Following the murder of rapper and activist George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin by squatting on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, comedian Dave Chappelle discreetly launched a new Netflix special named, appropriately, “8:46.” The special was more of a video showcasing a Black guy coming to terms with the killing of another Black man at the hands of the state in front of an audience for thirty minutes than it was a standup comedy act. Chappelle conveys his great, all-encompassing exhaustion and speaks at length about the recurrent cycle of police violence.
While it stood alone as a powerful message about police brutality — a recurring issue in Chappelle’s work — he has now found out a new way to put the notion of art as activism into effect. Chappelle has collaborated with Third Man Records to make a limited-edition vinyl of “8:46,” which is currently available at Third Man Records stores in Nashville and Detroit, as well as online at ThirdManStore.com. All earnings will assist Chappelle’s alma institution, Washington, DC’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
The run is limited to 846 copies of red, black, and green-colored records (the colors of the Pan-African flag representing the Garveyist ideology of one, united African diaspora), while a standard black vinyl pressing is also available for pre-order, with a delivery date of October 29, 2021. The B-side features performances of poet Amir Sulaiman’s “My Insides Out” and “We Must Win.”
Of the project, Chappelle said in a statement, “When I was a student at Duke Ellington, the teachers instilled in me the notion of activism through art. We need more soldiers for great causes on the stage.”