Dave Chappelle launches fundraising challenge to decide whether his former high school will name its theatre after him

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Dave Chappelle launches fundraising challenge to decide whether his former high school will name its theatre after him
Comedian Dave Chappelle attends 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
  • Dave Chappelle is asking for the public's input on naming his former high school's theatre after him.
  • "Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins," he wrote on Instagram.
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Dave Chappelle is asking for the public's input to decide whether his high school alma mater will name a theatre after him, days after a controversial appearance at his alma mater.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, was set to name a theatre after the comedian but moved the fundraising ceremony from November 2021 to April 2022, after students threatened to stage a walkout following his recent Netflix special, "The Closer," Insider previously reported.

"Talk is cheap (Unless I do it). The Duke Ellington school is a glorious institution," Chappelle wrote in a Friday Instagram post.

A post shared by Dave Chappelle (@davechappelle)

Chappelle wrote that the school's founder, Peggy Cooper Cafritz requested to name the school's 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 continued. "If you are in favor of the theater being named 'Chappelle,' I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval."

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"Whichever opinion donates the highest collective dollar amount, wins," he wrote. "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 fuck up, forever," he concluded.

Chappelle has supported the school over the years, donating a total of $100,000 and one of his Emmy awards, according to Deadline. He also held a masterclass for students in 2017 featuring fellow actors Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker, Insider reported.

Chappelle made a surprise visit to his alma mater — the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC — on Tuesday to speak with students before Thanksgiving, Insider reported. Chappelle came onstage and asked any students who were offended by him to raise their hands and approach the stage to voice their grievances.

According to Insider, a student who attended the event remarked that Chappelle was reluctant to engage with the students' concerns and continually told the audience that they "can't silence" him.

Chappelle and Netflix faced controversy in October over the release of "The Closer," which featured insensitive jokes aimed at the transgender community. The outcry over the special subsequently led to a walkout from Netflix employees and labor complaints. Chappelle has said he is willing to meet with the trans community, while Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos continues to back Chappelle and the special.

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Representatives for Chappelle and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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