While many people have discarded actor Bill Cosby following his aggravated assault conviction in 2018, Cedric the Entertainer believes society shouldn’t be so quick to overlook the many contributions from the disgraced comedian.
While talking to TMZ recently, the 56-year-old doubled down on his statements saying that Cosby was once referred to as “America’s Dad.” “Everything he did…the way he contribute, the way he showed love to Black people,” Cedric told reporters. “The way he taught us how to do that for ourselves, the way we all learned to take pride in our culture and our history.” He also deemed Cosby a trailblazer in entertainment and life, and suggested that celebrities like Jay-Z and Tyler Perry had Cosby to thank for their status.
Cedric initially made his case in late February when he uploaded a video series titled “Black History in Comedy” to his Instagram page during which he honored Cosby as a part of Black History Month.
The comedian spoke highly of Cosby and his contributions to the Black community through shows like “A Different World,” which significantly affected the enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In a lengthy caption, Cedric wrote, “#BillCosby Did alot for the culture and the community, The controversy of his current situation is not what these post are about!”
He continued, “He was one of the first Black Men we saw on TV that was truly his own boss. He taught us to know our worth in this business, He showed us how to give back to our communities and institutions, He was/ is Prolific, Funny and Audacious! He ruled on damn near every platform. Thursday nights became must see TV because of him, Film, Stage, Books, Animation, Recordings, all were places he reigned supreme.” The actor concluded his post asking that folks “show the legend some recognition!!!”
Several people agreed with the actor, stating that two things could be true about Cosby and that while people should not forget his heinous crimes, they should also remember the many ways in which he gave back to the Black community. One Instagram user commented underneath a post where Cedric shared the TMZ article, stating, “I agree….. Despite the other side, he is definitely a trailblazer for black culture.” Another person wrote, “I agree. The conviction is not all he is. I will always appreciate the fact the Bill Cosby used philanthropy and entertainment to uplift our people and encouraged our success.”
Still, others argued that some, more specifically, victims of assault, might find it hard to separate the man from his art. One critic wrote, “It’s hard to respect the good he did when while he was doing it, he was also drugging & raping women for decades.” That person added, “He definitely used his reputation and clean cut image to silence those women and hide the fact that he was still doing it to many more.”
On Wednesday, March 3, Cosby responded to the “Barbershop” star’s remarks on Twitter, stating, “I plan to do more, too.” He added, “Thank you very much for feeling, knowing & keeping the legacy alive through your great work. Thank You, Thank You & Thank You. #cedrictheentertainer.”
As previously reported, the 82-year-old is currently serving a three-to-10-year sentence at SCI-Phoenix in suburban Philadelphia after being convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April 2018. Aside from former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, nearly 60 women came forward stating that they were also victims of sexual misconduct involving Cosby.