In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd and countless others, Dave Chappelle has released a half-hour in-person concert that he recorded on June 6th. It had been 87 days since he last performed live due to the pandemic, and in the video, you can see the precautions staff are taking to make sure people are obeying social distancing rules and wearing masks. But Chappelle clearly felt the need to speak out about these current protests with a set he calls “8:46” because George Floyd had his neck kneeled on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In the YouTube description, Chappelle says, “Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand.” And watching the video, it’s easy to understand why he chose to share this and how important it is to hear what he has to say about the history of police violence against black people in this country.
You shouldn’t watch this video expecting a standup set from Chappelle. There are some good jokes made at the expense of hateful idiots like Laura Ingraham and Candace Owens, but most of this set is more like a speech where Chappelle touches on how many black men are killed by the police, why cops stand together when one of them proceeds to murder a man on camera, and why he’s choosing to speak up in this forum as opposed to at a protest or in some other way. Even though it’s “unrefined”, the power of Chappelle’s words delivered in his unique voice is unforgettable, and I strongly encourage you to take a half-hour out of your day to watch this video.
Furthermore, the YouTube description encourages viewers to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative. For those unfamiliar with EJI, their work includes fighting for death row inmates, fighting against child incarceration, and cataloging lynchings across the history of the South. Click here to donate to this terrific organization.