The woman who gave us this account is my long time friend Bobi, we work on all kinds of community issues is San Francisco, a tireless activist, I also know her baby Mika.
So sad to hear that even when one tries to just kick back for a spell and just enjoy some comedy to put aside the injustices that we confront day in and day out, she had to witness how a member of a community which has experienced oppression, exclusion, discrimination, violence, mockery, etc., has to turn around and do the same to other group which faces the same injustices.
Shame on you Dave Chappelle, your homophobic / transphobic side* is not welcomed in the Bay Area.
I have no doubt that Barbara gives a factual account of what transpired, the story has been confirmed be a staff member of New Parrish.
If anyone wants to follow up on the story, confirm it or whatever... The New Parish Oakland
This is what Barbara told us.
Today at 12:43am
After what has been a long and stressful couple of weeks, my girlfriend and I were excited to go see the 8pm showing of Dave Chapelle at the New Parrish in Downtown Oakland. Comedy can be empowering and that’s always what I thought of Chapelle. I really needed a good laugh.
He began with a story of being in San Francisco and being approached by a "man" with "titty balls" and how weird that was and began to mock a gay male voice. He said he was trying to not look at this "man with titties." He talked about how he was uncomfortable and how he was worried about "US Weekly catching them together." He even said "I thought I was gonna walk away without his gayness offending me." He then talked about how the trans individual asked him out to lunch and he reacted angrily.
People were laughing. The environment was hostile and unsafe.
Mika and I looked at each other uncomfortably. Mika started to tear up. She's been dealing with similar homophobia at her school site. I got pissed. I work in the TL and there are a lot of trans folks who are resilient and are often living in SRO hotels despite their talents and abilities because of transphobia. So...I told him off.
I told him "I came to hear you talk about politics and race and instead what you are saying is fucked up." He told me but you have "real titties." I told him I was a lesbian and was offended. He said "I love lesbians." I was gonna tell him to fuck off more (I was angry by this point) but by then I had security guards around me. My baby and I stated we were leaving.
Outside we engaged the co-owners of the club in a twenty minute discussion. My partner grew up with one of them.
I explained to them that when we people of color make fun of ourselves there is an inherent power dynamic that allows us to reclaim stereotypes. That comedy is about the comedian and their location to the subject. I can make fun of Latins but I have to also be aware of my audience. However If I am not Latin and I deride a group of people, I must understand my location to them. Am I othering them? Am I engaging in hateful speech?
I was bothered when one of the owners said that they support artistic merit and he wouldn't censor artists. "Chapelle is edgy." Well...hate speech is NOT edgy. It is a type of language that breeds violence. He said he had Lesbian family members. I told them I was ready to organize against them and at that point I felt the conversation was not going anywhere productive. In the end we all agreed constructive dialogue at some other point would be good.
Remember what happened to the guy from Seinfeld when he went on an N-word rant? This is so not cool.
I want my $105.00 dollars back. I want some action.
We need to take action:
- Keep New Parrish accountable by having a group of folks dialogue with them about transphobia and homophobia. They were open to dialogue and as my gf reminds me we must take the opportunity to educate. Can folks be part of a delegation? Also, we need a mediator.
- BOYCOTT DAVE CHAPELLE. Hate speech is hate speech and his words about trans folks suggested that violence is a permissible response to Queer sexuality. This is not acceptable and he is not welcome back to the bay unless he realizes the hate he breeds.
- A lot of folks were in the room and people just laughed. I want to know what Weyland from KPFA, Nancy Nadel, and Rebecca Kaplan have to say. They were all in the room as trans folks were demonized, dehumanized, and othered as "weird" and disgusting by Mr. Chapelle.
* After reading the comments on Dave, I decided to change 'type' to 'side', I feel more comfortable with it.