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Duke Ellington school rejects 'cancel culture' with students trying to block fundraising event with Dave Chappelle

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Photo by Erin Schaff/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Students at the Duke Ellington School of Arts called for a fundraiser featuring Dave Chappelle to be cancelled over his recent Netflix special, but the school refused to give in to "cancel culture."

Politico cited two students who said their peers got angry when they were told to help set up an exhibition for the fundraising event with Chappelle. The event was to raise money to help pay for a new theater (which will be named after the comedian) at the school.

The students reportedly got into a heated debate with the faculty because they wanted to show support for their LGBTQ compatriots by refusing to honor Chappelle. They also considered a walkout.

Chappelle has been a longtime supporter of the school since graduating there in 1991. He credits the school with saving his life.

The school initially cancelled the fundraiser, but later released a statement in response to the students' furor, saying that it would be postponed until April.

We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist's point of view, product or craft, but reject the notion that a "cancel culture" is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.

The school will continue with its plans to name the new theater after Chappelle.

LGBTQ activists and their allies have decried Chappelle's Netflix comedy special "The Closer" over comments he made that some have criticized as being transphobic.

"For the record, and I need you to know this," Chappelle said later about the controversy, "everyone I know from that community has been loving and supporting, so I don't know what all this nonsense is about."

A video from a 2019 event where Dave Chappelle addressed the students at Duke Ellington showed overwhelming support from the students who attended.

"Protect your heart, young people, protect your heart, don't ever become a cynic!" he told the students who responded with wild applause.

Here's Chappelle at the school in 2019:

Dave Chappelle's message to Duke Ellington School for the Arts students www.youtube.com

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