Cosby, the Cosby Show and the Ebony Cover

snapshot-ebony-magazine-november-2015

It’s practically a full year since the public was reminded of Bill Cosby’s horrendous rape allegations via a comedy routine by Hannibal Burress. I’d say it’s a done deal that his sterling silver reputation is unsalvageable as it seems that every new month or so, one or two more accusers emerge to say that the puddin’ pop authority and respectable politics advocate raped them.

Recently, it’s been made abundantly clear how far the Cos has fallen as Ebony’s recent issue’s cover displays a shattered image of the cast of the beloved Cosby Show with a huge hole over Cosby’s face. The cover alone has caused quite a stir on and offline. Half the people support the cover, while the other half is disgusted by it as they still believe that Cosby is the innocent victim in all this. And the ones who are at fault, according to them, are the 50-plus women.

It’s easy to see why people hold dear to the Cosby Show’s legacy despite the current hurricane of rape allegations. It showed America a different side of black America, the side that is rarely seen if not imagined. The Cosby Show was about a successful black family living the American dream. Some of the problems, including racism, didn’t exist in that universe. In a way, it showed that black people can indeed “make it”, and that racism was a thing of the past during the administration of perhaps one of America’s most racist presidents.

Some black folks look to the Cosby Show as the Holy Grail of television. They consider it as the blueprint for positive black imagery hardly seen on television back then and in small doses today. And the Huxtables were seen as the anti-stereotype of the way black people, families especially, were seen in the white-owned media.

But the actors behind the show are real people, and with ole’ Bill’s past springing up and Raven Simone’s “New Black-isms”, especially her recent hang up about not hiring black folks with black-sounding names, some of them are quite dysfunctional.

I often hear from Cosby’s defenders why must these allegations surface now? I often ask why not now? Perhaps it has something to do with the current racial climate. With Black Lives Matter still rolling and black lives continue to be taken by law enforcement, it’s a safe bet that Cosby’s rape allegations are not helping in any way.

Many people feel that these allegations of rape against Cosby is shaming black America. Some people feel that black America’s image is tarnished because of it. They hate hearing about it, especially when a new accuser pops up, because it perpetuates the stereotype of the black male rapist, a stereotype among many, that black people struggle to get rid of. Bill Cosby helped to turn the stereotype into a reality in the worst way. In my mind, we should be furious at him, not try to defend him. The fact is many black folks believe in respectability politics, the kind Cosby used to preach, more or less, and with that, you would think they would be pissed off at Cosby for becoming America’s famous serial rapist instead victim blaming the women.

I admit. I struggle with this everyday. I wonder how Cosby’s rape allegations would impact black America as we are all collectively judged by individual screw-ups. I wonder how it would impact his shows’ legacy. After all, he’s not just famous for the Cosby Show. There’s also Fat Albert and I Spy, to name a couple. Can those shows see the light of day again on the small screen, or should they be buried along with the love and admiration people had for Cosby? And I wonder what will become of all the parties involved. What will become of the women? What will become of the Cosby family? How will society as a whole handle rape and sexual assault after this? Will it change for the better, for worse or not change at all?

I know there are some of you who still support Cosby throughout this whole crisis, and I respect that. I don’t know if he is worthy of any support. I no longer became much of a fan after his infamous Pound Cake Speech. As conversations are ignited and will likely remain lit up for some time in the future, we must look at the gender-based and racial angles throughout this whole saga. Only by asking uneasy questions would we on the road to healing.

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10 thoughts on “Cosby, the Cosby Show and the Ebony Cover

    1. @HooDoo Honey asked: “Why are Black people taking Cosby’s crimes personally?”

      Perhaps SOME black folks do take the charges against Bill Cosby personal. But I don’t. For those who do take it personal, I believe this stems from this country’s collectively racist attitude towards black people in general. White folks love to lump us all into the same boat as a monolithic group.

  1. That cover is very disrespectful. Ebony should know better than that. But then again Ebony sold out along time ago. They are doing what they think their white advertisers want to see. I find it pretty pathetic.

  2. I think this post regarding Bill Cosby and the Cosby Show ties right in with your last post: “Black Folks In the White News Media.” What’s happening to Bill Cosby is the type of thing that happens to a people when only one side of the story is being told from a skewed angle without deeper oppositional questioning of the supposed victims.

    The danger being that whites are in control of these instruments and can build you up as quickly as they can tear you down without ever being confronted or getting to the core of some of these issues. I’m not a fan of Bill Cosby. But for instance, why didn’t these women report these incidents of rape immediately after it happened?

    No one knows for certain except the people involved, perhaps some of it was in fact consensual.

    1. There was a comedian whose name I don’t remember that said he finds it very hard to believe that a black man in Hollywhite could get away with raping SO many women and not a one ever thought to speak out before? and especially waiting until he was a tired old man and getting more feeble minded. they could have said something when his son passed, would that be crass yes but it would have been a chance to say that he wasn’t completely a victim because he was guilty of doing dirty deeds himself. funny that the same women who were sooooo afraid before now feel like coming out. it feels more like coming 0ut of the woodwork and why the fuck is it taking so long to bring him to court and why are the so-called victims getting younger and younger to avoid statue of limitation laws? something stinks to high hell about this on the side of the women maybe that’s why they are getting much support.

  3. Bill Cosby once made a speech and he said:

    After an 87 year-old woman is knocked over the head, you don’t see one politician saying I’m running on a pillar of law and order, … why? Because we’re killing ourselves. Why? Because we’re making fools of ourselves. Why? Because we call up radio stations and say people are putting out our dirty laundry (referring to black folks). What the hell are you people talking about?”

    Well Bill, since you asked, “what the hell are black people talking about?” Allegations of spiking a woman’s drink with a drug unbeknownst to her is certainly foolish and perhaps raping her as a result due to her incapacitation is in fact a crime. Well, this is dirty laundry also and this is also how karma works!

    The job of buffoons and coons always come back to slap a ni**a across the face! I hope this is a lesson to rest of those who engage in coonery.

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