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Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle’s blackness doesn’t excuse his transmisogyny, and punching down isn’t ever funny. Quite frankly, it is boring and cruel.

Listen, was I surprised to hear that Dave Chapelle’s new Netflix stand-up series was tailor-made for Hotep Twitter? NOPE. Was I disappointed that he hadn’t evolved and that he just sounded like an old, out of touch cishet man rambling about PC culture? Not really. I don’t expect much from cishet men. After all, black cishet men like to frequently remind black trans and cis women just how much they don’t give a shit about them (#whitegirlsevolving).

Chappelle might be black, but he’s rich and benefits from cishet male privilege. There was a moment in the second episode of his show where he even admits that his wealth affords him a certain privilege. But his blackness doesn’t excuse his transmisogyny, and punching down isn’t ever funny. Quite frankly, it is boring and cruel.

Jokes about marginalized folks are for mediocre comedians who have nothing interesting to say about themselves. It’s what you do when you can’t think critically about the world around you or the root causes of oppression.

Related: Cis Black Men: If Black Lives Matter, We Need to Support Our Trans Sisters

Great comedians dismantle what is fucked up. Enforcing transmisogyny is the opposite of that. What makes me angry is that Chappelle can be, and has been, incisive with his comedy in regard to topics that directly affect him. It’s a shame he couldn’t evolve to observe the oppressions that affect more than just cishet black men.

What Chappelle did was make toxic cishet men feel validated. He’s always validated their misogyny and he continues to validate their transmisogyny and their constant demonization of anything even vaguely feminine.

There’s a reason for why so many of us draw the comparison between Hoteps and white cishet men. Thirteen percent of black men voted for our current president. That’s a lot when you think of how appallingly racist 45 is, but he also happens to be a misogynist and I guess that’s just something 13% of Black men who voted feel cool with, even if it ends up harming them.

Rambling about rape, trans women and political correctness is the last thing that I want to hear when there is a wealth of shit happening in the world that needs to be observed and ripped to shreds by comedians with social intelligence and sensitivity.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about Chappelle’s latest series, and I lost interest pretty quickly. Fortunately HBO Go has a Wanda Sykes stand-up show, I’ma Be Meas an antidote. It feels good to watch a comedian I don’t have to be on edge with. Chappelle will never be that comedian for me, but then again, most cishet men never make me feel safe.


Lara Witt (she/they) is an award-winning feminist writer who primarily writes about feminism, racism, pop-culture, mental health, and politics. Witt received her BA in Journalism from Temple University and interned for Philadelphia CityPaper’s arts and entertainment section and the Philadelphia Daily News covering local news, court stories, and crime. Following her graduation, she became increasingly committed to writing about gender, race, and queer identity by using Black and brown feminist theory to analyze current news and politics. Witt freelanced for national and local publications, which led to her working with Wear Your Voice Magazine eventually becoming their EIC and rebranding the site to focus primarily on using the analytical framework of Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality. Video Player is loading. Witt’s goal is to provide platforms for marginalized voices with a focus on having other Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) writers tell their own stories and explore their own narratives. Witt has spoken at local Philadelphia events, such as the March to End Rape Culture (2017) and curated a yearly series of events called The Electric Lady Series. These events highlight women of color in Philadelphia by exploring gender, rape culture, entrepreneurship, art, self-care, sex, and culture.

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