The comedian expressed why he won't take on that job title and spoke about watching the death of George Floyd.
Whether he likes it or not, millions of Dave Chappelle fans look to him for guidance. The longtime entertainer has often used his voice to bring a bit of comedy to serious issues that plague American culture, and during his chat with David Letterman on Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Chappelle tackles why he doesn't step forward as a social justice leader.
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"There's somebody who they would look to for moral or intellectual guidance," Chappelle said. "There's no pension plan for leaders. Martin Luther King died penniless. Malcolm X died penniless. I don't want to do that." Letterman said, even so, he's still waiting on cultural commentary from Chappelle.
"I said it behind what others were already doing and the commentary after it was very heady and intellectual and I was shocked that nobody ever talked about what it feels like to watch a man get murdered that way by a man in a police uniform," Chappelle said of George Floyd. Letterman then shares the story of the late civil rights activist and politician John Lewis who was beaten to near-death by an officer many decades ago, and how the experience led Lewis to dedicate his life to fighting for equity and equality. He compared that moment in history to the death of Floyd.
"What a tragic footnote to a tragic culture. This is a lot to unpack," said Chappelle. "Nights like this are important. Just talking about it. We're countrymen, all of us. We live in America. It's weird now, because this game of 'who suffered more,' everyone keeps getting the ball. They act like everyone's suffering is mutually exclusive from everyone else's, and you and I both know that this is far from the case."
Check out a clip from Chappelle's appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction below and make sure to stream the series beginning tomorrow (October 21).