Comedian Dave Chappelle who grew up spending summers in Ohio with his father and now lives in Ohio, surprised Dayton residents with a huge, star-studded benefit concert—for free. The famed comedian spent his birthday emceeing the Gem City Shine event, and bringing up fellow comedian Jon Stewart, legendary musician Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper, and Talib Kweli for performances. He did all this in front of a reported 20,000 Ohioans, and he did it because he wanted to bring some healing to a community still dealing with the after effects of yet another American series of senseless mass shootings. Telling the crowd, “Whether you know it or not, your voices are strong, and you are important,” Chappelle shared the stage and brought music and humor.

Chappelle told CNN’s Polo Sandoval that Dayton has had a “rough year,” with a KKK rally and a tornado that tore through the north side of the city—this latest mass shooting created a sense of fear that they wanted to shake. “A lot of people have—maybe even a reasonable fear because the climate is so out of hand. And every once in a while I think it’s good for neighbors to reaffirm to one another that we’re neighbors. That no matter what it is, we’re neighbors. And these people have been wonderful neighbors for me.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said that no tax payer money was used to create the event, and as a birthday present—Chappelle’s birthday is August 24—she announced that August 25 would be considered “Dave Chappelle Day,” in Dayton.

You can watch Chapelle’s CNN’s coverage here:

There is also a cut together bit of reporting on the event you can watch here.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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