For the last few days it’s been pretty inspiring to see the comedy community rally around the calls for social justice. We’ve seen comedians take to the streets to protest, start funds, deliver food, provide aid, use their large social reach to amplify causes and resources.
We often hear that white folks need to have conversations with other white folks about how to be better allies, and not lay the burden of racial education and privilege at the feet of black folks only. Enter Neal Brennan, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, comedian, and show writer. Brennan filmed a handful of videos for his nearly quarter million social media followers recounting his long history of discussing race in his comedy, collaborating with people of color, and generally how white creative people can actually make change. Consider them, “The More You Know” segments from Neal Brennan.
Brennan began with a starter video stating, “For decades white people have asked HOW I had so many black friends. Here’s a starter video. DON’T BE SCARED. (I can’t believe it’s come to this.)” Basically calling for people to start by making an effort.
He then followed up with a second video with how to actually help people besides virtue signaling on social media stating, “You Want To Help Black People? An Idea That’s better Than Social Media. (Also, black square!)”
Brennan’s third clip told some anecdotes as to how many black folks have helped others once they got success stating, “White people, basic decency can benefit you in ways you would never imagine. (Chris has helped 100s of black people’s careers also in case you’re gonna make that argument).” Highlighting that in his experience, black comedians often re-pay folks who treated them well when early on.
In his 4th video he breaks down our lizard brains and how they still seep into our psyche to this day. We need to acknowledge it and then move on from it.