“This is not funny at all,” Dave Chappelle said in response to George Floyd’s death and the resurgence of #BlackLivesMatter protests in a surprise Netflix special that the streaming service dropped on YouTube early Friday.
“This man kneeled on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Can you imagine that? This kid thought he was gonna die, he knew he was gonna die,” Chappelle said at the top of the special, which was posted to Netflix’s “Netflix Is A Joke” YouTube page. “He called for his dead mother. I’ve only seen that once before in my life. My father on his death bed called for his grandmother. When I watched that tape, I understood this man knew he was gonna die. People watched it, people filmed it. And for some reason, that I still don’t understand, all these f—ing police had their hands in their pockets. Who. Are. You. Talking. To. What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God? That’s what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop, it’s for all of it. F—ing all of it. I don’t mean to get heavy, but we gotta say something.”
The 27-minute, 20-second special was filmed on June 6 — 12 days after Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police officers — in front of a small, outdoor audience that is visibly wearing masks, having their temperatures taken, and practicing social distancing.
During the taped event, Chappelle called out CNN’s Don Lemon for asking celebrities to speak out: “Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality. He says, ‘Where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you talking?’ This n—a said everybody. I was screaming at the TV, ‘I dare you to say me, n–a. I dare you.’”
“Do you wanna see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f— what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No! This is the streets talking for themselves,” Chappelle said. “They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut and I’ll still keep my mouth shut. But don’t think that my silence is complicit or all the s–t these n—as are saying… all these songs.”
Chappelle also targeted conservative commentator Candace Owens (“the most articulate idiot I’ve ever seen in my f—ing life”) for her criticisms of Floyd being made a “hero.”
“And she told George Floyd’s rap record on the internet. ‘Oh he was this. He did that. And he’s a drug addict and he’s not a hero. And why does the black community make him a hero? Why did you choose him as a hero?’ We didn’t choose him — you did! They killed him and that wasn’t right, so he’s the guy,” Chappelle said. “We’re not desperate for heroes in the black community. Any n—a that survives this nightmare is my goddamned hero.”
He added: “This is not funny at all. I got some p—y jokes, too, I could do. But I really just…”
Chappelle closed the special by telling a story about his great grandfather, who he says led a black delegation that met with President Woodrow Wilson following the lynching of a black man in South Carolina over a $30 dispute at a grain elevator.
“That delegation was led by the AME Bishop, William David Chappelle. It’s where I get my name. He was my great grandfather, who was a slave when he was born! These things are not old. This is not a long time ago, it’s today. It’s today. That man’s wife was the woman that my father called on on his death bed. And they were slaves! Are you out of your f—ing mind if you can’t see that? And these n—-s say, ‘Why isn’t David Chappelle saying anything?’ Because David Chappelle understands what the f— he is seeing! And these streets will speak for themselves whether I am alive or dead. I trust you guys, I love you guys. We’ll keep this space open, this is the last stronghold for civil discourse. After this s–t it’s just rat-a-tat-tat-a-tat.”
Watch the full special above.