From a Lofty Perch: Bill Cosby’s Bird’s Eye View of Black America



Cosby Cos,

How could you?

“Let’s not go into a racial discussion unless we really have something there.”

Hello readers,

These were Bill Cosby’s words concerning the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial.

I must confess, I wasn’t totally surprised-given Bill Cosby’s bird’s eye view of Black America from his lofty perch.

Don’t get me wrong, I have great admiration and respect for Bill Cosby.

I am not calling the man a sellout by any means.

As far as I know, Cos-in addition to Oprah-is one of the largest benefactors of our Historically Black colleges and universities.

Lest we forget, Cos contributed money to Spike Lee to finish his epic Malcolm-X after the studios pulled the plug.

In addition, Cos was also one of the earliest contributors to the Blaxploitation genre.

He gave much needed funding to Melvin Van Peebles to finish his film Sweet Back’s Bad Ass Revenge…..The film that started the rage of Black men taking their revenge on the White Man!!!!!

I also respect Cos because the ’70’s movies he made were family oriented and never depicted African Americans in a derogatory manner.

What gets to me about Cos is his reproachful manner when it comes to African Americans.

I will never forget Cosby’s burning anger after he made his famous pound cake speech at Howard University.

In a sense I could understand his outrage.

I especially understand it in the context of the current climate of Black America.

  • The nightly newscast in Chicago details several murders or injuries of Young African Americans by gun violence at the hands of young gang members.
  • Black mothers are the head of household in the majority of African American homes.
  • African Americans of varying ages make up most of the cases in recent AIDS/HIV diagnosis.

It would appear that the African American community is hell bent on self-destruction.

However, Cosby’s anger is misplaced.

I get his sense of outrage and disappointment because of Black America’s failure to take up the mantle of leadership and gain prosperity after the Civil Rights Movement.

Hey Cos, consider this:

The dismantling of the gains of the Civil Rights Movement-especially during the Reagan era.

Not to mention Bill Clinton’s cleverly cloaked ambivalence towards African American progress.

While I considered Bill Clinton a centrist at best who tried in vain to toe the line straight down the middle, it was his support and passage of the welfare reform act that I found most reprehensible that possibly trapped more African Americans in a hopeless cycle of poverty and despair.

Also consider this Cos…….

The Civil Rights Act helped some African Americans to gain passage into the middle class-however precariously.

I say yeah for those who managed to stay there.

Were they able to pass the wealth on to their offspring?

You know-how they do it in the White community!!!!!

It’s called generational wealth.

If so yeah!!!!

Now consider the vast majority of those who were not able to gain access to the middle class as a result of the Civil Rights Movement.

Especially consider the early 1970’s.

While the laws may have been in place to offer African Americans protection, laws don’t have the power to wipe out discrimination, hatred and fear from people’s hearts.

So my dear Cos, while you have the right to be angry-make sure your anger is directed at the right target.

I am not saying that some African Americans are not at fault.

Consider the generational gap……

African Americans are part of the human family.

Just like white yuppie youths were alienated from their parents, young African Americans are alienated from their parents and ancestors.

I guess if I want to play the blame game on the failure of African Americans it would start with our warriors and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement!!!!

Yes, you heard me right.

Maybe they didn’t know that we would overcome.

But, if they had a vision, then why didn’t they create a roadmap to help those who would come after?

Why don’t you create a roadmap cos?

One last disturbing thought……

What really makes me sad and a little angry is the belief that Zimmerman did not act out of xenophobic racist beliefs.

Consider the death of your own son at the hands of a white racist dog!!!!!

It seems right now Cos you are waging a one man war with Black America.

Can’t wait to see the last man standing.

Until next time…….


Drugs, Demons, & Drags: Flipping Over America’s First Black TV Superstar



Hi Readers,

While I consider myself an avid reader of the Black experience, I particularly love reading African American biographies.

I just finished reading a newly released autobiography about legendary comedian Flip Wilson.

In my tween years, I remember the comic legend for his outlandish Geraldine character.

