What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where a comedian has more reach than any musician?
One in which Chappelle is trusted by his audience, because he’s never lied to them.
Chappelle’s got a long history of going his own way. Most notably when he walked away from his Comedy Central show. Word on the street was that he should continue, take those millions from the man! But it no longer felt right to Chappelle so he moved on. In a world where no one forgoes bucks…NO ONE!
That’s the country we live in, money talks and we’re the living proof, there ain’t no limit to what money can do, money talks. That’s what Ray Davies sang with the Kinks on the unheralded “Preservation Act 2” double album. Ray didn’t complain people weren’t listening, he just did his act. Diehard fans knew it, went to see the band live. And eventually, the Kinks signed with Arista and had another slew of hits. Meanwhile, Ray is as irascible as ever.
That’s a rock star.
Those aren’t musicians today.
What we’ve got is a ton of uneducated, unskilled crybabies who are pissed you’re not listening and they’re not rich. Oh, I’ll get e-mail from people saying that’s not them, with an MP3 attached…they’re too stupid to see that they are the problem, and far from the solution.
So Dave Chappelle pays his dues. He’s very good at what he does. And what he does is not exactly like what anybody else does. Sure, he’s a standup comedian, but he’s not an imitation, he’s an original. Maybe you don’t like him, that doesn’t bother him, he’s not about to compromise his act to satiate you, that’s no life, certainly not for an artist.
And Chappelle is paid the big bucks. And it’s not like he’s unavailable. And now, a few weeks after the death of George Floyd, Chappelle speaks out.
Sponsored by Netflix.
And you wonder why Netflix wins the streaming wars. You’ve got to be artist-friendly. That used to be HBO, but HBO would dither and go to pilot and then not make your show. Netflix buys the idea, sets you on your way and doesn’t interfere. And the dirty little secret of artistic greatness is it’s hard to achieve. It’s not math. You try to walk the razor’s edge but even the greats fall off. It’s kind of like baseball, if you hit .300, you’re in the Hall of Fame.
So, does Netflix put the production behind its paywall? OF COURSE NOT! As a matter of fact, you couldn’t even see it on the service. No, Netflix thought that what Chappelle was saying was so important, they had to make it available to all, for free, on YouTube.
Meanwhile, the major record companies believe YouTube is enemy #1. Because it’s about the money. Money first, art second. The labels don’t want to leave a single dollar on the table. And you wonder why they’re hated. All this testimony about black lives mattering…they’ve been screwing black artists from time immemorial. BMG said it was gonna review old contracts, adjust royalty rates, but the big three? NOT A PEEP!
You can’t give away money, what would the shareholders say, you’d make a smaller salary, the artists are fungible, screw-em.
And word on the street was Chappelle’s twenty seven minute plus screed was not funny.
Hannah Gadsby wasn’t funny, and her specials are some of the best on Netflix.
You see greats stretch the medium, they don’t conform to it.
But there are a few jokes in 8:46. But mostly it’s storytelling. Forget all the whites getting together to try to push the black ball forward. In most cases it’s a circle jerk. Best to just listen to Brother Chappelle. Because he’s schooling us in this screed. Whites have little knowledge of black history, and they believe black history is a joke, just a way for African-Americans to feel good about themselves, if it was so important they’d already know about it, it would be in schoolbooks…written by whites and approved by whites. Come on, Betsy DeVos, the queen of private schools, do you think she gives a rat’s ass about black history, no she just wants to eradicate it, along with the underfunded public schools blacks are forced to attend. No, not everybody can go to a great private school, no matter how much choice you say there is, we don’t live in Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” If you know math, you know that’s impossible!
So Chappelle starts telling a story and you’ve got no idea where it’s going. He’s talking about the earthquake, back in ’94, in Los Angeles. He ultimately says how scared he was. And that was what, like thirty five seconds long? That cop had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for EIGHT MINUTES AND FORTY SIX SECONDS!
That drove the length of time home. I was in L.A. during the earthquake. It was like the end of the world. If it had been eight minutes and forty six seconds long I would have died of fright.
So, George Floyd calls out for his mother. Chappelle says George KNEW HE WAS GONNA DIE!
