Dave Chappelle urged donating to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in a message he shared on Instagram, after it postponed naming a theater after the alumnus due to his controversial jokes in a Netflix show.
“The Duke Ellington school is a glorious institution. Within those walls I found a context to explore my creativity seriously. Duke Ellington, in large part, prepared me to undertake this noble and difficult profession,” Chappelle wrote in his post on Saturday. “It was a fine institution before any of its current occupants got there. God willing, it will be a fine institution long after their tenure is done. My only intent is to ensure Duke Ellington the opportunity to train its artists unfettered.”
The comedian urged people to donate to his alma mater, saying they should state either their objection or approval about the school’s naming its theater after him along with the donation.
The Northwest DC high school recently announced that it has decided to hold off on a planned event to rename its theater after Chappelle, following the backlash centering around his latest Netflix comedy special, The Closer.
Chappelle’s jokes involving the LGBTQ+ community in the stand up show have angered many.
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A statement issued by the Duke Ellington School on November 12 cited “controversial material juxtaposing discrimination against Black Americans with that against non-Black members of the LGBTQ+ community,” included in the Netflix show for the decision, noting that it “has sparked a national debate around race, gender, sexuality and ‘cancel culture.”
The school’s ceremony is expected to take place on April 22, 2022, while it was originally scheduled for November 23.
Duke Ellington administrators have been listening to the concerns of their students on the issue during ongoing meetings.
The statement also acknowledged Chappelle’s contributions to Duke Ellington’s good reputation both nationwide and around the globe, including his donation of his first Emmy Award to the school.