In a recent episode of No Filter with Naomi, comedian Dave Chappelle told supermodel Naomi Campbell that he may be packing his bags, his family and taking them all to West Africa– permanently.
Chappelle said that he considered this move after hearing Stevie Wonder talk about moving to Ghana recently. He noted that while the singer had expressed moving to the West African country in the past, those who knew him felt this time was different. Chappelle was one of those people.
“Now those in the room that know Stevie personally [have heard him] say this thing many times through the years that we’ve known him. But this last time he said it, what he said was, ‘I am moving to Ghana so that I can be valued and respected more,’ that’s almost exactly the phrase he used,” the comedian told the iconic supermodel.
To Chappelle, the fact that someone who had given so much to this country through music, as Stevie Wonder had, felt unappreciated and disrespected was incomprehensible.
“As a Black American, who amongst us is more valued and respected than Stevie Wonder? The idea that he would feel this way at this stage in his life and career,” he expressed to Campbell. “I think that Stevie is the soul of American culture and if the soul leaves the body then this thing is dead. I thought I’ll follow him over there, or I’ll go myself. I’ll do it for him.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the comedian sought peace by moving to the Motherland. Chappelle moved to South Africa in 2005 after choosing to leave the third season of his successful The Chappelle Show to spend more time with his family. That move resulted in a barrage of press coverage and speculation.
For its part, Ghana has been a welcoming atmosphere for Black Americans seeking refuge from the systemic racism that plagues everyday life in the United States.
The country launched its “Year of Return” campaign in 2019, beckoning Africans across the diaspora to come and honor “the resilience of all the victims of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade who were scattered and displaced through the world in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.”
A number of Black American celebrities have since made the pilgrimage to visit and many are considering relocating. The current racial climate and the growing number of hate crimes, police killings of unarmed Black citizens and political isolation is making a lot of Black Americans consider the move to Ghana. Like many others, Chappelle wants a place where he feels welcome.
If he does relocate to Ghana, Chappelle told Campbell, he would like to open up some comedy clubs and rental housing units.