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Chappelle, Angelou Differ On The N-Word, ‘Soulmates’ Otherwise


He called her a “national treasure, iconic.” She said they were “soulmates.” They enjoyed a home-cooked southern meal including pan-fried chicken, biscuits, and fried apples, and got along splendidly — except when it came to defending the “n-word.”

Those were some of the highlights of the final episode of Sundance’s Iconoclasts: Flight-prone comedian Dave Chappelle and poet Maya Angelou. Chappelle said it was “pretty odd pairing, even by my standards,” and admitted he was nervous to meet her.

Chappelle told Angelou he was moved by her words following his exit from Chappelle’s Show (and five-year, $50 million-dollar contract with Comedy Central). “It was right after I walked away from my show, and you were saying things I needed to hear.”

“I wasn’t walking away from the money, I was walking away from the perfect storm of bullshit,” said Chappelle, adding that corporate America treats people “like they’re products or investments.”

Angelou reminisced about the good old days with her friends Malcolm and Martin (read: X and Luther King, Jr.); Chappelle admired her art collection.

They differed on the “n-word,” however. Chappelle argued that he can use “ugly words” because people know his intentions are good, while Angelou maintained the word was dehumanizing. Still, Chappelle remained deferential throughout, telling Angelou, “I know you’re going to crush me in a minute.”

Said Angelou: “I think Dave Chappelle and I are soulmates.”

See, Dave, there was nothing to be nervous about after all.

— FishbowlNY’s Emily Million


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