Super Bowl and I spent many hours of my childhood beaming at the sparkly dresses, fancy venue decor and effervescent statuettes, wishing (upon a star) that I’d one day be able to get a seat at one of those coveted tables.

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With my current job as an Entertainment Writer, I’ve been provided the key to many rooms I’ve dreamed of and rooms I’ve only dreamed of dreaming of. This past weekend, I was invited to the 2019 People’s Choice Awards, and it was quite the experience. Sure, it’s not officially awards season until the Golden Globes hit, but hell, I live in L.A.—there’s always an opportunity for industry heads to pat themselves on the back. Yay, narcissism!

I’m always down to take you along the journey of this crazy rollercoaster I call a career, so let’s get to it!

The Pre-Show

Though I arrived about 30 minutes early, there were a few hiccups that delayed the process of securing my ticket in-hand. As the doors were about to shut, one PR rep just gave me an extra ticket of his so I could grab a seat. However, about 15 min later, a production team staff member found me in the audience and escorted me to my actual (and much better) seat two rows away from the nominees/honorees tables! I felt fancy and important.

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The Big Show

Live television truly is a well-oiled machine. I’ve been on a few live television sets so far, but never an awards show. Let’s just say your bathroom break can cost you missing several acceptance speeches, a performance or segment because you can’t enter the room until the next commercial break. Everything goes so fast! Speaking of fast, shout out to the team at E! for producing a speedy program. Lengthy award ceremonies can be a snoozefest.

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One of the biggest (and blackest...because let’s face it, this ceremony was pretty damn white) moments of the night was a surprise appearance from Kevin Hart, who stepped out into the public in an official capacity for the first time since his serious car accident. Hart won the award for Comedy Act of 2019.

After a standing ovation from the audience, Hart began by thanking God, first and foremost, noting he was aware that in an alternate reality, he may not be alive. “Being that I am [alive], it makes me appreciate life even more, it makes me appreciate the things that matter. I want to thank my wife and my kids, who really stepped up to the plate for me… The people, man, you have no idea the effect that you have on us as entertainers: your energy, your support, it truly means the world and I want to thank you for being there for me in my difficult time,” Hart added.

Kevin Hart Makes 1st Official Appearance Since Car Crash / E! Red Carpet & Award Shows (YouTube)

Zendaya won the Drama TV Star of 2019 award for her portrayal of Rue Bennett in HBO’s Euphoria. She expressed sheer gratitude and elation that audiences “felt seen” by the show. Also, as expected, she is stunning in person.

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Kelly Rowland walked right by our row and waved at me—um, us. Kandi Burress had on a cute white dress I coveted. Terry Crews also waved at us with his ever-present energy. I also spotted social media sensation Rickey Thompson who quickly walked past before I could yell, “SUCCESS!” like I wanted to. Plus, we sort of matched!

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The After-Show

Shiiiiit, I nibbled on some of the snacks from my swag bag and fell asleep. No fancy after-parties to report on (this time!). I was exhausted from the past week! Good night and good luck.

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The complete list of winners for the 2019 People’s Choice Awards is available on eonline.com. Oh, if you missed the ceremony, you can catch it on YouTube right now. You may even spot neon-brightened me in the audience.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.