Last night around midnight, Dave Chappelle released a special that aired on Netflix’s Comedy YouTube channel entitled “8:46.” This number has become synonymous with the amount of time that Derek Chauvin forcefully placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd as Floyd plead for his life ultimately succumbing to injuries sustained from Chauvin’s chokehold.
While Chappelle is quite possibly the most important comedian of this generation as it relates to police brutality, race, observation, and thoughtfulness – To be frank this conversation was not comedy. And why should it be? Ain’t shit funny right now. However, in spite of the obvious strains on our minds and hearts right now as a result of the compounding effects of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and countless others- Chappelle’s conversation was cathartic- and it reflected in many ways the pain, rage, optimism and fight of those of us who have taken to the streets to fight back against white terrorism resulting in black deaths with impunity.
Chappelle talked Chris Dorner, Candace Owens, and more in a special that was a little under 30 minutes long. It appeared to be hosted on his ranch. Chappelle shared several personal experiences, including one that shocked me to the core- Just one day before John Crawford was shot in the back by police in an Ohio Walmart for simply carrying an air rifle through the store (an air rifle sold by Walmart) Chapelle himself had been stopped and let off with a warning by The man who would subsequently kill Crawford.
It was a revealing look into how close any black man or woman on any given day is to being the one with a knee on our neck or a bullet in our back. And it was a revealing look into how we got here in America.
Here is the conversation in its entirety: