Dave Chappelle's Block Party
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary includes lots of strong profanity. That is, over 20 uses of the f-word, twice as many s-words, "bitch," "hell," "ass," slang for genitals ("d--k" and "p---y," for examples), and the n-word (by black speakers). Jokes and dialogue refer to sexual activity, drinking and pot-smoking, characters smoke on screen, and Chappelle talks about purchasing cigarettes in a convenience store. Some of the performed hip-hop lyrics include profanity. Fred Hampton's son appears briefly, and Chappelle describes his father's shooting (in his bed, next to his pregnant wife), by Chicago police in 1969.
What's the story?
In this innovative film, comedian Dave Chappelle invited his friends to a block party for a dose of his edgy comedy, and musical performances by some of today's most original and politically progressive hip-hop artists. These friends include Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, and the Roots, as well as a few folks he's met round the way in his small hometown, just outside Dayton, Ohio. Chappelle's commentary and jokes expose cultural ignorance while encouraging self-education and self-awareness. Using comedy to make clear what's at stake in social justice and entertainment as activism, Chappelle makes progressive politics fun and effective. Musical performances include the Brooklyn Stepper and Kanye West marching to the stage with Ohio's Central University's marching band, an emotional Fugees reunion, a collaboration by Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, and one from Talib Kweli and Mos Def, who exhort listeners to pay attention to the injustice and complacency around them, in "Get By."
Is it any good?
Directed by the always inventive Michel Gondry and shot by brilliant cinematographer Ellen Kuras, DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY is smart and provocative. It underlines the point of Dave Chappelle's comedy: namely, to bring people together to speak openly and intelligently about daily life problems, social and political, immediate and historical. The film marks Chappelle's return to "public life" after his much publicized absence. Here, the comedian is back to form in energetic, insightful full force, at ease among people he likes and admires. And most, if not all, of the musical performances are excellent.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the social and political issues the film raises: institutionalized racism and poverty, sexism, and violence. How can comedy and musical performances provoke open dialogue about these concerns? Is the excessive profanity necessary?