I Just Saw The November Cover Of EBONY Magazine, And…Well…Holy Shit » VSB

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I Just Saw The November Cover Of EBONY Magazine, And…Well…Holy Shit

Ebony via Damon Young

 

It was October of 2011. I was in New York City do to a shoot for a story in Essence Magazine. While walking to Essence, I happened to randomly bump into Jamilah Lemieux in the street. Which, considering that New York City has 21 billion people and I happened to literally walk right into one of the 16 people there I personally knew, was crazy. And then she proceeded to tell me that she had just left a EBONY Magazine meeting where VerySmartBrothas was being discussed. Apparently, we were up for some type of honor. She also asked me to call her later that evening when I was done with Essence. 

I did, and learned that the honor was a spot in EBONY’s 2011 Power 100 issue. I also learned that EBONY was going to experience a huge digital revamp, Jamilah was (obviously) a part of it, and she asked if I wanted to be a part of it too. Fast forward to January of 2012, and I’m working for EBONY too.

Since then, my role with EBONY has evolved. I started off as all digital, and now I’m doing digital and print work. I’ve also gained invaluable experience working with and learning from the EBONY staff; Cory Townes, Aaron Rhodan, Melanie Martin, Kyra Kyles, and Aliya King to name a few, and Jamilah, Genese Cage, and Kierna Mayo in particular. I have no doubt that VSB would not be where it is today without what I’ve learned and experienced through EBONY. 

All that to say that my feelings about this brilliant-ass, outrageous-ass, and explosive-ass November cover are not coming from a place of objectivity. I have an emotional and spiritual (and, to be frank, financial) tie to the people working there. And to the magazine. So take what I’m about to say with several dozen grains of salt.

But holy fucking shit. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to read a magazine, and more honored to be a part of something. Which is still surreal to me. This issue of EBONY Magazine — with that amazing fucking cover — will be iconic. I know what it means to have that cover sent out to Black America. And I know people will buy it. Hate it. Collect it. Spit on it. Share it. Save it. And I have a column in there! How crazy is that?

I just…I just could not be prouder of Kierna and Jamilah and everyone else who’s a part of this issue for being a part of this issue. And more appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of it too.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Ashley M

    I am excited to read the article. But I don’t want the show’s legacy to be discredited because of its creator.

    • I understand that point well. It’s going to take years, and perhaps Bill Cosby’s death, to disentangle the show from its creator.

      • Epsilonicus

        That entanglement was intentionally done.

        • Cleojonz

          It was, and it’s also what most comedians do – borrow from their own life stories for material. Cosby isn’t the only one to do this but his methods made a more complete outcome.

    • Guest

      It’s just TV. Whoever came up with the cover is exploiting the fact that many Black people live in a fantasy world where Cosby show, Beyonce and Jay Z and Scandal is every black persons guiding light. It’s pretend. It’s just a play. It’s not real. If you’re hurt by what these actors do in their off time then you weren’t raised well because it’s just make believe. There’s hundreds of people behind the makings of these shows, he wasn’t even the person writing the material. They are all just lumps of entertainment clay. Detach yourself from fantasy and come back to reality.

      • Peaches

        No, it’s not just tv. Media has far reaching effects than just entertainment. The images we see on a daily basis become engrained in our psyche whether we want to admit it or not.

        The Cosby Show showed America the Black middle class experience. It showed us as just as normal as any other family and that all Black people weren’t just scratching and surviving to get by like James n Florida. For many, this wasn’t fantasy but their reality personified. And for young Peaches growing up in the projects, it definitely exposed me to some things and showed me there was another side to the Black experience that I had no clue even existed.

        • TeeChantel

          Totally agree. This comment should have all the upvotes.

  • Madame Zenobia

    I cannot wait to read this issue and renew my years since lapsed subscription to Ebony. Good on them. *We* needed it addressed and I totally trust them to do it and do it well.

  • De_Ann

    Ebony should be ashamed of themselves. This cover just maximizes every single insecurity and shows the level of self-hatred that we have as a community. This photo states that we don’t value the black family and that any future ideas of it should be shattered. It’s bad enough that white people don’t want to see us united but it’s even worse when we do it to ourselves. I know my opinion will be in the minority here and I’m fine with that because I see through the propaganda.

