Duke Ellington school postpones fundraiser honoring alumnus Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle’s recent Netflix comedy special, The Closer has unleashed waves of support and criticism for his comments criticizing the LGBTQ+ community. Now, his alma mater has taken a stance, postponing a recent fundraiser that was organized in his honor.

Duke Ellington School of the Arts has moved the date for a fundraiser scheduled for Nov. 23. The event, now slated for April 22, will raise money for a theater set to be named after the comedian.



Chappelle graduated from the school and has been an influential supporter of their efforts for decades.

However, in a recent statement, the school said his work has created opportunities for the Ellington community to engage in listening sessions with students as a result of the criticized special.

“We also believe moving forward with the event without first addressing questions and concerns would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment,” the school said.

The statement went on to stress the importance of rejecting cancel culture.

“We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to more accurately reflect the Duke Ellington School of the Arts statement. 

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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