Dave Chappelle walks off stage at standup show, 'and Black people understand why'

© 2004 Comedy Central.

At Ebony magazine, Lesli-Ann Lewis writes about her take on comedian Dave Chappelle's reported "meltdown" at a now-infamous show in Connecticut. That was no meltdown, she writes, and it's not Chapelle she believes has a problem.

Dave Chappelle walked off stage tonight and Black people understand why.

Being in that crowd, a sea of drunk White male faces and seeing Chappelle sit there and be jeered at made me uncomfortable. Heckling isn't uncommon for comedians but often when a comedian as famous as Chappelle puts their foot down, it is usually respected.

While the racial makeup of the crowd was incidental, the way they treated Chappelle is not. It speaks to a long complicated history: the relationship between the White audience and the Black entertainer. This is a relationship you can easily trace to early minstrel shows, to archetypes of Blacks that still define the roles we're offered today. We have seen more Black comedians bow to racist tropes, demean themselves—albeit unintentionally—for White audiences.

Read the full essay at EBONY. Below, video from the show, which took place on August 28.