[UPDATE 5/17/16: This post was written May of 2016. The Cosby interview has since been removed from YouTube, but trust me, if you didn’t see it, you didn’t miss anything. He said nothing.]
So it’s been about 6 months since our dreams and visions of all things family were shattered. Our hopes and ideals lie dormant in the abyss just beneath the darkest point of the ocean. Yep, it’s that serious. Bill Cosby aka Heathcliff Huxtable was the father that many of us never had, or the one we wished we had, or the one we wanted our future children to have.
We were all going along happily about our lives, well into adulthood when a bomb was dropped, excuse me about 30 bombs were dropped. Several women came forward claiming that our good ol dad drugged and/or raped them. Do you remember the scene in the movie Love and Basketball when Omar Epp’s character (Quincy) found out that his father was running around on his mother? The father that he looked up to, the one that he idolized, the good man that he hoped to be just like one day, that image was crushed in a millisecond. You know how hard it was for Quincy to get back up and keep playing ball? You know how brokenhearted he was? Okay, okay, so he was a fictitious character but you get my point. This is how swarms of people now feel about Mr. Cosby. Brokenhearted.
The beliefs of our youth shape our futures, they mold our identities. I am grappling with the concept that the man who pushed all things family, all things education, all things positive for the Black community during the height of the 1980’s crack take-down of urban America, is now being vilified in ways unfathomable just one year ago . This is not just a phenomenon, it is a tragedy.
Now I am not the most confrontational girl on the planet, sorry to dismiss stereotypes. But if I had been accused of randomly drugging people, then randomly dragging them to random private quarters, to perform random acts on them, trust and believe that I would storm every city hall between here and Washington. I would pass out flyers proclaiming my innocence. I would be all over social media convincing you and your grandma that there were some loonies who lied, (I’d start a hashtag, #loonieswholied), who were trying to take down my good name. And that’s me with my infantile blog and average credit score. Now imagine if I ran an empire. Imagine if I held the record for the longest running syndicated American television show in history. Imagine if I shared billionaire status with Winfrey and Gates. You would have a ticker tape coming across your screen right now, just before the Wall Street stock stats talking about, Don’t believe the hype! They lied! Tiffany is innocent!
So imagine our dismay when the man we 80’s and 90’s babies felt when our good ol dad was accused of heinous crimes against women. The accusations were shocking yes, but something was much more shocking… Mr. Cosby’s silence. He said nothing, for like months!! For like 6 months!!! Then one day in May I turn on a video titled, “Bill Cosby Speaks Out” and say to myself, I say self, finally the day has come. This will be the day when this man that I have loved all my life will vindicate himself. He will speak to how money and greed clouded the minds of 3 dozen women who all sought to disgrace him for their own gain. Or he’ll educate us on how secret societies plotted to take down his good name. Or he will inform us that last fall after the aliens submerged us under an invisible mist cloud, that earth was forced to believe that our beloved tv dad was actually a fire breathing monster. He was going to tell us something, the day had arrived. So sitting here now I don’t know whether to be more upset with Mr. Cosby or with myself for expecting some profound redemptive moment.
I’m a pretty good read. I think I’ve got high levels of intelligence and discernment on lock, but I swear after the third play back of this video I still witnessed… nothing. Mr. Cosby implied, imposed, suggested… nothing. Come on dad!! This is not the time to speak in code and innuendo, but if you should so choose, at least make a point, one that would lead to claiming your innocence. Is that too much to ask? He said nothing, and I am flabbergasted.
This one man single-highhandedly infused hope into struggling Black folk’s concept of themselves, while validating well-doing Black folk’s concept of themselves, and did so while simultaneously creating new pathways as to how White folk viewed Black folk. The Cosby Show and it’s images are sacred, they are sovereign. I sit here after having seeing every episode 10 times each, now unable to watch. Within me lies a great sense of betrayal as the pain of silence stains. Hypothetically, if Mr. Cosby was guilty of some of what he’s being accused of and this took place during his foolish youth, while misogynistic views of women were the norm, and he later in life began a plight on building self esteem and platforms, his work would still be credible. It is possible that a murky beginning can alter into a positive and powerful ending? Of course it would be, he wouldn’t be the first to start things really bad and end them really well. The single one thing that will make that jump impossible is silence, thus, denial. I hear someone saying the truth shall make you free. To not acknowledge the truth, to whatever extent in this case that truth lies, is to a great degree forfeits the good that had been done. The Cosby-esque jibber jabber is clever and humorous when shared from a comedic stage, but it is not anywhere in the realm of humorous in this spotlight. I might prefer silence to deflection. I have to trust that my eyes during my impressionable youth didn’t deceive me into thinking the concepts infused into my being through years of watching the Cosby’s are valuable enough to maintain. But I don’t think I’ll ever eat another Jello Pudding Pop again.