Bill Cosby’s past has been recently reviewed in a new book by Mark Whitaker called “Cosby: His life and times.” The book talks about how Cosby didn’t want to be labeled as a black comedian and instead worked hard to integrate so he could get access to the money being controlled by whites. However, Cosby was a believer in the idea of seeking integration by working on the inside, and has cleared the path for many educated and middle class blacks to have opportunities.
All the while, Cosby has been criticized for being disrespectful of poor and uneducated blacks. Whitaker recently did an interview with Henry Louis Gates and talks about Cosby’s influence on America. This is some of what Whitaker had to say about the creator of “The Cosby Show.”
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Mark, there was a time when Bill Cosby was the most popular television star in America, probably the world. And certainly everyone considers him one of the game changers of television for The Cosby Show, Thursday nights, eight seasons. What’s his perspective on the impact that the show had?
Mark Whitaker: I think that when white folks think of Bill Cosby, they think of someone who not only made them laugh but also helped white America become comfortable with black America. And I think that’s true, going back to his comedy albums, I Spy, his work on children’s television, his commercials, even before The Cosby Show, and then absolutely with The Cosby Show.