Dick Gregory spent his life as a comedian and an uncompromising advocate for a variety of causes, including civil rights and healthier living. As news spread of his death on Saturday at 84, fellow entertainers and activists took to social media to offer tributes.
“He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted. “Dick Gregory was committed to justice. I miss him already.”
“We lost a king,” Chris Rock posted on Instagram. “They’ll never be another. Read his books. Look him up you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately the America that produced Dick Gregory still exists. Rest In Peace Dick Gregory my hero.”
Larry Wilmore tweeted, “What you did for comedy can’t ever be equalled.”
Other comedians also posted appreciations:
Dick Gregory is even more powerful and engaging now..Can you hear him? "Stay woke" in his spirit learn the 84 chapters!
— Paul Mooney (@PaulEalyMooney) August 20, 2017
#ripdickgregory. True legend,trailblazing comedian and outspoken leader of the causes, advocate for better nutrition in black communities. He was tough on me (my character in Barbershop) and anybody he felt offended the culture. I appreciated him for that, helped me see things another way. Rest In Peace sir.
Tony Rock wrote that Gregory “was the comic that made me realize we most definitely have a responsibility to those coming behind us. We owe. Your career and what you stand for in it will be the example for others to follow.”
Gregory “changed my life,” Orlando Jones tweeted, adding that he won a debate championship performing Gregory’s autobiography. “He was a pioneer & true genius.”
“RIP Dick Gregory, one of the bravest, most unapologetic comedians in history,” Neal Brennan tweeted. “May we all live a life as interesting and principled as he.”
Dick Gregory, Truth teller, make you fall on your face laughing Comedian, health man before it was cool & crazy expensive unapologetic
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 20, 2017
Rest n Peace Dick Gregory. Warrior, soldier, revolutionary….Your voice will be missed in this troubled world.
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) August 20, 2017
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) August 20, 2017
— Baratunde (@baratunde) August 20, 2017
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 20, 2017
RIP Dick Gregory. Great comedian. Great American.
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) August 20, 2017
"Racists never leave town. They just go underground." – Dick Gregory (how right u were) RIP https://t.co/3YXMupNWYG
— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) August 20, 2017
Celebrities across the entertainment industry wrote about Gregory’s influence on them.
“Selma” and “13th” director Ava DuVernay tweeted an image of Gregory’s recent birthday message, in which he wrote, “I know I will not be here forever, nor do I desire to be. I have seen progress like most cannot appreciate because they were not there to bear witness.”
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 20, 2017
RIP Dick Gregory, A 5 Star General in The War for Human Rights!! Glad to have been in your sphere.
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory was a friend and a great inspiration for my entire life ,his energy is now absorbed back into the whole he lives thru us
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory lived an amazing, revolutionary life. A groundbreaker in comedy and a voice for justice. RIP
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 20, 2017
Comedian Dick Gregory always told it like it is. Our laughter was fuel to fight for justice in an unjust world. RIP 1932-2017 pic.twitter.com/wpbdEkvny1
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 20, 2017
Civil rights organizations and activists highlighted Gregory’s advocacy work, particularly during the civil rights era.
— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) August 20, 2017
Was literally just telling my family last night about my experience meeting Dick Gregory in DC. RIP to a legendary freedom fighter https://t.co/dr4iLYoBqU
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) August 20, 2017
Jane O’Meara Sanders, wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders, tweeted that Gregory and her husband “spent the night in jail together for protesting Chicago segregated schools in the 60s.”
— Cornell Wm. Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) August 20, 2017
— The Crisis Magazine (@thecrisismag) August 20, 2017