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Comedian Dave Chappelle slams Napa for lack of diversity

Outspoken stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle said Napa Valley is not “a place renowned for its diversity,” as he railed about noise curfew at jazz festival.

Image / John Bauld

Speaking at the Blue Note Jazz festival held in Napa last weekend, Dave Chappelle called the event “the Blackest weekend [Napa] has ever seen,” before threatening to boycott the wine country.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Chappelle continued on his tirade with the comedian allegedly saying: “I’ll never drink a cup of wine from this dusty ass field… “I’ll drink Italian wines and French wines and South African wines.”

The outburst was a reaction to the noise curfew in St. Helena, which bans loud volumes such as concerts after the hour of 10pm. Chappelle was incensed that the festival’s audio speakers were switched off before artist-in-residence Robert Glasper could return to the stage to close the event on Sunday.

“You cannot shut down Robert Glasper, ever. Let that be known,” Chappelle, who was MC-ing the festival, told the crowd.

The stand-up reportedly screamed at crew members to power the sound back up, comparing the situation to Martin Luther King Jr., and asking what would happen if Dr. King wanted to give his “I Have a Dream Speech” and the crew wouldn’t turn his microphone on.

Festival guests recall Chappelle threatening to boycott Napa Valley wine and never return.

Glasper ended up returning to the stage, and the festival, held at the Charles Krug Winery, eventually ended at 10.15pm.

Around 6,000 people attended the three-day music extravaganza, with Snoop Dogg, Chaka Khan and Kamasi Washington also featuring on the line-up.

In 2020, db reported that Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) had pledged more than US$1 million for new scholarship and mentoring programmes to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the wine industry.

Linda Reiff, president and CEO of NVV said at the time: “We recognise our nation is at a critical moment to finally end centuries of racism and to dramatically increase diversity, inclusivity and opportunity, including in the wine industry.

“NVV believes our community and industry should be open and welcoming to people of colour, whether working here, visiting the valley or enjoying our wines anywhere.”

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