Dave Chappelle decides theater at Former High School will not bear his name after careful consideration.
Dave Chappelle is the most famous alum of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which is based in Northwest Washington. When the school announced a new student theater, of course they wanted to name it after the most well-known voice to pass through the school’s halls. When this announcement was made, though, the school immediately faced backlash and didn’t shy away from addressing it in a timely matter.
“Our purpose is not to form a uniformity of viewpoints, but to help instill genuine, respectful curiosity in perspectives that challenge one’s own,” the school said at the time. “The debates among some Ellington students largely mirror those that exist across Washington, D.C. and the country as a whole.”
Dave Chappelle announces the theater will not bear his name
The backlash over Dave Chappelle’s name going on the theater came from his Netflix special The Closer. Students were offended by his homophobic jokes and subject matter. This isn’t new drama as backlash for the special even erupted inside of Netflix as a company.
While attending the dedication ceremony for the venue ,Chappelle announced the building will not bear his name. Instead, the building will be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. According to the Washington Post, Chappelle made this decision so it wouldn’t distract from the students focusing on the meaning of their art. Even with the decision, he told the crowd he didn’t think the backlash was about his work and was nuanced. Chappelle even had a vulnerable moment admitting the criticism and backlash “sincerely” hurt him.