In Chappelle’s comedy special, which is named after the amount of time a police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck, he condemns Lemon for admonishing black celebrities who had not spoken out on Floyd’s death.
In 8:46, Chappelle says: “I was screaming at the TV, ‘I dare you to say me, n****, I dare you!’ Has anyone ever listened to me doing comedy? Have I not ever said anything about these things before? So now all of a sudden this n**** expects me to step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing as a celebrity?”
He continues: “Answer me: Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f*** what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No, this is the streets talking for themselves, they don’t need me right now.
“I kept my mouth shut. And I’ll still keep my mouth shut. But don’t think my silence is complicit… Why would anyone care what their favourite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds?”
Appearing on CNN today (12 June), Lemon said he was honoured to be referenced in a special by Chappelle, who he called his favourite comedian. He also insisted that he actually agreed with what Chappelle said about him.
“I think the establishment has been a bit behind,” he explained. “And I think of myself as part of the establishment because I’m over 40 years old. I think that the young people who are out in the streets don’t really care what we have to say. They think that part of the world that we created, and what we did – maybe we didn’t move fast enough or we weren’t strong enough?
“They’re out there fighting and saying, ‘Listen, we are tired of what’s happening, we’ve tried to do it nicely, we’ve tried to do it peacefully, we’ve tried to do all these things and you’ve rejected it.’ So I think they’re not only speaking to the white people in this country, but all of us in the establishment. I agree with him in that way.”
He did, however, note the irony of Chappelle condemning Lemon for urging celebrities to speak out about Floyd’s death in a comedy special that revolves around his death.
“His special is called 8:46, he’s talking about this issue, and I think it’s great that he’s using his platform to talk about this in the way that he can,” Lemon said.
“Listen, I’m not beyond reproach or criticism, I actually welcome it, and Dave can come on my show and talk about it any time… We should all be challenged… I actually think it’s a moment where we have two men of colour who have two big platforms – we are agreeing or disagreeing with each other and having a discussion, and people are actually paying attention to us. That’s healthy.”
8:46 dropped unexpectedly on Netflix today, with audiences dubbing it “painful” and “beautiful”.