    • Wild Cougar

      No reason to care what white people think. None. At. All. The Huxtables are not the “black family”. It’s 2015. Build a bridge and get over it.

      • De_Ann

        You are absolutely right, the black family is even worse in 2015. We no longer have positive black shows like the Cosby Show on television. We just like ratchet television (Love & Hip Hop) with no substance (Empire) that promotes negative stereotypes on black lives. We would die to protect shows like Empire that only exploit us but will throw the legacy of the Cosby Show away in a heartbeat.

        Sidenote: I don’t even like the Cosby show like that but I at least understand it’s importance.

        • Lakyn

          I fail to see how that’s OUR fault.

          Besides, we have Black-ish.

          • De_Ann

            It’s OUR fault because we continue to watch bad representations of ourselves. And Black-ish is a good show that nobody talks about even remotely on the same level as negative television.

            • Lea Thrace

              If you are looking to television (or entertainment) for representation and role models and not your own community, then that speaks to something else entirely that is broken.

              • WAKE UP COALITION

                You hit the nail on the head.. there is a much deeper issue here. Our community is broken because we DO rely on TV and so called black entertainment and media to define the black reality. To prove my point, if you take a look at Ebony’s website, upon releasing this new issue, they say that by subscribing to their magazine, we “connecting to black america”. What so many people fail to understand is that in this day in age for most black people, our only participation in the black community is consumption of so called “black entertainment” whether that be a TV show or listening to a famous black artist. Case in point, How do you explain suburban black children from two parent homes, that leave the house believing they are “hood” when there physical surroundings do not emulate those conditions. This is a result of their “participation in what mainstream america” defines as so called the black experience, furthermore, because mom and dad are caught up with attaining the american dream, they allow there kids to be raised by TV and Music (and now we could argue to say Youtube) and thus we are face with kids that are only acting out what they have been taught through these mediums. That being the case, we have to realize that due to the fact that we as black people are not working together to raise our children, but allowing television to raise them, that the media has very pronounced effects on OUR children. Until we can get our act together and start raising up our children, we should not have black owned media sources only adding to the negative imagery that the mainstream puts out on the daily.

                • Wild Cougar

                  Our community is not broken and “we” do not rely on TV to define the Black family. I don’t know who you are talking about, maybe yourself and your family, but this is not about “US”. Don’t define us as a pathology, you’re being the spokesperson for white racism.

                  • De_Ann

                    Can you please explain how him defending the black family image is him “being the spokesperson for white racism?”

                    • Wild Cougar

                      When you say the black family is broken you are repeating a racist myth. The black family is not broken. We are not a pathological people. We are humans who behave like humans and our humanity is not damaged by the members of our tribe who have challenges and issues. We are not any more “broken” than any other people.

                    • Vanity in Peril

                      Yep

                  • WAKE UP COALITION

                    This is for anyone who thinks that there is no problem in the black community and it doesn’t matter that there was a picture of a black family on the ebony cover..

                    Wild Cougar.. please… fam listen. Firstly.. let it be made very clear that I am the furtherest thing from a “spokesperson for white racism” that you can get. I want nothing more to see our community thrive. However, if we are completely objective and we take a look at statics our community is hurting. In order to understand any community’s well-being there are several metrics which we can use to gauge how we are doing:
                    1. Poverty Rate 2000 24% 2013 27%
                    2. Unemployment ( along with Job participation rate) 2000 8.1% 2013 11.4%
                    3. Family Stability (% of children in poverty or in precarious situations, percentage of two parent homes etc.) Children in poverty 2000 14% 2013 18.6%
                    4. Wealth Accumulation (Average Median Income) 2000 $44,000 2013 $33,321
                    5. Educational Attainment (High School Drop Out, Achievement Gap Higher Education) Stagnant page 14-16 (https://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICBWGAP.pdf)

