Transcript of what Dave Chappelle said at Gem City Shine block party

‘And we are not just doing this for our city. We (are) doing this for every victim of every mass shooting in our country.’

Here is what Dave Chappelle said to the more than an estimated 30,000 people who attended Gem City Shine, a benefit block party held in the wake of the mass shooting that left the gunman and nine others dead.

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The transcript appears below:

I am going to tell you this. A lot of times when I be out in LA, people always laugh at me.

They say “Dave, why do you live in Ohio?”

And you know what I tell them? “Why the f*** not?”


(Crowd: I-O) 

Don’t forget what this place is about.

Mankind learned about how to fly in this city.

Don’t forget what this place is about.

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When the rest of the country was in slavery, everybody was free in Ohio.

If a slave was running for freedom and saw the Ohio River, he was there.


(Crowd: I-O)

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Nothing can break our spirit.

I will never be afraid of you because you are my friends and neighbors and you give me strength. You are my countrymen.


(Crowd: I-O) 

Today we are going to show the world that nothing will get us down.

Dayton, Ohio, no matter what is going on, no matter how tough these times get, we hold our heads up high. Because we know what we are about.


(Crowd: I-O) 

Shout-out to Kayne West, who came here this morning. I’ve got friends who flew in from all over this country to be here today.

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They didn’t ask for a dime or a dollar. Just here to tell this city that they love you.

And we are not just doing this for our city. We (are) doing this for every victim of every mass shooting in our country.

Thank you.

(Audience members: We love you, Dave) 

And I love you.

Now ladies and gentleman, let’s make some noise for our mayor Nan (Whaley).

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(Whaley: Hey Dayton, you look beautiful. This week is Dave’s birthday. So Dave, on behalf of the citizens of Dayton, here is you birthday card.) 

There is $20 in it.

(Crowd sings “Happy Birthday” to Chappelle.) 

(Whaley: I’ve declared it Dave Chappelle Day.) 

You’ve heard it here first; keep the kids out of school. It is Dave Chappelle Day.

(Whaley: This past summer has challenged us to our core, and we rise. 

These past three weeks, I have seen this community come together to grieve, to love and to demand action. 

Dayton, the world is watching, and they heard your call to do something. We must do something to end gun violence. Dayton, we changed the world once, we can change the world again.) 

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


(Dayton police killed a 24-year-old Bellbrook man after he opened fire on Fifth Street, killing nine and injuring dozens of others.) 

Shout-out to the Dayton PD for saving the day. (Thank you) for patrolling these streets. Your community appreciates you.

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(After leading to the crowd in his rendition of “You’ve got a Friend” by James Taylor) 

Gem City Shine. Stay kind to one another. Remember, we are friends, we are neighbors, we are countrymen and we love you. Thank you very much and goodnight.

(After saying there have been more than 250 mass shooting in the United States in 2019)

But this is the only this. I love this city. I am very proud of us. This rocked.

(Leaving the stage) Gem City Shine.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

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