Rapper Jay-Z has defended his friend Dave Chappelle who has received severe criticism after Netflix aired his comedy special Closer.
Chappelle’s anti-trans comments as well as his defence of J.K. Rowling had prompted a massive employee walk-out in Netflix headquarters and triggered a lot of celebrities to raise their voice against derogatory humour at the expense of trans experiences.
The 48-year-old comedian has been labelled transphobic ever since and has borne the brunt of rage.
Shawn Carter, AKA Jay-Z recently spoke up in defence of Chappelle. He admitted that although some bits of the special made him feel uncomfortable, he strongly believes that such conversations must take place to begin a discussion about these topics.
“I think he pushed a lot of buttons. I watched sometimes like ‘ugh’. But I think what happens with true art is it has to cause a conversation and sometimes it’s going to be abrasive, sometimes it’s going to be off-putting to folks, but I think it opens up an opportunity to have a dialogue no matter what the issue is,” said the 51-year-old.
Calling Chappelle “super brave and super genius” and “brilliant”, Jay-Z had a lot to say about why the discussion of such topics was of utmost importance.
Saying that “we have to speak with one another when we disagree”, he talks about all the “fake conversations” that took place regarding these issues.
“I don’t want to answer for Dave Chappelle – so I’m not speaking specifically to his work – I think that great art is divisive,” he explained.
“Some people like it, some people hate it. When you’re making great art you have to be fearless and create something that you believe in.”
Although the streamer has not removed the special, the comedian has agreed to meet trans employees to understand their concerns and the subsequent backlash.
Jay-Z recently produced the Netflix western The Harder They Fall starring Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield and more, which is now streaming on Netflix.