Yesterday, Ebony magazine released it's November issue, The Family Issue(s), featuring a fractured image of "The Cosby Show" cast. The cover has been met with mixed emotions with many readers calling the cover "extreme", "in poor taste" and "sad". Cries to boycott the magazine and threats to cancel subscriptions abound. Others (like me) have praised the cover as "fresh", "exciting" and "necessary", and are waiting with breath that is bated for the issue to hit newsstands and mailboxes. (In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of the cover story, "Cliff-Hanger: Can 'The Cosby Show' Survive? Should It?" penned by Goldie Taylor, HERE.)
Of the controversy, Ebony Editor in Chief Kierna Mayo offered the following comment on her Facebook page:
"Here's what I'll say: this was not an easy decision. But I believe with everything that our collective healing (from this and all traumas) is tied to baring truths, confronting selves, and dismantling crutches. We aim to uplift. However, sometimes before you rise up, you break down. I invite each of you, mixed feelings and all, to truly READ this issue. Listen, @ebonymag has a 70-year-old history and you'd be surprised to know how tame this cover is in many respects--especially when compared with some of what the magazine has addressed in the past. We won't stop being maverick because it makes some uncomfortable. The times are calling. Too much is at stake. Thank you to everyone with an opinion. Informed debate is healthy and we need more of it. We/I have very thick skin, so say what you must. But know this: I love you, Black people. And Ebony does too."
After reading through hundreds of visceral reactions to the new cover yesterday afternoon, I have a few thoughts of my own about what people are saying. In short, a little perspective and logic is needed.
Ahem, see below:
1. Bill Cosby is not your Dad. Neither is Dr. Huxtable.
2. The Huxtables are a fictional family. You are not related to them.
3. A critique of the legacy of a Black TV show is not a personal attack on your family, or even the Black Family at large.
4. The state of the Black family needs to be critiqued.
5. The Cosby Show is not above reproach.
6. Bill Cosby is not above reproach. He made a great TV show; he's been accused by about 50 women of doing some awful things when the cameras weren't on.
7. Bill Cosby is inseparable from The Cosby Show. The fictional Huxtable family is based on Cosby's real-life family. And a show about the Huxtables is called "The Cosby Show".
8. Ebony is not tarnishing Bill Cosby's legacy or The Cosby Show's legacy. Bill Cosby did that all by himself.
9. If you're mad at Ebony for its current cover, please also be equally mad at Bill Cosby.
10. It's not any Black person or Black publication's job to look respectable to White people. We's free now.
11. Black publications and Black people are not obligated to uplift, defend, be loyal to or protect predators because they are Black. Shame, silence and fear are how Cosby got to this point in the first place.
12 "White people don't do X, so Black people shouldn't either" is a piss poor argument (and some coonin sh--). The idea is that "the guy from 7th Heaven" didn't get dragged, so Cosby shouldn't either. But yes, actually, "the guy", Stephen Collins, did. Google him and see for yourself.
13. "Innocent until proven guilty" applies to a criminal court of law. Public opinion is not the judicial system.
14. If you only believe in the justice system when it comes to defending Bill Cosby, stop. OJ went thru the justice system and was found innocent of murdering his wife and her friend. We still think he did it.
15. "Don't judge" and "who are we to judge?" are excuses not to have an opinion. You have a brain, use it. Also, if you say "don't judge" Cosby, but you have an opinion about the cover (or editors), you're judging.