Dave Chappelle quietly released his special Dave Chappelle: What’s In A Name? on Thursday, and had some interesting choice of words in regards to rejecting to put his name on a theater at his alma mater Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC.
In what is being billed as a speech, Chappelle recalls being yelled at by students of his alma mater the Duke Ellington School Of The Arts where he brings up the backlash he faced during his visit in November as well as his controversial special The Closer.
"All the kids were screaming and yelling," Chappelle said during his 40-minute speech at his alma mater.
"I remember, I said to the kids, I go, ‘Well, okay, well what do you guys think I did wrong?’ And a line formed. These kids said everything about gender, and this and that and the other, but they didn’t say anything about art. And this is my biggest gripe with this whole controversy with ‘The Closer’: That you cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance from his words. It would be like if you were reading a newspaper and they say, ‘Man Shot in the Face by a Six-Foot Rabbit Expected to Survive,’ you’d be like, ‘Oh my god,’ and they never tell you it’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon."
Chappelle continued, saying he was “hurt” by the students choice of words and feels more prone to speak freely when told he can’t say something.
"When I heard those talking points coming out of these children’s faces, that really, sincerely, hurt me," Chappelle shared.
"Because I know those kids didn’t come up with those words. I’ve heard those words before. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it. And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression. That is valuable to me. That is not severed from me. It’s worth protecting for me, and it’s worth protecting for everyone else who endeavors in our noble, noble professions. And these kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression. And I didn’t get mad at them. They’re kids. They’re freshmen. They’re not ready yet. They don’t know.”
You can watch the speech on Netflix now.