Comedian Dave Chappelle has officially announced that student theater at his alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Northwest Washington, will no longer be named after him.
According to The Washington Post, Chapelle was in town for the dedication ceremony for the venue on Monday night (June 20) and shared with the audience that he decided on Friday (June 17) to withdraw from having the theater named after him.
Instead, it will be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
Chappelle explained that amid the ongoing backlash against him he didn’t want the naming of the theater to be a distraction to students.
The school, which was established in 1974 with a dedicated mission to provide free, first-class art education, serves a primarily Black student body.
In Oct. 2021, Chappelle pledged to donate $100,000 to the school’s theater.