I remember being a small black child in the 1970s, stumbling into the kitchen on Saturday mornings pouring a big bowl of Capn Crunch, turning the TV on and watching every cartoon I could find. One of those was “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” hosted and narrated by none other than Bill Cosby. I remember the easygoing man with the fro giving his commentary on the shenanigans of those quirky characters. I remember seeing more of him in movies, hearing his clean comedy routine and in the crowning glory of his career, starring as an obstetrician married to a lawyer and raising five well adjusted children on “The Cosby Show.” When that show ended, I wondered what was next for the man who, by that time, was one of the wealthiest black men in America and was nichnamed “America’s Dad.”
I sure as heck never thought it would be a rape conviction and prison sentence at the age of 81.
When I first heard the accusations made against William Cosby, I, like many others, was very skeptical and doubted the validity of every accuser. I won’t go into the accusations themselves because we a know what they were, but I was admittedly more doubtful due to the image of the man rather than whether or not he could really be capable of such a thing. I later began to doubt that every accuser could be lying and based on what Cosby himself admitted to, including having cheater on his wife of several decades, Camille, previously, realized that he could very well be guilty of sin. In at least one case, the eyes of the law said he was.
For Cosby of course, it means being held accountable for an indefensible wrong, in which many of us would want more than 3-15 years if it were done to a loved one of ours. It also means a forever tarnished reputation and at least 52 years of being a beloved entertainer who transcended race coming down to nothing. Very sad for him personally.
While I personally believe that Cosby deserves whatever he gets for what he’s guilty of, I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness. I am forever appreciative of the images he presented of black people and what he tried to accomplish with Fat Albert and the Cosby Show. I remember the “edutainment” value that those cartoon characters based on him and his childhood fiends represented and it was refreshing to see after so many years of blacks being portrayed as criminals, buffoons, junkies and other blatant stereotypes for an upper middle class black family to star prominently on prime time TV and to set viewership records in the process. Sure a few hoteps and “blacker than thou” types panned the show for not being a “real” representation of being black in America but those types, as far as I’m concerned, are little more in favor of black mobility in image and real life progress than white racists are. I also agree with him when he publicly scolded those in the black community who weren’t making as much of an effort to progress or to do better and defended him against the likes of Michael Eric Dyson, Mr “Blacker Than Thou” himself.
Let me state that unlike so many others, I was never under the illusion that Bill Cosby and Cliff Huxtable were one in the same. Too many times people get caught up in images and in what the media would have you believe about certain individual but we forget that they’re human like us and that what we see is, just that, what we see. Perhaps what this experience should remind us of is that we should never put even the worst tendencies past anyone. Any fan of Woody Allen, Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen or would know what I mean.
So while I feel that Cosby deserves no different treatment than any average individual convicted of any type of rape, I still have to feel a sense of sadness at witnessing this kind of fall. It’s a much shorter drop from the 1st floor to ground level than from the penthouse. Perhaps Coz and emerge from thia a better man if he lives through his sentence. Ike Turner, the most famous wife beater of all time, enjoyed somewhat of a newfound respect before hsi passing so it may be possible with redeemed Bill Cosby after he’s paid his debt to society. Hey hey hey!