His hit television show, The Chappelle Show, was for two seasons the a part of the culture zeitgeist and a phenomenon unlike anything previously seen in the fledgling Comedy Central’s programming.
The show gave the talented Dave Chappelle a platform to eviscerate racial stereotypes and showcase the importance of tolerance and an ending to racism and bigotry, through the medium of comedy.
Such skits as The Niggar Family, The Racial Draft, Blind Supremacy – featuring Clayton Bigbsy–, White people’s favorite “safe” comedian, Wayne Brady and a myriad of others attracted cult status. Soon, White people began to snicker and actually agree with many of the stereotypes that Chappelle was trying to bring to social awareness. College-age White people were walking around and shouting the catchphrases of Rick James and Lil’ John, in the guise of, “I’m Rick James, Bitch,” and “What?” and “Okay!” The omnipresence of these phrases began to wear on Black people and fearful that White people would actually start to question the stereotypes and negative images of Blacks that Chappelle displayed in his show as truth, a plan was hatched.
Prominent Black people decided Chappelle had to be ceremoniously lynched. Al Sharpton, Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson Robert Franklin and Oprah Winfrey went on the offensive to destroy Chappelle’s career and to once and for all stop him from perpetuating negative images of Black people.
Chappelle left the show after two financially lucrative seasons, amidst the filming of season three. The Black Mafia was able to quell the damage done by Chappelle, just in time for the 2008 election.
So a paradox exists. Dave Chappelle is very popular among Blacks, but the dichotomy of poking fun at Black people and having White people not only laugh at Black people, but also reinforce the negative stereotypes was too much. The subject matter of his humor has left prominent Black people firmly on the anti-Chappelle side.