Dave Chappelle’s high school is still moving forward with plans to rename a theatre in his honour. The comedian visited the school last week and held a contentious Q&A with students. 

According to a statement released on Monday, November 29th, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. “stand(s) behind our decision to honor the wishes of our co-founder, the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, to name the theatre after Chappelle.”

The media covered Chappelle’s visit but the statement said the coverage was “inaccurate, devoid of context, and neglected to include the nuances of art.”

The statement continued: “As an art institution, we educate our students on the importance of media literacy and art as a free and open form of expression to both reflect and challenge society.

Although it appears that the clear majority of students at Ellington favor naming the theater for Dave Chappelle, we are seizing this moment to demonstrate the importance of carefully listening to every voice within our diverse and inclusive community.”

Chappelle returned to his alma mater last week and held a Q&A, which the Washington Post provided more details about. “It was strange to me because he was asking for our opinions, and then when we gave our opinions, he just shut us down,” one sophomore student said. “There was a very big power imbalance of him just talking down to us, and just being really rude to us. It just it did not feel like a very welcome environment.”

Parents were reportedly not told in advance that the comedian was visiting the high school and students were also required to lock their phones in special pouches before attending the Q&A.

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For his part, Chappelle made clear that he would “step aside” if his detractors donated money to the high school if they wanted a different honouree. “If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school, noting your objection,” he insisted. “If you are in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle’, I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval.

If by April, those against the Chappelle theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater named Chappelle, I will gladly step aside. If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don’t care enough to donate… please, shut the f*** up, forever.”

The high school, though, has decided that a change isn’t necessary.

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