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Chappelle needs to start being funny and stop being a twit

OUT OF LINE: Dave Chappelle, inset, mocks Michael Jackson in his new Net ix special

AS THE Bahamas was being battered by 180 mph winds a few days ago, those who were unfortunate enough to feel the full force of the storm would have heard the ominous voice of the islands’ prime minister coming out of their wireless.

PM Hubert Minnis told those who had ignored the advice to evacuate, that he prayed that his voice coming through the airwaves would not be the last voice they heard. Rah, this prime minister is not ramping.

Bahamians know how he stays already. They would have known that if they had not taken the official safety advice to find shelter from the winds, that there would be no sympathy from their first minister. On the contrary, it would be like hearing Buju in that tune about deportees when he says, “Yuh wretch you...”

I know it’s harsh, particularly towards anybody who may have perished when the hurricane came, but I can’t see many black people feeling sorry for any hard-of-hearing person or otherwise who thought they could style the hurricane out.

SYMPATHY

The prime minister would have little sympathy either for the many Haitians in those outlying islands of the archipelago which felt the full brunt of Dorian, but who were too afraid to find official shelter because their legal papers were not in order and didn’t want to fall into the custody of the authorities and to be subsequently deported after seeking shelter.

Let’s be real now, it’s better to get deported than to lose your life. Life is too valuable to put yourself in the path of a hurricane and to close your eyes and hope for the best or to fall on your knees and pray to be saved. Faith can move mountains but it can’t blow a hurricane back from whence it came.

But this is not about how black folk love to pray. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. But, yuh wretch you, is there anything wrong with a prime minister who don’t ramp when it comes to calling a spade a spade? Or a comedian, for that matter?

Dave Chappelle used to be the funniest man in the world. But the victim blaming in his latest Netflix special of people who accuse Michael Jackson of sexual misconduct, is no laughing matter. It just isn’t funny, Dave. In fact it’s turned you into a comedic pariah, registering somewhere between one and nine below zero on the comedy richter scale.

Having said that, I know you were just reflecting what a lot of people think, but don’t dare to say in these politically correct times. Especially black folk. When it comes to MJ, we don’t feel too comfortable about that. Not because, once upon a time, he was coloured I think it would be very difficult to talk of him as a credit to the race or to get up, stand up and fight for him as a ‘brotha man’.

Talking of stand-up, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, brotha Dave. If you veer from that trajectory and start acting like a barrister on behalf of the accused, you ain’t got time to make us laugh. You’ll be too busy fending off the backlash condemning you as an apologist for the unforgivable.

I guess you felt you had to say something, though, Dave. I get it, I really do. It’s the music, isn’t it? I know what you’re saying. But there are certain things that you cannot blame on the boogie.

It’s the music that makes us reject any suggestion that Michael ‘interfered’ with underage boys. We cannot listen to his music with that in mind. However good it is. And, let’s face it, it is not just good, it is the best. The best pop music that there has ever been. Some of it the best dance music that there has ever been. Michael Jackson connects with us deep in the rhythm of our lives.

And at the same time the rhythm of our lives depends on us not connecting Michael Jackson to paedophilia. The playlist of our lives depends on it. Remember how many of us tried to be like Michael Jackson? How many of us grew an Afro just because of Michael Jackson? Remember how many young black women wanted to marry Michael Jackson, before they realised that he wasn’t interested in young black women?

And even when he completely lost the plot in the hype to make Thriller the biggest selling album of all time, and played up to that Wacko Jacko persona that embarrassed us over and over again, none of us were prepared to chuck our Michael Jackson records in the dustbin. And we still can’t quite bring ourselves to do that.

We’re just not going to advertise it publicly, that’s all. Just like if you’ve still got a copy of Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye in your record collection, you’re not exactly going to take it to the office party on karaoke night, are you?

You are going keep it on the down low if you don’t want to be dismissed as a homophobic bigot for owning a copy.

CATALOGUE

For some of us, life would hardly be worth living without some tune by Michael himself or the Jackson 5 in our life catalogue. So we turn a deaf ear to allegations that will literally be soul destroying.

Even when radio stations up and down the country refuse to play his music any more (as they have done) because of the most recent allegations. Can anyone tell me when last you heard a Michael Jackson tune on a terrestrial radio station?

It’s almost as if that whole chapter in musical history has been wiped out. It’s almost as if that whole chapter of black culture has been erased and should any person, any person, dare to question why, they will be tarnished with the brush of trying to defend the indefensible and as a consequence their career will also be cast into the dustpan of history.

Unless they can make us laugh despite ourselves...

Like I said, Dave Chappelle used to be the funniest man on Earth. And he still could be. He still should be. And he may yet be again.

But he needs to start being funny and stop being a twit.

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