Dave Chappelle receives sharp criticism over jokes about Charlotte rapper ‘DaBaby,’ NC Walmart shooting

National News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A deadly North Carolina Walmart shooting and a Charlotte-based rapper who goes by “DaBaby” are central to a recent Dave Chapelle joke that could get the comedian yanked off Netflix.

During the Chappelle Netflix special, called The Closer, he makes a joke that centers around Charlotte-based rapper Jonathan Kirk, who goes by the name “DaBaby.”

Chappelle noted that Kirk was involved in a deadly shooting at a Walmart in Huntersville, that is north of Charlotte.

Jaylin Craig, 19, was killed in the Nov. 5, 2018, shooting during a fight, Huntersville police said. However, Kirk said the shooting was in self-defense and a weapons charge was dropped in March 2019 after a key witness failed to appear in court.

This year, Kirk, the Grammy-nominated artist, made homophobic comments and was pulled from the Lollapalooza closing line-up this summer.

Just before he was pulled from Lollapalooza, artists including Madonna, Questlove and Elton John denounced the remarks DaBaby made during a performance in late July at Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival.

While on stage at the Miami festival, the rapper called out members of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV and AIDS. Using crude language, he asked attendees who weren’t gay men or people affected by HIV or AIDS to raise their cellphone flashlights, and he incorrectly said the disease would “make you die in two or three weeks.”

During his recent Netflix stand-up special, Chappelle acknowledged DaBaby’s comments were severe.

“You know, I go hard in the paint, but even I saw that (expletive) and was like, ‘(Expletive), DaBaby!’ He pushed the button, didn’t he!” Chappelle said.

Chappelle later said, “Can’t do that.”

Chappelle then delved more into DaBaby’s history, mentioning the past Walmart shooting.

“Nothing bad happened to his career,” Chappelle quipped. “Do you see where I’m going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill an (expletive), but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”

Chappelle’s special received immediate backlash from the LGBTQ community.

GLAAD tweeted that Chappelle’s “brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”

Jaclyn Moore, who is showrunner for “Dear White People,” tweeted that she told the story of her transition for Netflix but she wouldn’t work with the streaming company “as long as they continue to pull out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”

DaBaby’s song “Rockstar” was one of the biggest hits of 2020 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for record of the year.

WJZY and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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