Chappelle says how on his deathbed, his father called out for his grandfather.
I don’t want to give it all away, but just when you think he’s meandering, you find out he’s not, Chappelle’s ties it all together.
And the message is powerful and well-executed.
But what struck me is what I mentioned at the top. The people trust Chappelle.
Let me ask you, who can you trust?
Certainly not the President. Nor the DNC either.
The corporations? Their business model is screwing you over.
The cops? I’m white and I’m scared of the cops! They’ve never been there for me, they’ve only hassled me.
And I’ve sat down for the national anthem. Yup, people tell me to get up at the baseball stadium, the sixties were fifty years ago. But if you’re not willing to question authority, think for yourself, then you’re a lemming, a victim with no input. America is the land of the individual. And not only Republicans can be individuals, remember that.
So, we used to trust our rock stars. But can we trust Jay Z when he keeps telling us he’s a business, man! Or Kanye who supports Trump and can’t stop bitching that everybody’s against him? Oh, Kanye is bipolar, but we’d rather just watch him self-destruct than get him in treatment, embrace him medicated.
As for the whites?
THEY’RE ALL AFRAID!
They all remember the Dixie Chicks. Whether they’re in country or pop, rock and in some cases even hip-hop. You can’t alienate a potential customer. Everybody’s watched “Shark Tank,” everybody thinks they’re a business, everybody’s got a home-schooled MBA when the truth is the heart and soul of our country is the denigrated liberal arts.
And they want to open the universities with social distancing. The only reason to go to college is to interact with others, hear contrary opinions and grow up. And it’s an impossibility if there’s social distancing, which won’t be observed anyway, but the educational institutions need the bucks.
As for bucks… Even investment funds got money from the government. That’s right, they made millions but the government gives them more while you’re broke and can’t make ends meet.
But they keep dangling that carrot, you can be just like them.
But Chappelle makes a good case how slavery wasn’t that long ago. Listen and you’ll see. Hell, Hitler killed Jews who practiced other religions, he said it was in their blood. You can’t outrun your race or your religion, your background. And when you grow up Jewish like myself, you’re taught to stand up, to correct people when they make anti-Semitic remarks. You see if you don’t correct people, they don’t know any better.
As for those who need to be corrected…
Only a comedian like Chappelle can properly eviscerate Laura Ingraham. All the writing in the paper…who are these people? Chappelle has a name, they don’t. And you don’t see any Republicans standing up to her while they lionize Candace Owens. Chappelle takes Owens down too. Just because you found one African-American to take your side, to become a Republican, that does not mean the right is not racist.
So you listen to Chappelle and his message sticks with you.
Listen to today’s hit music and you’re forgetting it while you’re listening to it. Much of it is made for a good time. Well, THINGS AREN’T SO GOOD RIGHT NOW!
So we need messengers, we need leaders.
But we don’t have any in government. And we don’t have any in business. Hell, Elon Musk called for Amazon to be broken up because it wouldn’t sell an anti-Covid book. But that goes against the right of a business to sell whatever it wants to, for Twitter and Facebook to disallow speech, but forget the law, when some bozo with power and a megaphone says otherwise, people believe it.
But Chappelle is not a bozo and he’s got a great big megaphone.
He says it wasn’t time for him to weigh in as a celebrity, it was the time of the people, they were doing a great job, as for criticism for laying back, he’s been saying this stuff all along. What a breath of fresh air in an era where celebrities are using the death of George Floyd as a marketing tool.
So the only person with universal purchase in America is Trump. He’s the only one who everyone knows almost everything about. Everybody else has a sliver of his audience.
But who is number two? Who else could get 20+ million views on YouTube?
And don’t compare this with music streams. Music is made to be repeated, visual entertainment is not. And, the Chappelle video hasn’t even been up for five days!
Watch this. It’ll open your eyes. And make you think. And that’s what we need more of, thinking instead of knee-jerk opinions. Our country has become close-minded. And money is used to keep thought controlled. And those with money say they’re inviolate, that complaints against them are class warfare. Then how do we categorize the constant harassment of African-Americans?
Oh, that’s right, we ignore it.
But Dave Chappelle cannot be ignored.