Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, mass protests have waged against police brutality and systemic racism. Such is the subject of a new surprise Netflix special from comedian Dave Chappelle, which is free to watch on YouTube. Titled “8:46,” the half-hour special could be Chappelle’s most powerful release to date.
Like all other comedians, Chappelle had not performed live for close to three months due to the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic. But last week, on June 6, he held a secret performance outdoors in Yellow Springs, Ohio, nearby where he has lived for many years. Attendees had their temperatures checked before entering the venue. They then sat far apart from one another in marked-off spaces. Chappelle, dressed in all black, took the stage with a small notebook for a 27-minute special titled “8:46.” The title refers to the length of time that police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
Chappelle wrote a note for the special: “Normally I wouldn’t show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand.” That wasn’t just because this was the first time Chappelle performed this live, or because he hadn’t been on stage in 87 days. This was a raw, personal performance that touched on both his own experiences and those of fellow Black Americans in dealing with racism.
The special also included footage and images of murdered Black Americans throughout. During the show, Chappelle was at times sad, angry, and hopeful as he discussed the late George Floyd, the protests, and other examples of police brutality. He directed criticism at figures like conservative pundits Candace Owens and Laura Ingraham, and talked about instances when police officers were murdered.
The aforementioned note accompanying the video directs fans to the nonprofit organization Equal Justice Initiative.
Editor’s Note: Dave Chappelle’s past specials have include insensitive and disparaging comments about the trans community. The comedian has continuously defended and downplayed these remarks, which goes against the hopeful message of acceptance he promotes in his latest special. In that spirit we encourage you to donate to both his Equal Justice Initiative and to the Homeless Black Trans Women Fund.
Black Lives Matter and Trans Rights are Human Rights.
Featured Image: Netflix