Even though it seemed as if Dave Chappelle had beat the attempts to cancel him, many have not forgotten about his transphobic jokes in his last Netflix special, The Closer. Critics of Chappelle spoke up about the comedian’s appearance at Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa’s Black Star Line Festival in Ghana. People thought that their addition of Chappelle and Talib Kweli, who was banned from Twitter for harassing a Black woman, was insensitive given Ghana’s current political climate.
There is currently an anti-LGBT+ bill trying to be pushed into legislation in Ghana. If the bill passes, it would “criminalize cross-dressing, public affection between two people of the same sex, marriage among same-sex couples, or the intent to marry someone who is the same sex.” Offenders would serve a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted.
This recent criticism prompted Chance The Rapper to respond in a Rolling Stones interview.
“That was something that was on my mind from the jump when we made it,” Chance said. “I always wanted this festival to be something that, for one, provided access to people that don’t typically get to go to these concerts because a lot of the events around that time do price people out.”
He said, “The goal overall is to just create community. I think that within this trip. I think a lot of the people that came from the diaspora, most of the people, if not all of them, were very respectful of the space and a lot of relationships were built, a lot of people created substantial relationships and connections that I think will live long after this festival. I think it’s something that we just have to remain in conversation about. I think it’s important that those issues are raised, and those conversations are had.”
The Chicago native went on to say that he knew about the law that is trying to be passed but believes that Chappelle spoke on it.
“I think it’s something that Dave was actually shining a light on,” he said. “That’s where that conversation came from. Dave was making a comment about the comedy scene in Ghana when he said, ‘I bet gay jokes go over so well here,’ to which everybody laughed about.
“And he was making a point to say that in Ghana, you can make jokes about things that are about gay people, about trans people, about a lot of social constructs, just about anything in the world. But you can’t make a comment about the government there. That’s not funny and that’s not respected, and it can be dangerous. It’s the complete opposite where we come from, where we can speak about the government all we want.”
Chance then apologized to anybody from the LGBT+ community who felt offended by Chappelle’s joke or addition to the festival.
“Again, I wanted everyone to feel as welcome and communal as possible,” Chance concluded. “And so if having Dave there made people feel like they weren’t, that they didn’t have space or that they weren’t welcome, that was not my intention. And I can assure you there are a lot of people at the festival and at the talk from a lot of different backgrounds.”