                    6. Health and Wellness (% of Obesity and Infectious diseases, Infant Mortality Rate) Obesity 39.4% 2000 48% 2012

                    If we take a look at ACS (American Community Survey) a service provided by the USA census, as well as The State of Working America a product of the economic policy institute (control for inflation) and take a look at all of these metrics we are progressively performing at levels worse than we did at the start of the 2000s. As opposed to reducing levels of unemployment, # of children in poverty, our average median income, we have either stagnated or gotten worse. Furthermore, when we take a look at social mobility within our community. The ability to move from poor to rich within ones life time “62.9% of families that are within the bottom fourth of the american population” will not move out of there state of poverty. Now given the fact the poverty rate for black people is increasing and if we add the next layer that the poverty rates for single mothers is generally much higher than 2 parent homes (47.2% vs 33.5%) oh and by the way 72% of black children are being born outside a two parent home context.. what type of precedent is being set? Let me break it down. If more black people are becoming poor, more black people are being raised in single family homes, and if there is over a 60% chance that they will stay poor, that just means that within a generation we are going to have even higher numbers poverty and that we swiftly becoming the powerless underclass which we were during times of slavery. If I were to look at this through the lens of my own life, I could just sit back and say life is good. My personal life, family, and friends don’t reflect those statistics. But when I see numbers like that and go out into the communities that are not my own.. it becomes evident. How does this relate to the whole bill cosby thing? If it has been well established that one of the keys to making it in this country is a strong family unit, then we as black people need to promote imagery and messaging that fall in line with strengthening our families. Cosby’s personal fallacies have nothing to do with promoting the black family unit. What this cover should have shown is Cosby himself and the issue should have covered raising awareness about sexual violence which is another issue within our community as well. Therefore, I take offense when they denigrate one of the few public examples of black family in order to make more money for their corporation. We got to get back to looking after what’s good for the black community rather than what’s good for my back account..

                    SN: who even said anything about white people in my discussion? I could not care less what they think or what they do. That’s part of our problem that we are mentioning them when this is a discussion about black folks and black issues. But I digress

                    Sources:
                    http://blackdemographics.com/households/poverty/
                    http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/fact-sheets/african-americans/
                    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/14/black-child-poverty-rate-holds-steady-even-as-other-groups-see-declines/
                    http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=children-in-poverty
                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/median-income-falls-inequality_n_3941514.html
                    http://stateofobesity.org/disparities/

                    • QueLoQue

                      All those things are the results of centuries of racism homie. Every single one of those issues can be traced back to poverty and housing discrimination. You seem to think that we are failing because of a lack of role models, examples, etc. when the reality is we’re failing because the opportunities just aren’t there for most of us.

                    • WAKE UP COALITION

                      But here’s the thing man.. the media shapes consciousness, and our consciousness shapes reality. If continually we are bombarded by these negative images don’t you think that our negative consciousness result in a more negative reality? Therefore, lets feed into promoting positive consciousness and building a positive reality. Let white folks sow into that negativity, but lets not do it to ourselves.

                    • QueLoQue

                      Our negative situation results in a negative reality. What is consciousness worth if it doesn’t translate into anything tangible? Only difference is I know exactly how the system is rigged and how high the deck is stacked against me. If you’re allowed opportunities to build a life you want to live, go where you wanna go etc., that’s way bigger because the media can’t tell you about yourself.

                    • Wild Cougar

                      SOME of our community is hurting and the fault lies a large part with racism and an economy that relies on oppression of the lower classes. Much of our community is not in that position. Much of the white (and every other race) is hurting. That is how humanity works. It has nothing to do with the race of the people in poverty.

                    • WAKE UP COALITION

                      but here is the thing.. MORE and MORE of our people WILL be affected by that and usually at at rates 10x higher than other groups. I’d give it to you if all people were affected the same way black people are, but that’s not the case.. so it is about race. Furthermore the data shows, those statistics are stating are only getting worse. So yeah you and I are not in that situation.. however, that’s not to say our kids could be the same or our kids kids.. Therefore, Black owned media companies should not be promoting that type of negativity

                    • Wild Cougar

                      1. More and more people will be affected? Based on what evidence? What is the premise of this statement? Blackness causes disfunction? How does that happen. Is our melanin defective?
                      2. Why would my children or grandchildren live in poverty if I am not in poverty? That defies logic. Again, what is your evidence? Your premise must be that melanin somehow causes poverty and disfunction.
                      3. Black owned media, like white owned media has always shown imperfect images, and yet, I and many like me are able to live productive lives. Did we get a rare strain of non defective melanin?
                      Try using some logic, ok? Nothing you are listing is caused by, or exacerbated by race.

