Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dave Chappelle in the 'hood

You would have thought Dave Chappelle said his after-party was in Baghdad.
At Ovens Auditorium Sunday, the crowd booed. At the Comedy
Zone, the crowd groaned. At both places Chappelle
asked what was so bad about Wilkinson Boulevard?
People yelled that it was the West side, the 'hood, that you would get shot and one guy said the street had ugly prostitutes (Okay, that was funny).

I went to the after-party and guess what, I didn't get shot. But I and a few hundred other people did go home with tales to tell.

Imagine seeing Chappelle sing "Sexual Healing," hearing Erykah Badu's early raps and shooting as many pictures of Chappelle as you wanted? That's what went down at Tempo on Wilkinson Boulevard. (It happens to be across the street from Coyote Joe's, another popular club.)

For at least an hour, Chappelle, rapper Talib Kweli and friends celebrated singer Erykah Badu's 35th birthday. They cut loose. It was a jam session and sing-a-long. It was like hanging on their tour bus or behind the scenes on the set of the "Chappelle's Show." Chappelle asked fans what they wanted to hear. Then he sang a few versus of Notorious' B.I.G's "F------ You Tonight." The crowd, Kweli and Badu joined in for that one. Chappelle sang the first line of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." That would be "Baayybeeee..." Then he started laughing and gave the microphone to Kweli. They went on like that for a while. Chappelle would sing a little something and then pass the microphone around. Badu sang "Bag Lady" and threw in impromptu rap about liquor, driving her man's car and sleeping with his best friend. When she finished, fans were cheering and laughing. Her brother and sister cut-up on stage as well.

Even better than their stage antics was how approachable all three were. Chappelle and Badu signed my friend's cast and posed for pictures with her and anyone else who asked. They signed autographs and talked to people. Chappelle hung out at that bar and talked to people.

What's so bad about Wilkinson Boulevard? People too scared to see there's nothing to be scared of.