EXCLUSIVE: Bill Cosby Finally Breaks His Silence in a two-part exclusive interview
It’s been more than two years since Bill Cosby has spoken out publicly.
The legendary comedian has patiently awaited trial in Pennsylvania, while seeing those who defend him face libel lawsuits – many of which have been tossed out of court.
His spokesman, Andrew Wyatt of the Purpose PR Firm in Birmingham, Ala., said his star client has decided it’s time to talk.
Together, Wyatt and Cosby said they grew comfortable that the NNPA would be more interested in “facts over sensationalism.”
Persistence by the Black Press – NNPA reporters had repeatedly requested interviews – also proved a factor in Cosby’s decision to speak out in a two-part exclusive interview, Wyatt said.
While the superstar declined to address his legal case, his youngest daughter, Evin did.
In a statement, which can be read in its entirety on BlackPressUSA.com, Evin, 40, proclaimed her father’s innocence.
“The harsh and hurtful accusations … that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us,” Evin said.
Perhaps, the closest Cosby came to addressing the allegations was his response to questions about his love of the arts.
His supporters have argued that Cosby’s the victim of propaganda and many have had their views skewed because they haven’t taken time to do research.
“The history about African Americans is a history of the United States; but the true histories, not the propaganda that is standard in our nation’s history books,” Cosby said.
“The great writer, James Baldwin, said, ‘If you lie about me, then you lie about yourself.’ The revolution is in the home. There is something about someone saying, ‘I didn’t know that,’ that could cause a change in that person’s thinking,” he said.
The legend did shed insight on his life and a career that he’s eager to resume.
Stunningly, Cosby revealed that, at 79, he’s blind.
“Due to my eyesight … a total lack of vision,” he said.
Waking one morning about two years ago, he nervously called out to Camille, his wife of more than 50 years, “I can’t see.”
His Doctors confirmed that he’s blind.
“When he would perform, we’d draw a wide straight yellow line from backstage to the chair on the stage and he’d rehearse the walk hours before the show,” said Wyatt, whose worked for years with Cosby.
Otherwise, Cosby insisted he’s well.
“I’m fine,” he said.
Few have achieved the legendary status enjoyed by Cosby.
His career has spanned more than six decades and includes a host of best-selling comedy albums, gold and platinum records, five Grammy Awards and even best-selling books.
With his role in “I-Spy” in the 1960s, Cosby became the first African American co-star in a dramatic series, breaking TV’s color barrier and winning three Emmy Awards.
After starring opposite Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier in the 1970s trilogies, “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Let’s Do It Again,” and “A Piece of the Action,” Cosby star soared even higher in the 1980s when he single-handedly revived the family sitcom and, some argue, saved NBC with “The Cosby Show.”
“Bill Cosby and crew should be allowed to have their careers intact,” said Devin T. Robinson X, an actor and renowned poet who’s been featured on MTV, NBC, CBS and BET.
“He represents the finest example of guilty in the court of public opinion, yet Bill O’Reilly’s image isn’t tarnished. Punishing people before they’re convicted in court only seems accurate when it serves a media narrative that doesn’t hurt a specific demographic,” Robinson said.
Cosby said he thinks about his illustrious career that, at least for now, has been placed on hold because of the court case.
“Darn right,” he said, when asked if he missed performing.
“I miss it all and I hope that day will come. I have some routines and storytelling that I am working on. I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career,” Cosby said.
He finds laughter “in the same house where the revolution is,” he said – a nod to his mother’s home where he learned the importance of a good education.
“My mother was a domestic employee and she fixed breakfast for us and lunch and then she went off to work. She made $8 a day, I believe. When she came home, she cooked us dinner,” Cosby said.
“As soon as Camille and I had a home and hired someone to help us to do the cleaning, and other things, we made sure of two things that were very important to us.”
“We always paid a generous salary to people working in our home, and whether male or female, they would be addressed by us and our children, not as Annie, or Barbara or whatever, but as Mr., Miss or Mrs. – all of them in that manner. That there is respect,” Cosby said.
It’s all part of a legacy that many said shouldn’t be destroyed by allegations.
“If the President of the United States can go on working in the White House after he has confessed to and bragged about doing gross sexually explicit and abusive things to women without their permission, justice requires that Bill Cosby should not be punished unless he is convicted of crimes,” said Dr. E. Faye Williams, president and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
“He has been charged, but not convicted, and the charges came only after his expressed interest in purchasing a network that somebody obviously didn’t want him to have,” Williams said.