                    • WAKE UP COALITION

                      Please read my 1st full comment again with the links and sources

                    • Wild Cougar

                      I don’t need to read the links and sources. Your links do not show a connection between race and disfunction and the implication that there is a connection is racist.

                    • WAKE UP COALITION

                      you just asked me where are my sources… and the links deal with race.. and I broke down how it works together.. really.. its pretty clear

                    • Wild Cougar

                      You don’t get it. You never will. Race is a social construct. Start from that fact and work from there. Don’t give me a bunch of correlations and try to imply causation. A list of articles does not evidence make. If you don’t understand these few statements then we have nothing more to discuss.

                    • WAKE UP COALITION

                      Here’s a spaksnote version:

                      1. Due to statistical evidence as collected by US Census, Economic Policy Institute, and a host of other departments that I pulled my data from. Black Americans are worse off today then they were in previous years and are progressively getting worse. Largely its a result of structural racism and the white supremacist society that we live in. I’m not saying Blacks are inherently dysfunctional. I am saying that there are a number of issues that disproportionately affect our community and we need to address.

                      2. Simply because its statistics.. more and more of our communities are black sliding at higher rates than moving forward. I’ve listed sources look at them.

                      3. Doesn’t make sense. The underlying premise of my argument is black media should not destroy imagery that promotes family unit which I already established above one of the keys to economic prosperity in the USA

                      I think our disconnect is the following. I’m a collectivist.. my belief that we are only as strong as the weakest link in our community chain. If one of us is failing all of us fail. And right now a lot of the black fam is failing

                      I think your looking at this from an individualist perspective. Step out of your own shoes for a sec and look at this as a community wide issue rather than a personal issue.

          • Asiyah

            Especially when television as a whole has moved from family-oriented programs to ratchet TV. And that was started by the White execs. The first season of “The Real World” was exactly what it set out to be: a show bringing 7 strangers to live together and face life. It eventually became a drama fest by like the 6th season, more concerned with beef than with learning experiences. Now you have Telemundo, Univision, and channels in the Middle East producing vapid “reality” shows just to keep up with this trend. This is not endemic to the Black community. This is a global phenomenon.

        • Jaris Cole

          Black families (e.g. mom, dad, son/daughter, etc.) should not be watching either show you mentioned: “Love and Hip Hop” and “Empire.” Neither show is meant for children or pre-teens or even teenagers.

        • How is Empire exploiting us? So every show on television has to portray black people in this unrealistic light of “the positive black family with the hard working patriarch and the loving matriarch with 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a house?” It’s a show meant to entertain. Not layout a road map for a life you or anyone else has failed to grow up in or emulate to a letter.

    • Janelle Doe

      Why do you call it propaganda? Is it possible that this cover demonstrates that we are able to have a conversation where it is not “us” versus non-Black people and we can talk about the issues without it being a blemish on our whole community? And if that were the case, why do you see it as self-hatred?

      • De_Ann

        Cosby is dead wrong, I’m not saying that he’s not. However, Ebony takes it to another level and feels the need to include the Cosby Show, one of the few shows that promoted black family/unity/love and actively destroys it. Bill Cosby himself should’ve been on the cover because he is a separate entity who should be held accountable for his crimes.

        It’s not about the show but the image it represents and images are powerful. Images shape reality. If we perceive that the black family is nothing but broken on a black magazine like Ebony then we are the promoting the propaganda that blackness only equates to negativity. November’s issue will sell well because we are bashing one another. Those are just my 2 cents.

        • Janelle Doe

          Thanks for answering my questions

        • Lakyn

          The fact that White America’s only positive image of a Black family is the Cosbys is not our fault.

          • LMNOP

            The Cosbys are far from white Americas only public positive image of black families.

            I mean there’s the real life picture perfect Black family living in the White House in 2015 that every single person in this country knows about.

            But let’s just pretend that the real problem with white peoples image of black people is the tainted legacy of a TV show from the 80s and not, you know, RACISM.

      • Ferguson LP

        It is propaganda because the cover uses a horrendous situation and monster to hopefully raise sales.
        Let me be clear, I LOATHE rapists and pedophiles so I hope to see him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, it’s time for people to stop capitalizing off this.

