Dave Chappelle: Black Celebrities Don’t Need to Say Anything, Let The Streets Do The Talking

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle said celebrities needed to stay silent and let the streets do the talking amid unprecedented protests against racism and police brutality. Photo By Anita Sanikop for MMG

In his first show in almost three months, Dave Chappelle did what he does best – make people think about social issues through his raw, uncut comedy. During his set, Chappelle said celebrities needed to stay silent and let the streets do the talking amid unprecedented protests against racism and police brutality.

“I want to shout out all the young people who have had the courage to go out and do all this amazing work protesting. I am very proud of you. You kids are excellent drivers. I am comfortable in the backseat of the car so carry on young ones,” Chappelle said as he prepared to begin his show.

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At one point her responded to a question asked by CNN anchor Don Lemon, who questioned why Chappelle and other Black celebrities weren’t speaking up

”Has anyone ever listened to me do comedy? Have I not ever said anything about these things before? So now all of a sudden, this nigga expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing as a celebrity?” Chappelle asked. “Answer me? Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f*ck what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No. This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut and I’ll still keep my mouth shut, but don’t think that my silence is complicit to all the sh*t these niggas are saying … Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds?”

Chappelle made the comments in his latest Netflix special, “8:46,” which the streaming giant dropped for free on its YouTube channel June 11.

In addition to the protests and murder of George Floyd, Chappelle roasted conservative commentator Candace Owens, described what motivated military veteran and former cop Chris Dorner to go on a killing spree, how hurt he was by Kobe Bryant’s murder, Eric Garner, LeBron James, Laura Ingraham, etc.

Initially, Chappelle said he didn’t know quite what to say about George Floyd, so he wouldn’t speak on it right away. Then he recounted how terrified he was during a 35-second earthquake and made his commentary about Floyd.

“This man kneeled on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds! Can you imagine that?” Chappelle passionately asked. “This kid thought he was gonna die, he knew he was gonna die. … He called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life; when my father on his deathbed called for his grandmother. … I don’t mean to get heavy but, we gotta say something.”

Filmed Outdoors in Yellow Spring, Ohio with an audience following social distancing guidelines, Chappelle noted the “weird and less than ideal circumstances to do a show.” He also highlighted the significance of the moment.

“I got to tell you, this is actually like the first concert in North American since all this sh*t happened, so like it or not, it’s history. It’s gon’ be in the books,” Chappelle said.