Ebony Magazine November Cover (Photo Source: Twitter @EBONYMag)

Ebony Magazine November Cover (Photo Source: Twitter @EBONYMag)

From Fred G. Sanford  to Cliff Huxtable there were significant differences on how a Black father behaved on TV. Each actor made a significant impact on American culture. But, Bill Cosby took the image of black fatherhood to new levels.  The thing about these TV dads is we felt they would never betray us. But, TV is a fantasy and too many people escape into this fantasy. The “Cosby Show” was the ultimate fantasy family for American consumption. So much so, that the lines between Bill Cosby and Cliff Huxtable blurred into a distinct branding of the Bill Cosby image. Cosby was, and remains, a powerfully rich man with a distinct fan base.

All of which came crumbling down from a stand-up routine by comedian Hannibal Buress in 2014. Buress is a successful writer who has worked on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.” But, when Buress took to the stage and said “Bill Cosby has the f—— smuggest old black man public persona that I hate… ‘Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’  Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches… I don’t curse on stage. But yeah, you’re a rapist.”

Thus began the reemergence of rape allegations against Bill Cosby. So far the list of women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and rape has grown to between 40 and 50. Cosby himself admitted in damning court depositions that he had numerous affairs and gave women the drug Quaalude during consensual sex.  The ever unfolding Cosby drama is fodder for mainstream media.  Now, “Ebony” magazine has joined the debate. The cover of the November issue features an article by political pundit Goldie Taylor.

The cover art’s broken glass image is unsettling and touches a deeply psychological level in the fans of the “Cosby Show”: the Black family destroyed by dark secrets. What we saw in the “Cosby Show” was the idyllic Black family. We felt hope that anyone could achieve this stature with hard work and playing by the rules. The Huxtable family and it’s patriarch was something to aspire to and this was deliberately done by Cosby.  No one in their right mind could fathom the depravity Cosby is being accused of now. Goldie Taylor stated on NPR Radio, “That there still is a very strong contingent of largely African Americans people who are defending Bill Cosby against these allegations and any notion that we would question the legacy of the Cosby show itself…is blasphemy.”

Bill Cosby Urban Prep Academies Chicago-8ed

This article is coming at a time when military and university honors are being stripped away from Cosby at a record pace. The US Navy stripped him the title honorary Chief Petty Officer in 2014 soon to be followed by a host of highly acclaimed schools such as Brown University, Tuft University, Fordham University and others. He has either been removed or forced to resign from the board of trustees of colleges he was affiliated with including his alma mater, Temple University.  Prominent HBCU Spelman College, an all women’s college, was the first (and so far only HBCU) to cut ties to the Cosby name.

But, as the Ebony cover states “The Family Issue(s): Cosby vs. Cliff” it is a definitive issue for Black families.  There are parents whose children now ask “What is rape?” and “Why are they talking about Dr. Cosby?”  Some kids even ask why the PBS cartoon “Little Bill” is no longer on their favorite channel.  In the surreal imagery of the broken family portrait on Ebony’s cover, maybe it’s not some unknown person who hurled an object at Cliff Huxtable’s face.  Perhaps in this surreal world the Cosby/Cliff hybrid destroyed this perfect family image.

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

  • Deebers1956

    Cosby did this to himself 100%.

    • guest

      What about his costars? Why is their legacy being tarnished? Seems really unfair.

  • Henry M Carter Mba

    He may have been accused of something, but convicted of nothing. Ebony is truly desperate for sales. I am cancelling my subscription after 20 years of faithful payment

    • tikyle

      If you are going to deny the fact that he himself said in sworn deposition that he drugged and had sex with woman regularly then you are just closing your eyes to the situation. Convicted or not the man is a rapist and he admitted as much. So blaming anyone other than Quaalude Cosby is just irresponsible.

      • WeezyDuzIt

        What’s the difference between soft-rape and hard-rape?

  • John Hairston

    Wrong!! Wrong!! Wrong!! The author seems to turn a totally blind eye to the significant body of work that the Cosby show once represented. Bill Cosby the man with the personal problems should not have his work destroyed as well, that was made with the help many other people and it showed and brought a lot of positive role models to TV during a time when there wasn’t much of it out being shown. I would like some other examples of works that have been banished from TV because the actors later got into some trouble. This author fails to see that there may be a larger picture to look for. Is racism fueling this destruction of Cosby and anything he may have done previously? Also, I might add has anyone really looked into the credibility of this mob of women who now want his hide? The Cosby show, A different World and even the Fat Albert series had a lot of redeeming qualities and I for one think it’s wrong to banish them and drag their significance down because of what Bill Cosby was doing. Ebony is fading away and it’s trying to grab onto some controversial headlines in an effort to become relevant again. Does anyone know who the current owners of Ebony and Jet magazines are?

    • tikyle

      It’s hard to separate and man from his work, especially when he is the “face” of his work. And even more especially when in real life he is the total opposite of what his work portrays. It’s like separating R. Kelly the pedophile from R. Kelly the artist. But at least in R. Kelly’s case both personas were in line with each other. A better analogy would be Eddie Long or even Woody Allen.