    • fxd8424

      Where exactly does the photo state that we don’t value
      the black family? The Cosby Show was
      just that. A fictional show into a slice
      of life as lived by some blacks. And
      when, if ever, will we stop looking at our collective selves through “white
      eyes” and what they do or don’t see?

      • LMNOP

        God knows “white eyes” and the “white viewpoint” is not something to aspire to. White eyes don’t need to be catered to, they need to be changed.

      • De_Ann

        The imagery itself represents how the mainstream sees black families; as broken. Ebony feels the need to capitalize on that and will easily make a profit. In regards to what I said about white people dividing us, I meant that we use the same tactics on ourselves.

        • Guest

          These people aren’t related and I’ll bet most of the people who wrote their lines only did what they had to do for ratings.

    • LMNOP

      No. Losing respect for a prominent person who turns out to have raped is not remotely indicative of self-hatred.

      • De_Ann

        I agree, that’s why Bill Cosby himself should’ve been on the cover.

        • Lakyn

          You realize the family on the cover isn’t a real one, though, right? Like, it’s not the Obamas. It’s a fictional family that represents something.

          • TeeChantel

            I dig it But I feel like we need to give them more credit. They’re a fictional family but everybody and their momma tried to be like the Huxtables.

        • LMNOP

          You know, I really disagree strongly with pretty much everything you’re saying, but I respect your tenacity.

          • Guest

            I’m not certain I agree or understand the word tenacity. This being a public forum, shouldn’t a person exercise their voice without conformity? She shouldn’t have to defend her thoughts and ideas. Healthy banter then moving on.

            • LMNOP

              I just looked it up and it means basically what I thought, relentless persistence. Not saying I like it in this context, just that I acknowledge she has it and hope she uses it towards more productive ends in other areas of her life.

              • WAKE UP COALITION

                What is more productive then advancing selflove and calling out self hate within the black community? I think she was spot on

    • Ferguson LP

      I agree with you. I thought the cover overly dramatic and reading this article and comments, it’s apparent that this is the affect Ebony wanted. Essentially, you have a flagging magazine using the face of a rapist to evoke strong emotions that will cause, or hope to cause, an increase readership. At the same time continuing to give life to a rapist. Got it.
      I mean seriously, people (famous or not) are convicted of rape everyday, but somehow hypocritical-ass Cosby has taken the spotlight. As De_Ann said, continuing to drag this man does nothing for the victims (the ones we should be focused on), the Black community, or anyone else.

      • LMNOP

        Honestly I think taking a hard stand against sexual violence and those who commit it has a positive impact on society, victims, potential rapists, magazine revenues, and maybe even the Black community.

        It is definitely bad for Bill Cosby though. But knowing the long-term implications of being victimized that way, I got to say I am unmoved by cosby’s plight.

      • De_Ann

        My problem was dragging his entire legacy. The focus should be on Cosby himself not the Cosby Show.

        • LMNOP

          My interpretation of the picture was that it shows how Cosby’s implosion hurt not only himself but kind of rippled out to the whole “family,” who are affected despite being the innocent victims.

          And it makes me think of how that same dynamic plays out in real families, with one person’s actions hurting each family member in their own way. Especially with chexual violence, since the victims and perpetrators are so often part of the same family.

          • Asiyah

            Exactly how I saw it.

    • Cleojonz

      How exactly is it self hatred to acknowledge when an icon has committed terrible acts? So we are supposed to ignore the truth in order to preserve certain false images in the guise of uplifting a community?

    • How could you or anyone have a perspective on the issue if you’ve never even read it?

      • De_Ann

        I am referring to the cover, not the article.

  • Wild Cougar

    I had no idea that people still thought Bill Cosby was worth the dog poo on the bottom of a vagrant’s shoe, but surprises all around.
    *Taps mic* Ahem…..Bill Cosby is a SERIAL RAPIST. That makes him top 100 worst human beings on earth and he has a VIP express ticket to h3ll. I am waiting impatiently for him to claim his seat.

    • guest

      Ay caramba, that’s harsh

    • Deeds

      Oh please believe there are still folks out there claiming its to bring a black man down and the women just want money, you know the usual stuff.

      • Val

        Yep, just wait until this Ebony cover hits facebook.

