Cosby vs. Cliff: Ebony Magazine Shattered Cosby Family Cover Causes Uproar , Editor In Chief Responds!

COSBY Cover v4 copy.indd

‘ We Didn’t Create The Fracture, The Fracture Existed ‘ 

Ebony magazine latest cover features a shattered image of America’s most renowned black family – The Huxtable’s, and it has stirred the controversial pot once again as people on both sides of the coin weigh heavily on their support and disapproval of the cover.

The article [enclosed] discusses the controversy surrounding Bill Cosby’s public scandal, and the current state of  ‘his soon to be tarnished’ legacy in African-American history . Reruns of the show has been canceled in light of the sexual assault allegations against Cosby.

While the controversial cover aims for a deeper conversation about ‘blind eye’ issues within black families; many people are perplexed and feel that Cosby’s judgement should fall solely within the parameters of his individual legacy separate and apart from the legacy of a ‘great show’ .

Sure, we’ve had African-American representation on television like ‘Sanford & Son’ [1972 – 1977] ,  ‘Good Times’ [1974 – 1979] , ‘The Jeffersons’ [1975-1985] , ‘What’s Happening’ [1976 – 1979] , ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ [ 1978-1985]. However,  The Huxtable family represented the epitome of the so called ‘uppity do good negroes’ who rose above above the poverty line of their ‘lower class’ peers, and it spear-headed a movement for predominantly african-american family casts to be showcased in television sitcoms to follow.

Shows like  ‘A Different World’, [1987 – 1993]  ‘Family Matters’ [1989 – 1998] , ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ [1990 -1996], ‘Hanging With Mr. Cooper’ [1992 -1997] ,  ‘Sister, Sister’ [1994 – 1999] ‘Moesha’ [1996 – 2001] ‘My Wife & Kids’ [2001-2005] , and  ‘The Bernie Mac Show’ [2001-2006] carried the Huxtable family tradition with positive representation of black families and black pride while obscuring issues that were also plaguing black families and the culture at large.

Make no mistake,  Malcolm Jamal Warner  disapproval statements about the controversial cover speaks to a much bigger issue than the latest Ebony cover. The notion that Bill Cosby’s legacy has been stamped in the shame hall of fame appears to be more of a reality but where do we draw the line between Cosby vs. Cliff.

In his recent interview with The View  last week he says:

” When we’ve had images that perpetuate the negative stereotype of people with color, we’ve always had ‘The Cosby Show’ to hold up against that and the fact that we no longer have that, kind of leaves us in a bad place. “

As for the recent cover of Ebony magazine,  Malcolm shared similar sentiment of his fellow Cosby co-star Keyshia Knight Pulliam who said: 

” The legacy of the show cannot be taken away because of all the good that the show has done; it cannot be taken away. The generation of people of color who have chosen to go to college because they watched this show and shows like ‘A Different World’.

Ebony’s Editor In Chief, Kierna Mayo   responded to the controversy on the Wendy Williams show today and had this to say: 

” I understand that, there is also a whole bunch of accolades to this cover, It’s a dividing issue, and we decided that we had to take this conversation to the public stage. It’s something that black people have been talking about for a long time……

We’ve been talking about Bill Cosby, we’ve talking about the impact of the Cosby show, we’ve been talking about how this affects black families, the dynamic, and the depiction of black families. It’s a larger conversation. Also Ebony is in the tradition in creating conversation. “

Some People Are Maaaaaad, Some People Are Glaaaaaaad, I Love Us – Tweets Mayo. 

” Ebony is 70 years old, and this is hardly the first controversial topic that we’ve taken on….. Ebony is not the reason why were having this conversation – ‘We Have To Get Real‘.  “


On Black Respectability and Differentiating Bill Cosby vs. The Huxtable Legacy She Says: 

” It’s a sensitive thing for us. In 1984 when this show came about,  we were coming off of the crack 80’s , and it was important to show black life in this respect.

We needed to see this construct. We needed to understand that upper black families really do exist, we live in brownstones, and our kids to go to college. But, since that time,’black respectability’ showed this idea that if we button up right, all of sudden racism goes away – and it just isn’t real. I just think that we need to begin to confront some of the things that are the truth of our lives here as black people in this country.

I think all people have problems showing their ‘darker sides’ [no pun intended] but the concern for black people is that we always feel like we’re under the lens of others and we want to make sure that no one is seeing us outside of the way we wished to be seen, and I think this why there is all the controversy and the push back, and quite frankly this is why we’re asking the question, we’re not making a statement.  “

‘ We Didn’t Create The Fracture, The Fracture Existed ‘ 

Head over to –  EBONY for a brief excerpt read and be sure to purchase the full read on newstands this week.

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