If there is a movie that can make you feel optimistic about the possibilities of forming community in America, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is it. In September 2004 Chappelle, an African-American stand-up comic, celebrated his $50 million contract with Comedy Central by throwing a free hip-hop party in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. A crew of musically gifted pals performed for thousands of guests. Many came from his hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio, with Chapelle providing the bus and hotel accommodations.
The movie, directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), is a loose-limbed account of the event as well as the process that led up to it—like Chappelle’s booking the marching band from Central State (Ohio) University.