        • Epsilonicus

          Its up and that is exactly what is happening

          • Val

            Then I’m sure common sense is getting its butt kicked as we speak.

    • Tell us how you really feel

    • Michelle

      Unpopular opinion: This is based off of my personal experiences with several Bill Cosby supporters/victim-blamers.
      A lot of them believed in Cosby’s innocence the moment when they saw that some of his victims were white women.

      And then some began to show off their misogynistic a$$es when a few of the Black women came out.

      • Squish

        These are real life facts.

        After the Black victims surfaced, had to delete almost as many Black men as I had deleted former White friends after Ferguson and Baltimore. That was surprisingly unsurprising. And it was sad. The sickening, deplorable things that left these Brotha’s fingers after the allegations resurfaced was ridiculous. And I could not, in good conscious, remain friends with those people. Nah.

    • Carlisias

      Unfortunately, My mother and aunt are two of those people you mentioned. My mom actually said, “They knew what they were going up to his room to do, even if they didn’t discuss it.” I don’t think I’ll ever look at them the same again. That one sentence was devastating to me.

  • GLAMCAM

    The cover is brilliant. Cosby didn’t break the black family, only the perception from an era passed. All of the articles outlined on the cover seem to be relevant topics in our community that need to be addressed. Bravo to Ebony for starting the conversations.

  • SuperTrooper1420

    Personally I think it should have been a shot of HIM, not the entire cast. Something about this rubs me the wrong way, and the glee that so many black folks are showing at the destruction of an institution that meant so much to an entire generation of black people is sad … and white folks are eating it up. I’m not fan of the man, but the show involved all kinds of talented black writers, scholars and artists who made it great. It was bigger than him and I know that me and a lot of other black kids needed it at that time. The whole situation is sad. Notice you never see white folks throwing away too much of their history, no matter how ugly it is … What he’s alleged to have done is horrible but this I cannot cosign with.

    • De_Ann

      Everything you do just said makes complete sense.

    • Dougie

      white folks are eating it up? I don’t get that message from white folks. Not even close to that message actually. I’ve seen quite the opposite.

      I think the fact that this rubs you the wrong way is the point of the cover. When things rub people the wrong way, they tend to buy. I personally won’t be buying the magazine, but it’s peaked my interest to flip through it while waiting in line at the supermarket.

      • Asiyah

        I was about to say something similar. Seems to me White folks aren’t eating this up the way we would imagine or the way they would if it were another Black man. Cosby meant a lot to them too. He was that token they revered for a long time.

    • Pinks

      But that’s exactly what his actions and the cases surrounding them have done – SHATTER the image of the man so many of us grew to love. The fact that many can’t separate the man from the character is why this is so devastating to many in our community – they see outright disgust with the “alleged” actions of a human person as the attempt to destroy that person’s legacy in connection with an institution he built, which it simply is not.

      The same way Joe Paterno’s image and that of Penn State was forever tarnished after those allegations came out is the way in which The Cosby Show has suffered, and I think this image shows that and nothing more.

    • RLWhite

      I completely agree with what you said. Nobody is defending Bill Cosby’s actions but talk about Bill Cosby…not a show or cast mates that don’t have anything to do with what he has done as a person. Why are we even comparing a real man to a fictional character anyway (i.e. their title ‘cosby vs. cliff’). These actors and actresses aren’t their characters. And yes…white people are eating this up. This magazine is owned by white people! Just like BET, just like Essence.

      • Question

        The reason people are comparing Bill Cosby to Cliff Huxtable is because that’s exactly the challenge people are struggling to reconcile.

        • Epsilonicus

          “The reason people are comparing Bill Cosby to Cliff Huxtable is because that’s exactly the challenge people are struggling to reconcile.”

          The reason is that Bill Cosby wanted us to compare him to Cliff Huxtable.

          • Question

            Agreed.

        • RLWhite

          It shouldn’t be hard to separate a real person from a character. These people live their own lives beyond the stage. And media/entertainment love to blur these lines so that we can see these real people as their “characters.” After all, this mindset is what makes reality shows so successful. We think these fake t.v. characters they portray on tv are who they really are in real life and they know this. Which is why they keep pumping out more “reality shows.”