The “absolute murder of Bill Cosby’s legacy, his accomplishments, and what, 60 great years of entertainment? That’s what’s happened over the past couple of years,” said Tanisha Jones, 28, a fashion designer who works in New York.
“I’m a woman who feels for any woman who has been raped, assaulted or demeaned in any way. But, realistically, we have seen no evidence that any of this is true… yet we elect a president who campaigns on and is elected on grabbing women by their private parts,” Jones said.
Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, have given untold millions of dollars to colleges and universities over the years, and promoting education for African Americans has been as much a hallmark as any during Cosby’s legendary career.
Since 2014, when dozens of women accused him of misconduct, colleges and universities have severed their relationship with the star, who along with his wife, have given untold millions of dollars.
Schools like Spelman, where in the 1980s the Cosbys donated $20 million to fund a professorship; and schools like Franklin and Marshall, Goucher College and Tufts University rescinded honorary degrees given to Cosby.
He also voluntarily stepped down from his seat on the board of trustees at Temple University.
In his exclusive interview with the Black Press, Cosby reiterated why education has remained an important part of his life’s mission.
“Since 1965, we have paid for the education of thousands of students; mostly low income African American students … and never asked for any repayments from them… so they were not in debt after their graduations,” Cosby said. “Keep in mind that Mrs. Cosby and I aren’t a huge conglomerate; we just wanted to help people to get an education,” he said.
When he entered Temple University as a freshman, Cosby’s low SAT scores placed him in remedial English, he said.
“In the beginning of my new life, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. After reading the books assigned to me, I noticed that what was missing were my experiences and I felt in my heart and mind that I needed to put to paper my personal experiences,” Cosby said.
“Hence my first piece from the assignment, ‘Write About the First Time You Ever Did Something,’” he said.
Cosby sat at his mother’s dining room table.
“We ate in the kitchen. But the dining room is where I put my books, pencils and the pencil sharpener was on the wall,” he said.
“It was allowed to be drilled into the wall in my mother’s $5,000 house, because I was in college. I rejected the subject of all my other firsts – first touchdown, first kiss, first whipping – and I began to write about the first time I pulled my own tooth,” Cosby said.
While at school one day, a professor entered the classroom where Whites made up 97 percent of the class, and announced, “I want you all to hear this because this is the kind of thing I am looking for.”
Cosby sat there, he said, as the professor began to read aloud Cosby’s paper.
“I got an A-plus,” he said.
“So, with that success, I remember feeling like I was doing something that I enjoyed, something I saw, something I felt, not about being called a name or being segregated or having some negative play on my color,” Cosby said.
The next paper, he said, was called “Procrastination” or “The Search for The Perfect Point on My Pencil.”
The paper chronicled how Cosby didn’t want to get started on the piece, but how he used the pencil sharpener with the No. 2 pencil that had a rose-colored eraser on the end.
He kept sharpening the pencil because he wanted a perfect point.
So, Cosby wrote about it.
The paper again was read aloud, helping Cosby to understand that he could accomplish great things even without encouragement.
“Regarding Black America … we were very seldom acknowledged for doing things that are identifiable as commonalities amongst all races, cultures and religions … and humanity, worldwide,” Cosby said.
“There are millions of success stories and all of them speak to the parents or guardians and their love and what they want for their children. Many parents or guardians have the ability to teach their children and guide them towards education,” he said.
“When a child cannot understand something and a parent or guardian sits to help that child, the child will move from disliking learning to having a love for learning,” Cosby continued.
While the Trump administration appears indifferent – or even opposed – to the new Every Student Succeeds Act, Cosby remains adamant that ESSA, and other education laws designed to assist all students, remains important.
“I never did like the ‘No Child Left Behind’ law because people used it to move those children who were behind, forward but the child’s mind was still left behind,” he said.
“Once people realize that this is done on purpose, as things are, they realize that it’s is up to them to be steadfast and make sure that their child is being educated,” Cosby said.
Finally, in recalling schools in his hometown of Philadelphia, Cosby noted that those who constructed those buildings must have believed in the importance of education.
However, an uncaring and unfair educational system has gone against what those builders intended, he said.
“I remember how sad many of my neighborhood friends were; how sad that their high schools were shut down so that only one-fifth of the schools were being used; because the neighborhoods around them were subjected to a system that was intentionally and confusingly complex; thus, effectively discouraging the children from learning,” Cosby said.
“Moreover, the system was disrespectful and condescending to the parents and/or guardians; particularly in low income communities, regardless of race or ethnicity,” he said.