Dave Chappelle Launches Fundraising Challenge to Determine If a Theatre at His Alma Mater Should Be Named After Him

Image: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Dave Chappelle has launched a fundraising challenge to determine if his high school should name a theatre after him, reports the New York Post.

Chappelle took to Instagram, to announce the fundraiser and invited contributors to offer their opinion along with their donations.

“Talk is cheap (Unless I do it). The Duke Ellington school is a glorious institution,” he wrote. “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. 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 insure (sic) Duke Ellington the opportunity to train its artists unfettered.”

According to Chappelle, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, the school’s founder, requested that the school name the theatre after him.

‘In April, I intend to honor that request. If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school noting your objection,” Chappelle’s post continued. “If you are in favor of the theater being named ‘Chappelle,’ I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval.”

“Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins,” he went on. “If by April, those against the ‘Chappelle’ theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater being 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**k up, forever.”

As EBONY previously reported, Chappelle has been embroiled in an ongoing controversy over remarks he made about the LGBTQ+ community during his Netflix stand-up special The Closer.

Last month, some employees of Netflix walked out in protest, accusing Chappelle of being transphobic. In the special, Chappelle defended Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who’s also been accused of transphobia saying he agreed with her statement that gender is a fact.

Chappelle addressed the controversy again while promoting his documentary Untitled.

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“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience,” Chappelle said while performing last month. “But you will not summon me.

Earlier this month, his alma mater canceled a fundraiser that he was scheduled to appear at after students threatened to protest the event.

Although invitations were already sent out to patrons, the school still decided to cancel the fundraiser. 

Chappelle is one of the most prominent alumni of the school and has been generous to his alma mater. In the past, he’s donated $100,000 to the school, given it one of his Emmy awards in 2017, delivered a commencement address, and has held master classes for the student body

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