[Written By// @K1ngEljay]
Sometimes, it’s harder to face the truth than you can imagine.
For me, that moment came to fruition within the last few days as I’ve followed the Bill Cosby case. I’ve been looking at the situation as close as I possibly can manage to without getting sick to my stomach, and it calls to mind a line from Kendrick Lamar’s latest:
“When sh*t hits the fan, you still a fan?”
A bunch of people have hit the timeline to cape for the man, as expected (and that lyric above is referenced more times than not). Whenever a celebrity dies or has an “issue” or a “problem”, it brings out the best, worst, and the best and worst trolls. No person is safe from the wrath of these jokes, and everyone’s liable to get them as the internet fires them off… and normally, I’m the person that’s watching in slight disgust, hoping that I run into a pun or a meme that makes me laugh and forget how jacked up the entire situation happens to be.
I didn’t quite expect the conflict to hit me concerning Bill Cosby at all, but today I was blindsided by a picture of Bill as he’s seemingly in custody, because… Well, I guess that’s the conflict. This is a man that — if allegations ring true — deserves all of the things that’s happening to him, and possibly more. You can’t take advantage of anyone repeatedly, then pay them off to keep them quiet and not expect that to resurface in the most intricate of ways. It was bound to happen, to be honest.
There’s levels to this conflict, though.
The first level has to do with the things he’s done for the culture, more or less. Most people love to reference The Cosby Show, a sitcom reflecting a successful Black family in the 90s when it was somewhat frowned upon to see African-Americans on equal footing as their White American counterparts. In all honestly, it was a revolutionary show for us Black folk; if you think this show would’ve been greenlit by any other company for any other comedian at any other time, then you don’t understand how “things” work in America. The fact that the show was even successful to begin with is majorly driven by the likability of the main character in the show — Cliff Huxtable — who was played by one of the most likable actors in Hollywood at the time: Bill Cosby.
It was a show that became a staple not only in Black homes, but American homes in general. The best comparison I can make to how people gravitated to it (and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but that’s a different story) is how universally accepted Adele is, musically. She’s one of the few artists that transcends her “audience”, but Bill Cosby did that with his show while keeping it Black to the core.
And that’s probably where the foundation of the conflict lies for most. How can someone that aware of culture, someone that aware of the struggle, someone in that high of a position that’s “doing the things the right way” do things that bad? It’s one of the saddest reminders that everyone is human, everyone has vices, and anyone can fall from their positions of status overnight if they don’t truly walk with integrity (ask Ernest Baker and R. Kelly about it).
So seeing this particular tweet caught me off guard.
Bill Cosby’s 78 years old, man. Even with him getting what he (allegedly) deserves, it’s an incredibly sobering sight to see a person you’ve essentially grew up with and respected fall to THIS extent. It’s to the point now that even if he is cleared of his charges, it’ll follow him for the rest of his life, not unlike the Joe Paterno / Penn State allegations (and JoePa just decided to die before that hit the fan; I seriously think the guilt from that situation killed him). Looking into the face of an old man that’s going to be as scrutinized as Cosby will be for his remaining years…and recognizing that he realizes that as well… and being able to pick up on all of that from a candid photo…
…Well, let’s just say that sometimes, it’s harder to face the truth than we can imagine.
(Note: It’s incredibly easy to deteriorate the Cosby case into absolutes, racial arguments, rape culture, and the like. Every other post, however, seems to deteriorate into those aforementioned things. No one’s really talked about it from the angle of sheer disappointment and how complicated it is for some to accept he’s got issues…
Pray for him, but also realize that God’s the one that normally extends grace, not the justice system.
Except if you’re a cop. Then, you’re good.)