Comedian Dave Chappelle launched a new fundraising challenge to settle the matter of whether or not his high school alma mater will name their theater after him.
Chappelle’s alma mater, D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, was set to name their theater after him this week, which Chappelle had said was “the most significant honor of my life.”
However, the school announced in mid-November that it was postponing naming the theater after Chappelle following outcry from woke people at the school who complained over jokes Chappelle made about transgender individuals during his Netflix special “The Closer.”
On Friday, Chappelle posted a new fundraising challenge to his Instagram account to determine the name of the theater. The challenge is simple, people must donate to the school and state whether or not the theater should be named after him, and whichever side raises the most money wins.
In a statement, Chappelle said:
Talk is cheap (Unless I do it). The Duke Ellington school is a glorious institution. Within those walls I found a context to explore my creativity seriously. Duke Ellington, in large part, prepared me to undertake this noble and difficult profession. It was a fine institution before any of [its] current occupants got there. God willing, it will be a fine institution long after their tenure is done. My only intent is to insure Duke Elling the opportunity to train [its] artists unfettered.
Having the theater named after me is a great honor. Although, that was not my idea, aim or desire. At the request of our beloved school’s founder, Peggy Cooper [Cafritz], I accepted.
In April, I intend to honor that request. If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school noting your objection. If you are in favor of the theater being named “Chappelle,” I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval.
Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins. If by April, those against the “Chappelle” theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater being named “Chappelle,” I will gladly step aside. If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don’t care enough to donate… please shut the f**k up, forever. – Dave
Chappelle reportedly mocked several students this week during a performance at the school when some of the students got mouthy with him.
One of the students told Chappelle during a question and answer session that he was a “bigot,” adding, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish; you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle responded, “My friend, with all due respect, I don’t believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day.”
Chappelle’s response reportedly angered some apparently petulant individuals who expected an apology from Chappelle.
Politico reported that Chappelle responded to another hostile question from a student by mocking their talent-level, openly stating that he was better than they were. There were no recordings of the event because Chappelle’s team made the students lock their phones in special pouches before he spoke.
“I’m better than every instrumentalist, artist, no matter what art you do in this school, right now, I’m better than all of you,” he said. “I’m sure that will change. I’m sure you’ll be household names soon.”
One of the students who was apparently antagonistic toward Chappelle complained to Politico that the comedian had more power than they did, and that he knew they were nervous to call him out.
“He could tell we were nervous,” the student said. “It was a huge power imbalance of this grown man and his camera crew — and these 14- to 18 year-olds without their phones, just high school kids.”