I watched a clip about Dave Chappelle doing the rounds. I am personally not bothered by Dave Chappelle. As I said, he is not my issue. Whether trans or gay or nigger jokes. He is over there, and I see him. I see the people who admire him and worship him. Before this, I would not have bought a ticket to a Dave Chappelle event. I just wouldn’t have. After this, I still don’t need to.
Chappelle is on Netflix. I only went to watch The Closer there because someone encouraged me to see it. I didn’t watch it and laughed out loud. Yes, he was busy sticking it to somebody, everybody. There may have been something funny juxtaposed to something hostile. I would rather not eat the sandwich any at all.
I did have a problem with Shabba Ranks playing music in my airways and singing Loverman – unchallenged, after going on The Word programme, albeit in 1978 – and saying that if you forfeit the laws of God and man, you should be crucified. In other words, saying that gay people should be killed. At the time, he supported Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye (gunshots!) – gunshots to LGBTQ people’s heads.
Making lovely catchy backing tracks and singing that stuff over it was harmful… seeped into the consciousness and caused violence and deaths. Just like my friend Mr TB, whose house I am typing this in and who also appeared on the same programme, was attacked in his own home. They stole his expensive electronic equipment from the house. I arrived shortly after he was taken away in an ambulance. Saw blood on the door frame of this house!
Some of these jokes, dog whistles to nutters, and music with hostile lyrics impact people’s lives. I don’t care about Dave Chappelle – as he says he ‘is wealthy and famous’ – I am worried about the listener who defends him to the point of violence. And use half-baked untalented comments to sandwich Dave Chappelle with homophobia and let vitriol enter my community like a virus. That’s my worry.
Yes, I supported the campaigns against Buju Banton and Shabba Ranks – Shabba never made another record. Both are ‘talented’. Shabba Ranks was stopped from becoming another wealthy international artist. But he entered the lion’s den thinking he was the only lion. Their verbal crap threatened me, personally.
I have had Boom Bye Bye sung at me menacingly. It ain’t nice. And the old chestnut ‘Adam and Eve v. Adam and Steve’ (said by Shabba) repeated when I have tried to defend myself in unpleasant company.
Then white rapper Marky Mark (now the actor Mark Wahlberg) was a teenager and begged Shabba to work on the programme.
With privilege and talent, Marky Mark carved his own Hollywood career. Yet, I will not forgive him for trying to latch himself onto Shabba with his hostile beliefs. I can only imagine the level of support he is receiving now from Shabba.
I participated in writing letters to influential people, drummed up support and slowed down their careers. It hit them where it hurts because I know people on the street who were physically harmed by what was coming out of their mouths on the world stage. If there was a way to have them not perform their catalogue of homophobic songs/rhetoric to another global audience, I was comfortable.
I say that it takes time and energy to fight back, and I didn’t do it with their money. I did it with my income, writing time, postal expenses, attending meetings – making alliances to achieve a goal: ultimately to protect others and to defend myself as another mature cat standing in the lion’s den. None of us is a pussy!
Dave Chappelle does not affect me in the same way. However, he might affect Trans people and his ‘funny’ words, a Trojan horse gift only to some. You know that a high proportion of Trans people are being murdered, with too many committing suicides. When the world offers you such hostility, you take suicide as your only way out; it is self-inflicted murder. I’m not condoning suicide. Instead, I counsel against it—Tomorrow, life gets better.
As I write this, I am thinking of my good friend. Today (02/11/2021), he will be listening to the opening day of the Coroner’s Inquest in the case of his brother Trevor Alton Smith, a 52-year-old Black man and father of two. Trevor was fatally shot by police officers shortly after 5am on Friday, 15th March 2019. The incident occurred in his bedroom in Lee Bank, Birmingham, during an intelligence-led operation by West Midlands Police Firearms Unit.
I do not need Dave Chappelle’s joy or misery to sustain or distract me from Living My Best Life. How was your day?
- You may also like Hate Crimes and Bullying: Why We Must Be Better.