Madonna released her highly anticipated Madame X tour documentary on Paramount+ last Friday and fans went wild… until Dave Chappelle showed up.
The homophobic and transphobic comedian makes a brief cameo appearance about halfway through the film, when Madonna sits down next to him in the audience and praises him for being “the next James Baldwin” without offering any compelling reasons to support the lofty comparison.
First of all, James Baldwin was a gay Black novelist who was a central figure in the LGBTQ rights movement; Chappelle is a standup comedian with a history of making anti-LGBTQ remarks.
Second, the timing of all this couldn’t be worse.
Madonna released her new tour documentary the same week Chappelle released his latest Netflix comedy special, in which he declares himself “Team TERF!” (the acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist), voices his support for transphobic author J.K. Rowling, and talks obsessively about trans women’s genitalia, among other things.
The special has resulted in GLADD, National Black Justice Coalition, and several other civil rights groups issuing statements condemning Chappelle’s bigotry and urging Netflix to pull it from its platform.
And former Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore, who transitioned during the pandemic, said publicly that she’s “done” working with Netflix “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
Obviously, Madonna never could have anticipated that Chappelle was going to release what is arguably his most anti-LGBTQ comedy special to date the same week she released her latest tour documentary, which was filmed over a year ago.
That said, at the time the concert was recorded, Chappelle already had a very long history of making homophobic and transphobic remarks, yet she still chose to compare him to Baldwin. Understandably, fans aren’t happy about it.
Now, the tweets…
This Madonna Madame X special is going along fine and fucking Dave Chapelle shows up.
— Sam Mc BoO’Rama (@samorama) October 9, 2021
— Marcus Baldwin (@RowBaldwin) October 9, 2021
Hasn’t it just come out this week that Dave Chapelle’ anew special is quite homo and trans phobic? This is very bad timing Madonna. #MadameX
— Scotia ???????? (@Scotjayel) October 8, 2021
Artists are here to disturb the peace. But Dave Chappelle is the new JK Rowling, not the next James Baldwin. 🕵️
— Jay Zarqa 🌎⏰🔥 (@YarmoukZarqa) October 11, 2021
I was up doing laundry so i thought "Why not watch this Madonna concert on Paramount+. If anything it'll be interesting at best." This girl just called Dave Chapelle the next James Baldwin. And there's so much more I could get into about this concert but I'll save that for later.
— Planet Mars (@ahomaritwt) October 9, 2021
As a Madonna fan, I was loving watching her Madame X concert film until she called homophobic and transphobic Dave Chapelle the next James Baldwin. Nope. No. James Baldwin would have never stood for such foolishness.
— Ghost Owens Grimm ? (@bruceowensgrimm) October 8, 2021
I knw he’s uber famous but why is Dave Chappelle in your new special, the LGBT community want answers. And also why call him the next James Baldwin when he done nothing but spread hate under the guise comedy
— Alex Andy (@GothItBoy) October 9, 2021
I think anyone saying “Dave Chapelle is the next James Baldwin” is saying it to troll and provoke, right?
And when it’s a cis het white person saying it, it’s punching down and it’s bullying. I doubt Madonna has any awareness of that though.
— Listen to Understand Before Tone Policing ?? (@BrettScr1) October 10, 2021
the timing of madonna releasing her madame x movie in which she calls dave chapelle the next james baldwin today
— célinkling girl main on smash (@cooIcoolcool) October 9, 2021
Should’ve edited out that transphobic homophobic piece of shit #DaveChappelle out
— Alex Andy (@GothItBoy) October 9, 2021
Madonna releasing this show with Dave Chappelle is pretty gross right now.
— Happy Cheats-O-Ween (@Cheatsy76) October 9, 2021
It was quite strange seeing Madonna do ‘I Rise’ “giving a voice to marginalised people” with the performance ending with huge pride flag backdrop in the Madame X film and also feature a bit with David Chappelle before it
— raggle taggle (@taggles) October 9, 2021
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.