Dave Chappelle, who formerly attended Duke Ellington School of Arts, has decided against the school naming their theater after him.
Washington, D.C. high school Duke Ellington School of Arts will not be naming their theater after Dave Chappelle. On Tuesday (June 20), Variety reported — that amid recent controversies of offending the LGBTQIA+ community with transphobic material in stand-up and his The Closer special on Netflix — Chappelle made the decision not to go froward.
The comedian was visiting D.C. on Monday to attend a dedication ceremony at his former high school when he allegedly said that he didn’t want the school’s theater to be named after him if it would pose a distraction to students. Instead of the theater being named after Chappelle, the school has opted for the theater to be titled Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
Last year, Duke Ellington School of Arts planned to hold a naming ceremony for Chappelle, which was postponed as his The Closer special shocked the LGBTQIA+ community for jokes about transgender people. The special debuted in November, also when Chappelle visited Duke Ellington School of Arts to talk with students. During the campus visit, some students spoke out against Chappelle.
“I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” one student reportedly said to Chappelle.
“The Ellington family is my family,” Chappelle said on Monday evening after announcing his decision.
While the high school’s theater will not be named after Chappelle, the comedian remains an avid supporter of Duke Ellington School of Arts, financial contributing to the institution along with hosting masterclasses and giving commencement speeches. He called the initial decision to name the theater after him “the most significant honor of my life.”