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Why Comedian Dave Chappelle Takes Issue with the Black Lives Matter Movement

Comedian Dave Chappelle. Photo by DANIEL BOCZARSKI/GETTY
Comedian Dave Chappelle. Photo by DANIEL BOCZARSKI/GETTY

Comedian Dave Chappelle is known for his raunchy comedy that’s often laced with hard-hitting commentary on race and politics. But Chappelle took a New York City audience by surprise Saturday night when his comedy act took a few jabs at the social justice movement Black Lives Matter.

The comedian has been consistent in speaking out against police brutality and the over-policing of Black neighborhoods — issues that are on par with the concerns of the social justice organization. However, celebrity news site Showbiz 411 reports that Chappelle apparently has an issue with the movement’s slogan.

” ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a terrible slogan,” Chappelle reportedly said during a warm-up show at New York City’s Cutting Room. “It’s like naming gum ‘Chewy.’ It’s obvious.

He went on to state that “Enough is Enough” would be a more appropriate rallying cry, drawing inspiration from the words uttered by NBA star Dwyane Wade after his cousin was shot dead in Chicago earlier this week. Wade tweeted about the tragic ordeal Saturday.

“When did it become just caring about ourselves and not caring about other people?” Chappelle reportedly asked of the movement’s pro-Black slogan. It’s unclear if the comedian’s comment was a sarcastic take on the “All Lives Matter” argument.

“It’s a comedy show,” the comedian’s publicist, Carla Sims told Mic in a phone interview. “Saying ‘black lives matter’ is like calling gum chewy.”

While offering a critique of the Black Lives Matter slogan, Chappelle refrained from taking any jabs at the movement itself, according to Sims. With his reputation for being a socially conscious, pro-Black comedian, Chappelle seemingly stands behind the same issues BLM is working to address, like police brutality.

“The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy,” the comedian said during his acceptance speech at the Art For Life benefit in 2015. “A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid [killed] and I’m running out of closet space.”

 

According to the celebrity news site, footage of Chappelle’s stand-up isn’t available because he prohibits audience members from having cell phones or other recording devices during his performances.

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