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Phylicia Rashad Fires Back at ‘Cosby’ Critics: ‘People Need to Get a Grip’

Holly ThomasPhylicia Rashad, arguably the most iconic TV mom in history, is taking on the role of a new family matriarch in the highly anticipated big screen drama, “Frankie & Alice.”

Rashad stars as Halle Berry’s mother in the film, in which the Oscar winner plays woman with multiple personality disorder caused by a traumatic incident in her childhood.

It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago when “The Cosby Show” first entered the homes of millions of Americans.

“The Cosby Show” is without a doubt an American treasure; however the series has received some backlash from critics who believe the show’s portrayal of an upscale African-American family wasn’t realistic.

In an interview with theGrio, Rashad, who starred as Clair Huxtable for eight seasons, opened up about some of the criticism that the sitcom received.

“Of course there were [critics]. The Huxtable family, in terms of the parents’ personal and professional development, is not an invention of the ’80s,” Rashad said. “If you know anything about people and anything about history at all, you know that there were always people of color who were educated. There ain’t been a time in this world that that has not been so. People need to get a grip.”

Last year on an episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on OWN,  host Oprah Winfrey discussed the impact “The Cosby Show” had on the election of President Barack Obama.

“We probably wouldn’t have the president in the office that we have right now had there not been the Bill Cosby show because ‘The Cosby Show ‘introduced America to a way of seeing Black people and Black culture that they had not seen before,” Winfrey said.

Rashad is modest about the link between the Huxtables and the Obamas, but says that “The Cosby Show” had a net positive effect on the American psyche.

“I think that is a great compliment to Mr. Cosby, because it was his sensibilities that were at the root of ‘The Cosby Show,’” said the Tony-winning actress. “It was his sensibilities that moved that work in the direction which it went. I always have felt that ‘The Cosby Show’ was without question some of the best [public relations] for the United States of America that has ever existed. [The Cosby Show] allowed people around the world to see that we are all much more alike than we could ever be different.”

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