The uproar over Dave Chappelle’s recent comedy special, The Closer has caused him some headaches. And apparently, that backlash has hit closer to home as it has affected a planned fundraiser event meant to honor the comedian.
According to reports, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the Georgetown neighborhood of Chappelle’s hometown of Washington D.C. has quietly delayed holding a fundraising event meant to rename the theater after him. The event was to take place on November 23rd, but administrators decided to hold off over concerns from the student body over some of Chappelle’s commentary in the Netflix special that took aim at the LGBTQ+ community and his unapologetic position over some jokes directed at the trans community.
In an interview, the principal of the Duke Ellington School Sandi Logan said that she has held meetings on a formal and informal basis with students regarding the move and their feelings. “On our end, we just needed a little time to get our community to at least have the conversation — not to maybe change minds. That is never our objective,” she expressed. “We needed that time to be able to get conversation and meaningful progress within the community, not a Band-Aid.”
The school plans to move forward with the renaming, announcing a new date of April 22nd of next year in an official statement released last week detailing the reasons why:
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. She understood that the current and future impact of his work and influence would raise the profile of the school, increase opportunities for the entire Ellington community, and provide critical fundraising support for the sustainability of our arts-based curriculum.
A spokesperson for Chappelle, Carla Sims responded to the news of the fundraiser postponement saying that he “supports the school and any effort to contribute to open conversations vs. cancellations.: