On Friday I received a copy (via Facebook) of the current Ebony magazine copy noting the cast of “The Huxtables” on the cover only this cover was a bit different. It was made to appear as of this picture was in a glass frame where the glass had been shattered. Of course this was in direct response to the scandal surrounding actor/comedian Bill Cosby. Seeing the cover is quite jarring. As the cover made the rounds on the pages of various friends I noticed that the responses were mostly the same…OUTRAGE at Ebony. Comments like “disgraceful”, “they did not need to do that”, Ebony is no longer relevant”, etc. You see the black community is very protective of our icons or those that we feel the rest of the world is judging harshly or treating unfairly.
This controversy took on a head of steam earlier this year when comedian Hannibal make reference in one of his appearances that Bill Cosby was a rapist. The media began to see this has a real story. Women began to appear out of nowhere. Each week more women came forward all with the same story of being drugged and potentially sexually assaulted. This was very hard to believe about a beloved public figure that has been admired throughout the years. The question in everyone’s mind was “Why didn’t any of these numerous women go to the police to report the presumed sexual assault?” I was truly skeptical and stood is disbelief. However, several months after constant reporting a deposition taken under oath which was discovered where Bill Cosby spoke about giving drugs to a woman. At this point many, as well as myself, began to believe that Bill Cosby was guilty on some level. As this continued to go on the black media remained silent until now where Ebony spoke out loud and strong with this most recent cover.
Personally I am torn. While I do not know if Bill Cosby is guilty or innocent and I still have some doubts because I don’t think this situation is as black and white as it seems I do think the cover is very responsible. Too many women kept silent for some reason and we may never know that reason but this can’t be a coincidence or fear. Surely there were several women that had enough courage to feel wronged and report this to the authorities. I do feel there was intercourse with most of these women but the looming question that may never be answered is was it on some level consensual? The high possibility that something took place between Bill and some of these women can’t be overlooked. The following questions seem to loom overhead: Were the drugs taken or given willingly or unknowingly? Is this just a means for financial opportunity or notoriety? What every your stance regarding this issue, the black media cannot look the other way. Looking the other way does nothing but hinder the possibility for a viewpoint that is not being whitewashed. Ebony has a responsibility to women as well as the rest of the community to publish an article on this situation. Therefore, I find NOTHING wrong with the cover. The fact that the black community continues to give a pass to those who may in fact be guilty of something egregious is not a good look. I am disheartened that we also judged Ebony very negatively for the cover. We often get mad at the white media when they cover our stories and don’t do them justice, however, when Ebony (black media) takes the bold and possible uncomfortable stance of reporting on those touchy circumstances within the black community they get vilified for doing so. We can’t have it both ways.