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ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry$
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Marcelline Block and Jennifer Kirby

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456012.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Reel and Surreal of Race in America: Michel Gondry and the African–American Identity Crisis of Dave Chappelle

The Reel and Surreal of Race in America: Michel Gondry and the African–American Identity Crisis of Dave Chappelle

Chapter:
(p.153) Chapter 9 The Reel and Surreal of Race in America: Michel Gondry and the African–American Identity Crisis of Dave Chappelle
Source:
ReFocus: The Films of Michel Gondry
Author(s):

Monique Taylor

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456012.003.0010

In this chapter Monique Taylor analyses the concert documentary DaveChappelle’s Block Party (2005), directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry, which depicts the organization and performances of a “block party” hosted by African-American comedian Dave Chappelle in Brooklyn, New York. Chappelle’s Block Party featured performances by some of the biggest names in hip hop, rap, and R & B music, including ?uestlove, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, the Fugees reunited with Lauryn Hill, and Kanye West. The chapter argues that Gondry plays the role of outsider-looking-in as both a participant in as well as an observer of aspects of American cultural conversations on memory, identity and language. Taylor’s chapter draws attention to Dave Chappelle’sBlock Party’s construction of a hybrid and hyper-real community through the use of strategies such as movements back and forth in time between the entertainers’ performances and the preparations leading up to the concert which highlight the production of the event, surreal visual embellishments, and prominent allusion to symbols of African–American identity. The chapter also places the film within the context of Chappelle’s own exploration of his identity and struggle to “keep it real.”

Keywords:   Dave Chappelle, Michel Gondry, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Race, Brooklyn, Concert documentary

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