Kevin Hart is the voice of Philadelphia’s MOVE movement in the new Audible Original “Summer of ‘85” from writer Chris Morrow. The project was executive produced by the longtime comedian and media boss Charlamagne Tha God.
In the summer of 1985, the city of brotherly love was forever changed after its first Black Mayor, W. Wilson Goode, gave the go on May 13 to bomb the headquarters of MOVE, a controversial radical communal organization based in the city. The incident claimed the lives of 11 people, including five children, leaving one survivor Ramona Africa. In the aftermath, 61 homes were destroyed; rebuilding reportedly cost them $55 million.
Two months later, rock royalty, including the likes of Run DMC, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Led Zeppelin, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and Patti LaBelle, would gather at the John F. Kennedy Stadium for a benefit concert to raise money for the Ethiopian famine, later to be known as Live Aid.
In an interview with Complex, Morrow told reporters he often thought about the connection between the two unprecedented events. “Here were all these rock stars coming together in Philly to “save” Africa just two months to the day after the city had killed 11 people with the last name Africa. There was a dissonance there I wanted to explore,” he said.
Morrow added, “Was hosting Live Aid a way for the city to distract media attention from the MOVE bombing? Was it just a coincidence?”
Hart also spoke on the media’s portrayal of the organization, stating, “With the MOVE people, it’s the perception that these people are destructive and not clean. You’re going off what’s being fed to you, and the real truth was never fed to us.”
Charlamagne echoed those sentiments. “Dreads even to this day signal danger and terror,” he said. “The Live Aid part is a negative depiction of Africa that they showed us.”
The Breakfast Club morning show host felt MOVE members “should definitely get some form of reparations.” He added, “ They got attacked by the United States government and the city of Philadelphia. There is some atonement that needs to happen.”
“Summer of ‘85” is now available on Audible.