I remember how hard we all went for Dave Chappelle. Comedy Central was trying to play our boy and we weren't having it! We championed our modern day Richard Pryor; carrying the torch lit by Eddie Murphy and taking it one step further than Martin. We were rooting for you!
Then we got to see him do what very few have done before...we got to see the COMEBACK! And man what a feat...23 to 45 status baby. Dave Chappelle not only got his comeback- he got Comedy Central (well Viacom) to literally come back.
We were all so proud; hell, we are proud...even after watching The Closer, I'm still proud of Chappelle.
When we, and by we, I mean black folks, got word, that Dave was taking the stage that he rightfully deserved after all these years, we did what any respectable fans would do. We bragged to our friends about how we actual saw the Prince episode when it originally aired on TV; and how Half Baked was a cult classic. We talked about Charlie Murphy, Paul Mooney (RIP) and Dead Prez. We even talked about how Jilly from Philly showed up and showed out at his block party.
We bragged, bigged him up and waited for that special moment to see him on Netflix. And after all of that...what does David do....shit on all of us.
Let's take a step back...
Imagine telling all of your friends about your really cool uncle...and you've been braggin on him for months and finally convinced all of your friends to come to his show. (Let's say for this example, your uncle is a musician and not a comedian.) Well on that special night, your friends arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed to hear your uncle play (and to see what all of the fuss is about). However, to both your surprise, and their surprise, the entire night, your uncle riffs about how much you suck in the first two songs of the night.
The first time this happens, your uncle explains that it's part of his act; and he meant no harm to you. As a matter of fact only songs one and two were about you. Three and four were about other family members. And the last number of the evening was about his wife. So, you shouldn't be offended. It was a bit. He included the entire family.
You laugh it off- because, hey, uncles be joshing. But then...by some miracle, your uncle gets another show! By the grace of allahbuddajesusmothermary, you get your friends to come see your uncle...AGAIN. And this time, you're sure it'll be a different vibe- being that it's post 2020 and all, there's surely other content out there besides YOU! It's not about you remember, it's about the art...<sigh of relief> SO MANY CHOICES.
But nope, this time instead of one or two songs- he does an entire albums worth of material saying how much he hates you! I mean, a full hour and some change of "can't stand yo ass". Not only that, he manipulates and mansplains almost every form of potential allyship into believing why they should hate you too.
So enough hypothetical. Here's the real. Chappelle has been "smacking bitches" since 1999. I've always said that black women are the gateway drug to all the other "phobias". Dave Chappelle's act isn't alarming because he attacks queer people, it's alarming because his genius also tries to separate the queer movement from the liberation of black people AND women's rights at the same time. For those of use that live at the intersections of race x gender x sexuality this is especially demonizing because his act calls for you to choose a privilege.
It also negates the struggle of having to simultaneously deal with all three at once. Lucky for Dave, he only has one minority status to deal with...
For me, as a triple minority, this is pretty alarming. Why?
Let's break that down- Dave, stays true to type as all heterosexual (rich) black men in consistently choosing their privilege over their minority. (White women do this often, and when they do- it's dangerous, because, well, we end up with things like- TRUMP! -word to the hats-)
NOW DON'T GET IT TWISTED...black men do this more often than any other group. It's sad because black women (from mothers, to aunties, to girlfriends, hell to groupies) would jump in front of a bullet for the average black man- not knowing that he would gladly push her in front of said bullet if it meant saving himself. But a las, ce la vie.
In this special, not only does Dave utilize Sister Sojourner, he even takes the prophet Dr. Martin Luther tha Kaaaang's name in vain. I guess his writers weren't up on Audre Lorde or Jame Baldwin?
This is the same dude that did not one, but two sketches, on R Kelly, but refused to be a part of Dream Hampton's documentary (that later put his ass in jail)...because he said "he didn't know R Kelly".
Here's the bottom line. Dave Chappelle, like the majority of the hip hop community and all of your favorite "revolutionary" heroes do not care about you. By "you"...I mean women (especially black women), gays, or poor white people.
Now, they DO care about straight black men. YES! They believe that the liberation of black men is the only type of liberation that matters. They are the reason why people can only name Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor as black women murdered by police and not one additional name. ( Why is that?)
Listen, the fact that intersectionality isn't even a sidebar in Chappelle's act shows not only his lack of creativity but also his privilege as a "white" black man. He has become Anthony Johnson (that's the slave that owned other slaves -we learned about him in South Carolina- nothing on Gullah Geechee culture- but that's a rant for another blog) of comedy (sorry Kevin Hart- I know you were gunning for this).
It's not just the jokes that are the problem Dave, it's the lack of empathy for people that thought they were in the same struggle with you this whole time. Dave is utilizing white patriarch practices to enslave the minorities of the minorities. Ain't that a "Rick James" Bitch!??
And no, Dave won't be canceled- I don't think we want him to be canceled... All we're saying to Dave is: "Bitch, be more careful!"
The trite comparison of the black struggle and the gay struggle is all too familiar, all too watered down and all too white. And then to use his deceased "friend" as the "hey, I have a trans friend, too" card at the end was just distasteful...cringe-worthy, even.
I wish I had 2 more hands, so I could give that special 4 thumbs down.
The milk's gone bad...
Also, if you're looking to hang with some black folks, queer folk and women folk who understand that no one is free when others are oppressed- we're throwing a good ole fashion joy 'bration- this Saturday (We promise to "spark conversation" sans the trans jokes). Free self-care kits while they last.