Dave Chappelle is starting 2021, much like he ended 2021. Toward the end of last year, his Netflix special, The Closer, created a social media firestorm for his comedy takes on third-rail issues like trans rights. Dave Chappelle’s high school even canceled plans to name their theater after him (they have recently indicated they may relent and proceed with the original plan because, hey, it is Chapelle).
The campaign against the comedian foreshadowed this year’s attacks on podcaster Joe Rogan. Like Rogan, Chappelle has a considerable following and is widely recognized as one of America’s greatest comedians. Unlike Rogan, he did not apologize for his comments and continues to do things his way without regard for the canceled culture mob or his neighbors.
Chappelle led the charge to torpedo a low-income housing project in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He did not rely upon his fame alone but threatened to cancel some of his investments into the community, including a restaurant and a comedy club.
You cannot blame people for not building low-income housing in their neighborhoods. The Not In My Backyard, or “NIMBY,” challenge for finding these projects dates back to the pilgrims. Dave Chappelle happens to have the influence and leverage to ensure it is a problem for other communities to deal with.
People who do not live in Yellow Springs were nonplussed with Chappelle’s move.
It is pretty easy to cast stones at Chappelle, but I would hazard a guess that most people would do the same thing if they were in his shoes. That said, it is a complex problem to find locations for low-income housing. Perhaps, Chappelle could use some of his creative power to help find some solutions to this thorny problem.