In an impromptu run in with a video journalist, the American actor and comedian, Dave Chapelle, elegantly explained Stevie Wonder’s 1980 hit ‘Happy Birthday’, and its relevance to Martin Luther King Jr Day.
Chapelle demonstrated his historical knowledge of American black history, saying that the song was released in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, which is now a federal holiday in the United States.
The song has entwined its way in to current day America, with many African-American households adopting it as an alternative to the ‘traditional’ birthday tune.
Three years after the release of the song, President Ronald Regan ratified the proposal to turn King’s birthday in to a national holiday – a fitting tribute to the activist who was assassinated in 1969.
“Stevie Wonder was one of the people that strongly endorsed Martin Luther King’s birthday becoming a holiday”, the comic duly explained, before adding that devout republican states like Arizona were reluctant to accept it.
TNT Entertainment James Skipper