Comedian Dave Chappelle may not have set out to own liberals after they cried foul over his cutting brand of comedy, but own them he has, and his latest move at the ceremony that was meant to name the theater at his old high school in his honor had him getting the last laugh.
In November, it had been announced that the Duke Ellington High School in Washington, D.C., which Chappelle attended as a teen, planned on recognizing the accomplishments of one of their most acclaimed alums by naming their theater after him.
As had been reported in November, a statement from the school explained, “This theatre naming was the desire of one of our founders, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, who recognized Chappelle as an important thought leader of our time.”
TOMORROW at 7:30 PM! Join us for The Excellence of Ellington: An Evening with Dave Chappelle!
— Duke Ellington School of the Arts (@DukeEllingtonDC) June 19, 2022
However, current students decried the move after they embraced the woke narrative that his comedy was imbued with “transphobic hate” and, after delaying the ceremony, Chappelle demonstrated the level of nuance in his comedy Monday night by selecting a name other than his own for the theater.
With a subtle jab at the vitriolic response from cancel culture mobs to speech that they do not agree with, the comedian announced that the high school theater would now be known as the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
The Daily Mail reported that during the announcement, Chappelle explained that he “‘didn’t want any students to see his name on the theater’ and feel badly about it.”
Pledging $100,000 of his own money toward the school, he had encouraged others to voice their assent or dissent to his receiving the honor through donations. He had posted on social media, “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.”
Though there were more yeas than nays on the matter, the comedian decided, “The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me.”
The decision for an alternative name was settled on by Chappelle on Friday and even though the criticism of his art “sincerely” hurt him, he expressed, “the Ellington family is my family,” according to The Washington Post.
The Post went on to detail how Chappelle had recounted the initial decision by the high school was “the most significant honor of my life.”
“I used to skip school. I would hide in there when I was skipping class,” he explained of the theater. “Who would have thought that that theater would one day be named after me? But I understood it because sometimes when you love things, they love you back. And I loved that school.”
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