April 23, 2024


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The Duke Ellington School Theater will not be named after Dave Chappelle

The Duke Ellington School Theater will not be named after Dave Chappelle

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In a surprising move, comedian Dave Chappelle announced that the Student Theater at Duke Ellington School of Art in Northwest Washington will not bear his name.

Chappelle, one of the school’s most famous alumni, was in town on Monday night for a dedication party for the place.

Instead it will be called “Theatre of Artistic Freedom and Expression”.

The dedication was initially delayed last November after critics slammed Netflix’s high-profile comedy show, “”the closestHe hated transgender people. Ellington students also raised their concerns.

Chappelle told the audience on Monday that while he thought the backlash against him lacked nuance and had nothing to do with his work, he didn’t want a theater named after him to distract students from focusing on the meaning of their art.

He also noted that “honest” criticism hurt him.

Chappelle said he decided on Friday not to mention his name at school. “But the Ellington family is my family,” he said.

At the time of the controversy last year, Duke Ellington University Principal Sandy Logan said she had held formal and informal meetings with students to discuss Chappelle’s comments, including a month of weekly meetings with a student leaders advisory committee that included representatives of the school’s gender and gender. Sex Alliance.

Duke Ellington School delays naming theater after Dave Chappelle until April

“Going forward with this event … without first addressing questions and concerns from members of the Ellington community would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment,” the school wrote in a statement.

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Founded in 1974 with the goal of providing a free, first-class arts education to children in the nation’s capital, Duke Ellington attracts students from all over the city and is one of the few art schools in the area that educates most black students.

Chappelle who pledged to donate $100,000 to the school’s theater, He said last October That the stage name was named after him was “the most important honor of my life”.

“I was skipping school. I hid there when I skipped class. Who would have thought this theater would ever be called my name?” Chappelle said in a speech to donors to raise funds for Ellington before the screening of “The Closer” at the Angelica Theater Pop Up at Union Market. “But I get it because sometimes when you love things, they love you back. And I loved that school.”