Thursday, July 7, 2022

UPdate! Dave Chappelle Says NO to Having Duke Ellington School Theater Named for Him

Dave Chappelle (b&w) - Getty
Dave Chappelle (b&w) – Getty

*It looks like Dave Chappelle has chosen not to allow his old high school’s theater to be named after him. According to Revolt, the school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., conducted a ceremony in honor of Dave Chappelle in an effort to rename the auditorium after him; however, the comedian had other plans.

Chappelle announced during the ceremony that instead of the theater being named after him, it will now be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.

Reports added that the name change was due to the backlash he has been receiving for his new Netflix stand-up specials, particularly, “The Closer” where he discussed his thoughts and views on the LGBTQ+ community.  If you recall, the special provoked a staff walkout at Netflix, as many individuals accused the comedian of “punching down” on people within the LGBTQ+ community.

Chappelle expressed at the ceremony, “No matter what they say about ‘The Closer,’ it is still [one of the] most-watched specials on Netflix. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it. It has nothing to do with what you are saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my freedom of artistic expression.”

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Dave Chapelle
Dave Chapelle in a 2006 installment of “Behind The Actors Studio.”(Virginia Sherwood / Bravo)

The comedian also referred to the time he received criticism from students amid a surprise visit to his former high school last year. One student referred to Chappelle as a “bigot.”

Chappelle revealed that the judgment from the students “hurt” him.

He reportedly said during the ceremony, “The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me.”

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