This post was written by Music And Builds (@MusicAndBuilds) & edited by The41stAmendment
The purpose of this post is to highlight the Bill Cosby x NBC bid, what it meant for the Black Community and what Bill Cosby wanted for his people. Dating back to the 1970s Bill Cosby realized the powers that be used the media to put Black Americans in a negative light. Some TV shows focused on showing Black women as hoes or Black men as pimps, drug dealers + more. While others focused on showing Black families as uneducated and unsuccessful for the sake of comedy. Bill Cosby understood the power of imagery and wanted to everything he could to prevent the damage that was done over the years.
Anything that is displayed on a monitor or in a form of text have power over the subconscious mind. Images that are seen live in the brain even if they aren’t real. Movies, Music Videos and TV shows have been used to push false history and negative stereotypes for a long time and are often strategically targeting the minds/image of Black Americans. In efforts of combating the negative stereotypes Bill Cosby was determined to create a show that showed a Black intelligent mother and father raising a family together in America without drama. The show also focused heavily on education. Due to the climate of media at the time and the normalization of stereotypes many viewers felt like the show wasn’t realistic. The people that believed the Cosby show was unrealistic didn’t understand there were extremely successful Black Americans in the 1980s all over the country. After a while the show grew on viewers and became a hit. The show did so well another positive black TV show was put together, this show would be “Family Matters”.
Bill Cosby graduated from Temple University and was very stern on the importance of Black education. The power of imagery is so strong Bill made sure to highlight his alma mater in the show. He also donated millions to HBCU’s and eventually created a spin off TV show about life at a HBCU. The ultimate goal was to get more Black kids into college and it worked with media magic. Fast forward to 1992 Cosby created a show titled Here And Now. This show was about a Black psychologist who returned to his old community to help Black youth. Like the rest of the Cosby creations this show was created to strategically change the image of the Black community on TV and show Black people what they could be.
By the mid 90s Bill felt as if the Black public image was going bad again similar to the 70s. With gangster rap growing rapidly and the hyper sexuality of the Black woman at the time he was absolutely right. The battle of trying to keep the Black public image clean was extremely challenging, but he didn’t give up. Even while knowing the Black community gravitates toward negativity he still fought hard to win the minds of Black people by normalizing class, education and family values. On the Arsenio Hall Show Cosby said he was in a gang and grew up in the projects, but he grew out of that mentality and called out the Black gangs that exist in Black neighborhoods. He believed fighting over turf they don’t own was terrible + a list of other things like selling drugs to other Black people, killing each other and more. This was pretty much a cry for help from Cosby, all he wanted was his community to do and be better. Most people didn’t take it lightly (politicians included) and he became an enemy to the Black community in the inner cities of America. Regardless of the delivery what Bill said was absolutely right but sometimes the Black community don’t like hearing the uncomfortable truth.
After just one season of being on air the show Here And Now was canceled for being too conscious. This drove Bill to submit a bid to buy NBC. Some people think it was just a business move, and he wanted to make money but it was way deeper than that. Bill wanted to buy the network so he could have full control over the Black public image with media magic. If the deal went through Bill would’ve been able to produce multiple positive TV shows that focused on class, education and family values without getting canceled. During 2004 Bill was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame and used this opportunity to call out the devilish media. He mentioned how they negatively portray the Black community and cause dysfunction. He asked Black Christians to clean up the neighborhood the same way Black Muslims do. He asked Black parents to raise their children better, be more involved in their life and take back control of their household. He asked Black Americans to stop supporting the destruction of their community. This move would ultimately cost him every chance he had to successfully buy NBC. The network looked at him as a threat because they knew if he followed through with his plans it would disrupt the lucrative business of selling poison.
No matter what Bill Cosby had great intentions for the Black community. Unfortunately he lost support from his people after telling the truth and the powers that be won. Black people can only own successful media outlets if they’re controlled and if you attempt to do right by your people on a large scale your image will be ripped apart slowly but surely. At the end of the day these corporations only care about the bottom line so if you get in their way for any reason you will suffer.
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