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Grammy Victory for Dave Chappelle as 'What's in a Name' Defends Artistic Expression

Monday, February 5, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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Dave Chappelle won his fifth Grammy for Best Comedy Album, a Netflix special titled "What’s in a Name," derived from a speech delivered at his former high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts. The July 2022 special is in reaction to the criticism that his 2021 special "The Closer" received and an example of him speaking out in support of freedom of speech.

Chappelle beat Wanda Sykes, Sarah Silverman, Trevor Noah, and Chris Rock among others, for the 2024 Grammy. Rufus Wainwright had to accept the award on behalf of Chappelle since he was not in attendance.

"What's in a Name" captures the speech Chappelle would make at Duke Ellington, intended at first to rename the school's theatre in his honor. However, Chtry declined to rename the building, "noting "the nuance of art" and his "freedom of artistic expression." He suggested the theatre be renamed to "Theatre of Artistic Freedom and Expression."

On the special, Chappelle was defending "The Closer," which had been criticized for its content about the transgender community. He, notably, placed himself on the same side as J.K. Rowling, bringing about the criticism that resulted in an employee strike at Netflix offices. "And so here we are, celebrating the graduates of the class of 2020 in the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. And let's be honest: The more you say I can't say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it," Chappelle said.

Winning a Grammy further vindicates Dave Chappelle as one of the faces of comedy, while his position on artistic freedom gives a whole new layer to the ongoing discussion that still swirls around his work.

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