I grew up watching Bill Cosby as Dr. Huxtable, an educated black family man who was a doctor on TV with an attractive attorney wife and at the time had children my age. The Cosby Show gave us hope and reinforced structure in the family. Which meant that you could have happiness, a beautiful family and monetary success.
This Bill Cosby thing… has been such a distraction… nagging, derailing, and playing on my psyche. Mainly because out of sight, out of mind and much different from the celebrity gossip I write and blog about daily, this thing is taking too much of my brain power.
By now I thought it would die down, especially with no evidence, no proof, and no charges, but yet it’s still in the news. Thinking to myself why suddenly is this man being dragged through the mud by the media? These people seemed to have come out of hibernation with a master plan to deceive, distract, and destroy Bill Cosby and his family. That’s what peaked my curiosity…what is the bigger picture? Who’s next? This “smear campaign” just seems very odd.
Since my “Spidey” senses have kicked in I’ve learned Bill Cosby is more than an actor– he is legendary, a true trailblazer, educator, philanthropist, husband, father and a role model. Cosby has done numerous things to empower and uplift all communities throughout America.
I have been following Bill Cosby’s Far From Finish Tour and jumped at the opportunity to see him live in Baltimore, Maryland on March 27th, 2015. My initial thought was how can I meet this legend? Sure enough I got my chance! Just like he did in any of his old I-SPY episodes, I finagled my way backstage and ended up in a meet and greet line.
Well here we go — my conversation with Bill Cosby.
As I approach the meet and greet room, I hear that recognizable voice saying, “Hello Friend.” Contrary to the negative impression the media gives about his appearance and attitude, I found it to be just the opposite. I was greeted with that warm, infectious smile and a firm hand shake. Surprised and momentarily speechless in the back of my mind — I’m thinking how will I ask this man for an interview. Remembering, he has turned down many distinguished journalists. I began to question my motivation as well as how bad do I really want this interview and are my intentions innocent.
KS: Hi, how are you?
KS: Mr. Cosby, I am a blogger and my audience is comprised of many young people who did not grow up watching The Cosby Show. I understand legally you can’t respond to any of the allegations because that can cause a defamation suit against you. However, my followers know who you are but they were not galvanized by The Cobsy Show and I feel that you can gain a connection to the young people of today by answering a few of my questions. Would you be willing?
At this time he is just looking for me start talking. I’m guessing!
BC: Go ahead.
KS: After all these years do you get nervous when you step on stage?
BC: No, The last time I became nervous was my first year in show business, more than five decades ago. In my book Cosbyology, on page 153. Have you read that book?
KS: No sir.
BC: On page 153, I explain the time I talked myself into believing that the audience knew I wasn’t funny. Because they had seen so many other comedians perform, that they would hear I wasn’t funny and I didn’t earn a spot there.
KS: You talked yourself into thinking you were not funny? Knock it off Scotty.
Looking at him awkwardly and we chuckled. I-Spy fans will know what I mean.
BC: You see it’s compelling how you can talk yourself down because you made yourself nervous. In interviews, writing papers, performance, even when you first start driving. You should not talk with low self-esteem about yourself, to the point where you believe it.
KS: On social media I have met a lot of your fans, they absolutely love you. Too many to name, but do you have a message you would like to send to them?
BC: Yes, thank you for the continued support. This part of my life at 77, I am performing the best I have ever performed! In the last 9 months I am consistently writing new material, that I am very proud to perform for them.
Bill Cosby talked about his past and breaking LP’s when he would release new material to disc jockeys on KSFO in San Francisco, how they would say, “You better come see me.” Recalling when people would show up at Lake Tahoe, to hear the disc jockey’s special routines featuring his work.
BC: My work now varies including pieces from Uncle William, a stork and a benefit I did at Temple University. I look forward to performing everything I have done, every funny idea — from I-Spy to young Bill Cosby — who was a 23-year-old student at Temple in Remedial Freshman English completing an assignment a mental drifter locked into becoming a Physical Education Teacher.
KS: Mr. Cosby there is one fan in particular Joshua Cosby, he has Autism. He adores you. Can I send him personalized message?
BC: I know Joshua. Tell him I don’t expect as much from him as his name in the Bible, but for God sake vote!
KS: Respectfully Mr. Cosby why do you still work? And what are you working on next?
BC: Because it is in me! I know this is something that makes a lot of people very happy, like Joshua and my other fans. A wonderful story, I was in Montana checking in a hotel and the bellman said to me, “Mr. Cosby you were here 4 years ago, I saw you, I brought two tickets – I took my dad.” In an odd surprised tone, the bellman said, and “you were funny.” I asked were you not expecting me to be funny? The bellman explains, “I was 24 then, you are my father’s age. He plays your albums, watches you on TV, I took him as a gift. We sat and watched the show we beat each other up laughing. On our way home, we talked for the first time in our lives to each other, not like father and son. But to each other.”
I gave him two tickets told him to treat his father, he said his father was sick and his mother was taking care of his father, he asked could he bring his friend Larry, I told him bring whoever he wants and hoped his dad would get better.
Another time, maybe 15 years ago I was at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, waiting for the car to come. It was prom night and six African-American couples got out of a limo. As they passed me, I heard one say to his friend, man that’s Bill Cosby — the friend said who? The youngster said again, man that’s Bill Cosby — he does real comedy. I smiled all the way to Oakland to see my friend Al Alden. I told him guess who I am, Al said who, I am Bill Cosby! Al said God Bless you, I said guess what I do, I do real comedy.
KS: I know fans were expecting to see you in Selma, how do you feel about witnessing a Black President cross that bridge 50 years later?
