Heathcliff Cosby

I am about to watch this Showtime documentary on Bill Cosby. It’s paused. I just wanted to say a little something first.

People are not always who you think they are.

We sometimes elevate folks because we have a particular relationship to their image. Bill Cosby was the funny, loving, Dad, with the cool sweaters and the funny dance who promoted Black education at Black colleges and Black families. He gave us Fat Albert. He gave us the Cosby Show. He was so incredibly likable and funny and believable! So it makes complete and utter sense that we all thought of jello pudding pops when we thought of him.

Until…

Even after he was first alleged to be guilty of sexual assault, we were all like…nahhhhhhhhh. The woman that first came forth was not a ravishing beauty, a Hollywood star, she was a regular woman. So people thought, hmmmmm, not likely Bill Cosby had to drug and rape you. A horrible premise, but a premise nonetheless. But that was in 2005. Ten years later the allegations come in like a wrecking ball. Gloria Allred represented 33 women in civil suits against Cosby. Then felony rape charges were brought against him. Suddenly, America’s Dad turned into America’s Predator. Allegations from 1965 to 2008 permeated the news.

BUT… this was the same dude our parents heard talking about Spanish Fly, like it was his favorite thing, in the 60s… on a comedy record… and in the 80s… on Larry King. He wasn’t hiding this shit. And he was doing it before The Cosby Show, before Fat Albert… from jump!

People are not always who you think they are.

Now we know that Bill Cosby is a rapist, he has admitted it. Bill Cosby was not who we thought hd was because he was playing a part. The times when he was not playing a part, but fighting for Black actors, directors, stuntmen, families, education… isn’t negated, he still did those things, but that is not all he was. He was and is also a man who drugs and takes advantage of women. For those of us who got excited every Thursday waiting to see him be an educated, affluent, father to five kids, husband to a beautiful wife, and downright hilarious, we likely accepted that reality very hesitantly. It didn’t make sense to us… but this started in the 60s… the Playboy club, men openly cheating on their wives with no cultural or social fallout, women seen as only sex objects, drugs, and free love. By no means does that make sexual assault okay… it certainly sets the very unfortunate stage for it. Even for someone who was smart &educated.

People are not always who you think they are.

So be sure you are assessing people based on what you know to be true, what you see, what you hear… all of it. People tell you who you they are. Pay attention. Don’t let their image overtake their reality.

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