Dear Downers Church Family:
Bill Cosby, a household name from the 1970s to the 1990s due to his television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The Cosby Show, has recently made a comeback in the public eye. For decades, Cosby has been a voice breaking stereotypes of black America and restoring morality to younger generations, especially from urban communities.
Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. Growing up he was known for his athletic ability. He was a track and field star along with playing football, basketball, and baseball. His biggest challenge, though, was that he was not inclined to study. This eventually led to his failure of the 10th grade. Instead of repeating the next year, he quit school and started to work. Not knowing where life was leading, he followed the example of his father and joined the navy. After his service, Cosby earned his GED and went to Temple University on a track and field scholarship. He ended up leaving Temple, pursuing a life of comedy.
Standup comedy was Cosby’s start in show business. He started in his hometown of Philadelphia but went on book shows in all of the nation’s largest cities. Four years after starting standup comedy, Cosby began his acting career with the show I-Spy. He then created The Bill Cosby Show, which lasted 2 years. Then came Bill Cosby’s big break: Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The show was based on his childhood. It was a combination of real life and animation to teach healthy life choices and increase learning, especially for the African-American community. It was a Saturday morning success for 8 years.
Bill Cosby’s greatest television success started in the mid-1980s with the genesis of The Cosby Show. The series revealed the challenges and joys of an upper class black family in a prominent neighborhood. Critics stated that the show falsely portrayed black America, yet proponents believed that it helped tear down the stereotypes of African-Americans. The Cosby Show was an instant success. The show stayed at or near the top of sitcom ratings for its 8 season run.
Bill Cosby, as Cliff Huxtable, became one of America’s favorite dads. He was firm but loving. He was a man of integrity and moral character. He was a great father and member of his community. Across the nation, Cosby became a role model for all dads. But this all changed about 5 years ago when Hannibal Buress, a comedian, started speaking out about Cosby’s sexual assault allegations during comedy shows. This emboldened Cosby’s accusers to speak about their experience with the superstar actor. Many women have accused Cosby of rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, drug facilitated sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.
What a fall from grace!
Once the role model for American dads, Cosby has now become a hated and ridiculed icon in American pop culture. Cosby’s façade of morality is now overshadowed by the reality of his life choices. It is more likely that Bill Cosby will be known for his actions, especially against women, than for what he preached on the television.
This could be exactly what Jesus is saying at the end of His Sermon on the Mount: What you do speaks more than what you say. If you know what is good, yet do not act accordingly, then it means nothing.