After his stand-up special on Netflix, The Closer, was met with a lot of disgruntlement, Dave Chappelle’s jokes have sparked rage in the trans community that even prompted a major employee walkout in the Netflix headquarters.
Despite all the recent controversies, his high school has decided to go through with naming the school theatre in his honour. Previously, we argued why Dave Chappelle is one of the greatest comedians.
An artist who has paved the way for Black communities with his politically charged jokes that serve as a searing commentary on racism, police brutality, cancel culture, sexual abuse and more. His previous stand-up specials have been unique, interesting and thought-provoking.
However, he has been in hot water with the rest of the world recently, receiving divisive comments and reception where one party has called out his anti-trans sentiments while others have preached freedom of speech. His special is, however, endemic to a greater problem.
Chappelle had attended The Duke Ellington School of The Arts in Washington that he visited before Thanksgiving, quashing all rumours about him being uninvited from the fundraiser.
The students raised questions regarding his controversial comments, calling him a “bigot” and some calling him “childish”. The students did not have Chappelle’s weird sense of humour and even called him out for trying to shut them down. According to them, although Chappelle asked for their opinions, he constantly kept closing the conversation, unwilling to understand their issue. They said the palpable “power imbalance” made it not feel “like a very welcome environment”.
Despite the problems that Chappelle and the students have, the high school has still decided to proceed with the wishes of the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, the co-founder, to name the theatre after Chappelle.
Their statement said, “As an art institution, we educate our students on the importance of media literacy and art as a free and open form of expression to both reflect and challenge society.” The statement also addressed the issue regarding Chapppelle’s clash with the students.
“Although it appears that the clear majority of students at Ellington favour naming the theatre for Dave Chappelle, we are seizing this moment to demonstrate the importance of carefully listening to every voice within our diverse and inclusive community,” it read.