“The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy,” Chappelle said, according to the Associated Press. “A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid [killed] and I’m running out of closet space.”
The T-shirt metaphor is a sobering way to illustrate the frequency of this pattern. From Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to Sandra Bland in Waller County, Texas, the deluge of young black people who have died at the hands of the state or in state custody over the past year speaks to the unending salience of anti-black violence in this country.
The role of entertainers in addressing these topics is increasingly subject to debate. In recent months, comedians like Jerry Seinfeld have shied away from embracing the potential responsibilities that come with such a high profile.