          • Question

            What’s interesting is that Black people are otherwise quite good at compartmentalizing things. Hence why you can go to a bourgie-ass wedding full of college-educateds and still expect a DJ set featuring Fetty Wep, Young Dro, Too $hort etc and maybe even some Trinidad James.

            • RLWhite

              Interesting point. Which is why I don’t understand why we can’t separate the two. Using your example, we understand that just because one can be college educated and listen to hood hop music doesn’t make us less educated. One has nothing to do with the other. I find it ironic that magazines like Ebony won’t have this exact same cosby show themed cover for these reality shows like Love and Hip Hop, BBW, etc and do a what’s real vs. what’s fake piece and expose the real truth behind those people. Instead of tearing down a show that displayed a positive, black family on a national platform, that in now way spoke towards the real lives of the people playing the characters. But why should I find it ironic…the white people that own the magazine know exactly what they’re doing.

              • Question

                But that’s just it – the distinction between the lives we all lead and Love and Hip Hop, BBW, even Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder is clear. No one educated is actively at home trying to live like Scandal (adopt her wardrobe and hair, maybe).

                A whole generation of us grew up wanting to and believing that we could live like the Cosby’s. What’s interesting is that many of us have succeeded. VSB is a testament to that – “educated” (formally or not) socially conscious Black folks building families of “educated” socially conscious Black folks.

                And I think therein lies the difference. People don’t care about what’s real and what’s fake with BBW and Love & Hip Hop – or rather, what’s real and what’s fake is completely obvious. With the Cosby’s, it wasn’t about real and fake, it was about goals and attainability.

                Which explains people’s reactions – those who don’t want to discuss this feel as though exposing Cosby means their personal goals and the attainability of those goals may have to be questioned. To those of us who are able to clearly separate, dragging Cosby through the mud for his own choices have no impact on our goals or the perceived attainability of those goals.

    • Mimzi

      I don’t think people are exhibiting “glee at the destruction of an institution” as much as were are exhibiting pride for the bravery and the bold choice to put the importance of the sexual safety of women above a television show that we all loved. This cover to me says, ok, the show was great, but we will not allow that to blind us to the fact that this man is a monster, no matter how funny he was.

    • dja

      I agree especially considering that white folks have always tried to discredit the Cosby’s as an unrealistic fantasy. This cover basically says “we told you so.” It not only shatters Cosby but the whole idea that families can be functional and successful. The focus should have been on Cosby only.

      • Gibbous

        Dissagree – we now have the Obamas as a model of what a black family can be.

      • Question

        I don’t understand how Bill Cosby f*cking up in his personal life destroys the image that the Cosby Show provides us.

    • Asiyah

      I respectfully disagree. That cover needed to be a shot of him and the entire cast for the full effect. It’s to show how fake his image of a family man is. In order to really make that point he had to be shown with the family. The man espousing family values with the great smile who is a total sociopath and is amoral. It needed to be done in that fashion to shatter the image of Cliff Huxtable as a real person and the Huxtable family as a unit, the beacon of light for many minority families in general and Black families in particular is the imagination of a man with so much darkness.

    • Question

      The cover is far more nuanced than you’re giving it credit for being.

  • bigheadbaby

    The theme of the issue is “The Family Issue(s).” That is why it is appropriate for the Cosby Show “family” to be all there and not just Cosby himself. It was via this show that he put before America his vision of what a black family could be. The characters were literally based on his own family up to a point.

    • rubbadubbagullagulla

      In my movie announcer voice, “…. And every family has its secrets…Coming this Fall…”

  • rubbadubbagullagulla

    You when you were a kid and your mom would say, “Don’t go out in that world and act a fool. You representing me and your entire family. You mess up and we all look bad.” Welp, this is the epitome of that. He has single-handedly runined so many people.

  • Whoever came up with the concept of that cover was a genius. Cosby vs. Cliff indeed. We all have our best and worse sides, but looking at Bill Cosby’s life is that concept on a super steroid cycle. On one hand, you have the ideal American family, and it just happens to be a real one. On the other hand, you have a lecher who went around r@ping supermodels and beauty queens like it was a glorified fishing trip. I’m curious to read the article behind it.

  • Here We Go

    It really does stop you in your tracks.
    *Shattered*

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