Remember Geraldine?

“The Devil made me do it”.


Compared to today’s Black comics-Black and White, Flip cut a wholesome figure.

He was safe…….

Especially Geraldine

A la Madea…..

A La Bill Cosby….

But oh readers, if only you knew.

Let’s rip the mask off of Geraldine and reveal the pain and flawed Mr. Wilson-first name Clerow!!!!!!

His seriously “humble” beginnings….

While we Americans love a good Horatio Alger rag to riches tale, Flip’s tale is more like “Hags to Bitches”!!!!!!!!!

Let’s ponder for a moment……

Think of some raw comics who use their life experiences as fodder for their acts.

According to Flip’s biography, his mother abandoned the family.

Flip’s father was left to care for over a dozen children of varying ages with Flip either being the youngest or one of the youngest.

Apparently, his father-chronically unemployed, left the children to fend for themselves.

As a result, young Flip was fanned out to abusive relatives and hellish foster homes.

From being forced to wait to have a meal to severe beatings which left lifelong scars, I am astounded that comedy and the desire for laughter could have manifested itself in little Flip.


In an attempt to escape the slums of his native Jersey City, Flip lied about his age and joined the United States Air Force as a way out.

The one poignant issue that stood out for me in this point in his life is that he was still faithful about sending money to his abusive family and the man he thought was his biological father!!!!!

Flip, who was apparently the darkest of all of his siblings was criticized constantly by his dad for his deep dark complexion.

His older sister revealed in an offhand manner that “pops” was not his father.

Thus explains the interest a family friend took in Flip-his real father!!!!

From a predictable tour of duty marked by the “required” racism he faced (this was in the 1950’s), Flip started to realize his gift and passion for comedy…..

Paying those dues

Bill Cosby…

When we think about the comic giants of the 1970’s Bill Cosby is right in the mix!!!

Cos, it seems was the prototype-the goal every comic worth his weight in ambition and talent tried to emulate.

And believe me, Flip had that ambition baby!!!!

For years, he traveled the chitlin circuit enduring hunger and homelessness.

Heck, he even gave himself a fifteen year plan.

Fifteen years?

I would have probably given up after fifteen months.

Readers, can you seriously see yourself in an unstable career trying to battle it out for fifteen years before deciding to walk away?

Still pressing on after much heartache, the Flipper finally got a chance.

Enter Redd Foxx…

Thanks to perhaps the greatest Black comedian of all times and beyond, Foxx on live television proclaimed Flip as the funniest comedian alive!!!!!!

Right on Time

After Foxx’s endorsement, Flip got his chance to be seen by a national crossover audience.

Thanks to a little luck, business savvy and perseverance, the Flip Wilson show was born.

The Flaws and the Demons

I was mildly surprised but not totally devastated to realize that Flip was human….

He was a mildly neglectful father who involved his young children in helping him to package his drugs.

His kids would all form an assembly line and help dad roll his marijuana!!!!

Quality Time…..

After seeing the writing on the wall due to the volatile nature of the early 1970’s, Flip decided to end the show to spend time with his children.

Daddy Dearest

It would seem that being the product of a broken family, broken community, and broken foster care system, father of the year would have been Flip’s blind ambition.

Maybe in his warped sense of reality he was…..

As his kids grew older, he had a schizophrenic relationship with them which continued towards the end of Flip’s life.

A Tragic Figure

While Flip is one of the few comic legends that I admire and respect, he will always appear as a tragic figure to me.

I am not judging.

I am not blaming Flip.

Imagine walking in Flip’s shoes and enduring the sick racism, and abuse from family and enemies.

It is good that he had the gift of laughter and the endurance and desire to bring it to the masses.

What if he didn’t have the gift or desire?

I hate to think of the alternative.

Bitter Black man?

Turning his rage in on himself, his family, and community?

With these odds, maybe Flip isn’t a tragic figure after all but a replica of endurance and the best of the Black experience.

Hats off to Geraldine.

Eat that Madea!!!!

Until next time…..


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