Bill Cosby’s Back, Still Breaking Barriers at 76

Bill CosbyBill Cosby is a bad man and he is back still breaking barriers at 76-years young. Like Cosby fans, NBC knows Bill’s a Bad Azz, too. Cliff Huxtable worked as Cosby’s character because of what he represented as a father and husband. He was a hard-working, kind and compassionate male figure. He was cool to kick it with and managed to spend equal amounts of time with his wife, children, and his parents. He could throw down in the kitchen, and was not so full of machismo that he could not run a vacuum cleaner. He honored his wife and disciplined his kids with love. On top of that, he maintained a thriving medical practice. It was these traits that made The Cosby Show a top runner in ratings for eight years.

For African-Americans, his character represented a higher standard. It was not just about the brownstone or the fact that there always seemed to have money available not only for necessities, but for fun things, too. It had more to do with love and quality family time. Cliff Huxtable made it happen. Using humor, he imparted life lessons with a consistent message, “You will succeed.” For those reasons and more, America, loved Cliff Huxtable.

Can Bill pull it off again at 76, and bring a 21st century focus to African-American life as the patriarch of a home housing different generations? Probably so. His legacy is strong enough as an actor and as someone who values education and hard work.

These are the characteristics that needed in today’s society. The script particulars are not yet known, but Cosby is. His off screen activism calls for parents to handle the business of parenting with diligence and tenacity. His advice to youth is to pull your pants up, put a belt through the loops, stand strong and make your mark in the world. His moniker, “Don’t put a $10 hat on a $2 brain” is “real talk” for kids living in a material world, where expensive gear matters more than education and the desire to excel.

Whether one agrees with his politics or not, (many do not) they find his criticism of black youth unnerving and equivalence to “airing dirty laundry.” Never the less, the man has earned the respect to play an elder role on television. He is a case in-point of art imitating life. Bill Cosby is breaking barriers at 76.

For half a century, Cosby has followed his dreams while breaking ground, for the next generation(s). He has helped others by modeling success in the arts through his work in comedy and acting. He has given agency to generations by encouraging them to plan for and reach goals.

Yes, Cosby is the perfect actor for a multi-generational household. If producers are smart, they will make sure and include younger actors that he relates to. On The Cosby Show, he and step-granddaughter Oliva played by a young and rambunctious (Raven Symone), got it in. They talked about everything he did not dumb down the conversation the way some adults do when speaking to children. They enjoyed a loving relationship even sneaking in ice-cream while covering life issues. Beautiful stuff.

President of the Gay and Lesbian Critics Association John Griffiths, says,“the elder population is not well represented on television.” Adding, that Cosby will very likely play a granddad on the show.

People can pick their favorite Cosby roles from the big screen to the smaller world of television. African- Americans will always hold a warm spot for the man who brought humor and a black man, black folk could relate to, on various sized screens. From his television start on, “I Spy” in 1965, to movie roles in the 1970s with legends Sidney Portier and Harry Belafonte. Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do it Again, and a Piece of the Action are Black Classics. Adults who spent Saturday mornings glued to Hey, Hey, Hey, it’s Fat Albert can watch reruns of a newer version with the same messages that work on the animated Little Bill, with their grandchildren. The list of movies did not stop with what he did with Sidney Portier and Harry Belafonte either.

A working actor his credits date back to the mid-60s. Bill Cosby is back, still breaking barriers at 76. He has been in the business of taking care of business, since the Civil Rights Movement. He is Bad Azz Bill Cosby, and he can’t lose. Families will watch his new show.

By C. Imani Williams



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