BC: First of all, it’s just not to see President Obama go across, or reach that point. But to see it in the United States of America. Selma is so special. For the President to be understanding and protecting something so special. People look and don’t fathom the depth of what the President is doing. Some people said The Cosby Show was responsible for The Obama’s becoming the First Black Family in The White House.
We have to look at all the young and old, the colors, cultures and enthusiasm of all people who joined together with Dr. King for the Selma voting rights movement and the march to Montgomery. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Dorothy Height. One thing we need to do is look into history, look into Washington D.C. the archives — see the status of Martin Luther King Jr. I think people really should read how much President Lyndon B. Johnson contributed too. LBJ, this man to many looked like he could be evil to blacks. But he wasn’t, he signed bills and he worked towards voting rights. The picture is not just a Black President. But it says a great deal about the United States of America and how far we have to grow, because there are certain things we are just not used to yet!
KS: Recently, I discovered you dropped out of high school, of course you eventually continued your education “Dr. Cosby”–your accomplishments are remarkable, do you have any advice for our youth?
BC: Yes. Do you know who Earl Lloyd is?
BC: The first black man to score a basket in the NBA. Earl shared a story with me once when his mom questioned him about his whereabouts. Earl’s mother asked where he was one day, Earl said I was outside, she replied you are on the corner with those boys– Earl said I was with them, but I wasn’t doing anything. Earl’s mom said if you are not in the picture you cannot be framed. So many of our children that you don’t see outside on the corner, are probably in the house preparing for the future.
KS: Some people were offended by your message years ago, when you said something like pull up your pants, stop naming your kids this and that, get a job, go to school, etc…I think your message showed you cared and truly wanted to see the best for our children, but maybe some felt the delivery was harsh and insensitive, would you like to address that?
BC: My publicist Andrew Wyatt with Purpose PR Firm will send you three letters. You will hear from others, how they felt and the message they received from my comments.
Inserts from the letters received: Regarding the “Call Out ”
One letter addressed from the past President of Mott Community College, M. Richard Shaink, Ph.D., (2000-2014)
“He said such things as “we’re trying to save people’s broken souls…We’ve got to wake up. We’ve got to fight….Don’t let the fool’s gold people let you believe Bill Cosby is blaming you for what’s happening to you. But I am saying, ‘Get up.’ I’m saying, ‘Use your brain.’ I’m saying, ‘Talk to each other.’”
His message of hard work and self-discipline was enthusiastically received by those in the hall and those who heard the message through the extensive media coverage.
In the years immediately after Dr. Cosby’s intervention, college enrollment increased sharply.
Second Letter from Curressia McFarland Brown, M.Ed., J.D.
Years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance or conscientious stupidity.”
Were there parts of Dr. Cosby’s message that were a bit “strong,” even hard to “swallow”? Certainly. However, that’s not uncommon for medicine. Unlike bandages that merely cover our scrapes and bruises, “medicine” that addresses real ailments may be a bit bitter to the taste and difficult to ingest. However, once we accept it, the healing begins. So it is with Cosby’s declaration that the time for accepting mediocrity is over. The time for complaining about that which is within our control is long gone.
A third letter from Dr. Ivery to Mr. Cosby from Wayne County Community College.
While many of those in the public eye refuse to take a stand or speak up and “Call Out” those who need to be spoken to, you took both the risk and hit for doing so. You have championed for a level of excellence for and from our communities to restore a lost legacy. Of the many things I can say to you for all you have said and done, please accept the simplest but most sincere of those—thank you.
KS: Lately in the news I have continued to see a rehash of you joking with an audience member who was going to get a drink. When the story was first reported the media gave us the entire picture, but now they are starting to leave significant parts of your joke to that audience member out. Can you tell me what happened and explain why the media is not printing the facts?
BC: Where are you going, the woman replied I am going to get a drink, do you want one? In dry humor — I responded — I guess you haven’t heard about drinking around me. The audience laughed for minutes, and by the time the media released the joke — it was twisted and the parts of the joke was omitted.
KS: I don’t want to overstep my boundaries, but people want to hear your side? Just tonight two more accusers came out is there anything you can say regarding these accusations ?
BC: You stated earlier my reasons for not being able to say anything. Right? No.
BC: When I think back to the day my son Ennis was murdered, when I need comfort and strength this particular poem comes to mind. “IF” by Ruyard Kipling.
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Humanitarian “
BC: I changed the very last line in the last stanza of “IF” from ‘you’ll be a Man, my son’ to you’ll be a Humanitarian.
Ironically, after reciting the poem, “IF” by Ruyard Kipling, I was saddened.
My reason is very simple: I felt horrible hearing the story about his son because this was the person who would have continued his name for many generations. Bill Cosby will forever be known as America’s favorite TV Dad — a man who has raised many men; a man who has influenced many fatherless sons; and a man who still encourages boys to become men.
Were my intentions now selfish? Did I quickly become a part of that media machine that has dragged Bill Cosby through the mud? Someone who welcomed me within minutes, took the time to speak to me and gave me an amazing opportunity.
Still positive, warm, unbreakable and clearly Far From Finished, Bill Cosby said,
“I am excited to perform tonight in Baltimore, Maryland, and to bring laughter to all of my fans.”
I thanked him for his time, I wished him the best, and I hurried to my seat to see this magnificent performer.
This interview was insightful. Education, life, love, laughter and his fans seemed to be the main things on his mind. This interviewed revealed to me, The Real Bill Cosby.
Image credit Facebook/Social Media
TATTLETAILZZ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BILL COSBY