Chance The Rapper Addressed The Backlash Against Dave Chappelle’s Inclusion In His Black Star Line Festival

Chance The Rapper is no stranger to controversy, and it looks like he has to field even more in the wake of his Black Star Line festival in Ghana this past weekend. Although the festival was organized with the best of intentions, it has drawn some criticism for centering Ghana, which has a fraught political climate right now, as well as booking acts like Dave Chappelle, who has been embroiled in some controversy of his own involving perceived anti-trans rhetoric in his stand-up.

As one Ghanaian writer put it, “Accra [the site of the festival] is uninhabitable for regular Ghanaians. The only people thriving are the diaspora and the wealthy.”

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Chance tried to address the backlash to the festival, highlighting its successes and doing his best to reframe Chappelle’s comments as a needed, ongoing dialogue. “I think it’s something that Dave was actually shining a light on,” he said of the comic’s set, which addressed Ghana’s anti-gay laws. “That’s where that conversation came from. Dave was making a comment about the comedy scene in Ghana when he said, ‘I bet gay jokes go over so well here.'”

“I feel bad that the person in the audience felt singled out or that the violence against the trans community or LGBTQ community in Ghana wasn’t being respected,” he continued. “… so if having Dave there made people feel like they weren’t, that they didn’t have space or that they weren’t welcome, that was not my intention… I can’t really all the way speak for Dave. I don’t want to say what he thinks or what he feels, but what I think I know about him is that he loves everybody, especially his people, meaning Black people, meaning Black people that are trans, Black people that are gay, Black people that are gender non-conforming, people period.”