Processing My Denial & The Allegations Against Bill Cosby

Bill CosbyI wasn’t quite sure about what I would write, but I felt compelled to write something in order to offer some insight.  As a child of the ’70s and the “TV generation,” I grew up watching Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. What’s curious is that if someone were to ask me about how the opening theme song to the show goes, I could easily start signing “Nah, nah, nah, gonna have a good time!  Hey!  Hey!  Hey!”  I believe that the best lesson that I learned from watching the show as a child is that true friendship is enduring and takes patience with oneself and those whom I am connected to.  Moreover, the show offered me a sense of identity seeing animated Black kids who looked like some of the kids in my neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio (well, maybe not Dumb Donald).

During the late ’80s and early ’90s when I was in college, my friends and I would not allow anything to take precedence over watching the “Cosby Show” or “A Different World” on Thursday nights.  The campus at Hampton University and probably other HBCUs across the country were silent during that hour of television as the shows depicted a Black middle to upper-middle class lifestyle and the characters were accessible and familiar.

 

Issues about remaining in college, dating, racism, alcoholism/drug usage, family and other topics took center stage on the show and kept Black students and folks around the country glued to the television to see reflections of themselves on primetime television.

As a graduate student at UPenn, I felt fortunate at the time to meet Bill Cosby at the Penn Relays. My work study position was in the Center for Community Partnerships and that enabled me to have a field pass at the national track meet. I approached Dr. Cosby and asked for a picture with him and without hesitation he agreed.  Almost 20 years later, I still have that picture today on the mantle in my office.