JAY-Z defends Dave Chappelle amid Netflix controversy

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JAY-Z supported his longtime friend Dave Chappelle during a Twitter Space live interview last week.

During the conversation, which was hosted by Netflix's Strong Black Lead Twitter account, the 51-year-old rapper discussed Chappelle's stand-up special, The Closer, which sparked controversy last month over comments the comedian made about transgender people.

The rapper said, "If you spend time with him, he's brilliant", acknowledged that the special "pushed a lot of buttons," and added, "But I think that what happens with true art is it has to cause conversation. And you know, sometimes it's gonna be abrasive and sometimes it's gonna be off-putting for folks."

The Closer notably caused outrage across social media, at both Chappelle and Netflix, with many characterising the comments as transphobic and claiming the special has created an unsafe work environment for transgender workers at the streaming giant.

The Tidal founder insisted that provocative art "opens up an opportunity to have a dialogue" about the issues it's speaking about.

"Great art is divisive," he stated. "When you're making great art, you have to be fearless and you have to create something that you believe in. And that's what it's all about."

In a video posted late last month, Chappelle said he was willing to meet with transgender Netflix employees to discuss his comments.

"To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone's demands," he stated. "And if you want to meet with me, I am more than willing to, but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that (comedian) Hannah Gadsby is not funny."

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