Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

We need to talk about the Cosby review – shocking revelations dating back to the 60s | Television & radio

‘Wwho is Bill Cosby now? is the question that opens comedian, author and TV presenter W Kamau Bell’s four-part documentary about his fallen idol, We Need to Talk About Cosby. “America’s Dad” is a nickname, offered by a person interviewed with a thousand-yard stare. “An example of the complexity of humanity,” suggests another. “A rapist who had a really big TV show once,” says Renée Graham, Boston Globe columnist and associate editor.

In the first episode of this exploration of Cosby’s career, alleged (pending an appeal against the overturning of his 2018 aggravated sexual assault convictions) multiple predations against women for decades, and the significance of both for the Black Americans, in particular, Bell questions the three appreciations of man.

It is an avowed personal project. As a black man and stand-up comedian born in the ’70s, Bell says upfront, “I’m a Bill Cosby kid.” It describes Cosby’s meteoric rise – it didn’t take long for him to go from a student bartender making jokes to a guest on The Jack Parr Program and from there to a TV star (in as the erudite co-lead of the weekly drama I Spy) and mainstream, crowd-pleasing comedian winning multiple Grammys for his annual albums. And it contextualizes what it meant to black people to see this charming, urbane, handsome and talented man publicly debunking so many racist myths that have permeated the culture even more than they do 50 years later. Cosby also made more tangible changes. By insisting that only black stuntmen be used to dub for him in I Spy, he ended the practice of white stuntmen literally painting themselves black and created a new avenue of employment for black men in the industry. .

But, just when you start to think this is going to be another rise and fall ride from a great man who barely avoids hagiography, Bell performs a strident U-turn. It returns to the beginning of Cosby’s career and brings out of the shadow of drug and assault allegations dating back to 1965. The good he has done, symbolically and practically, turns out to be concomitant with great harm ( presumed). His friendship with Hugh Hefner (a supporter of the civil rights movement) and the apology of a number of masculine behaviors in an essentially misogynistic system and time are reviewed. Much like Cosby’s famous Spanish fly routine on his 1969 album It’s True! It’s true!, on the fact that it only takes a very small amount of the famous aphrodisiac to make a woman numb.

Kierna Mayo, former editor of Ebony magazine, says it’s like he’s laying down a trail of breadcrumbs for someone to follow. She attributes it to a bad conscience. Others – especially those who remembered Jimmy Savile’s many mentions of liking underage girls and his “my case will come up next Tuesday” jokes – might be more inclined to suspect just another manifestation of the malignant arrogance and narcissism that serial predators frequently possess. Hiding in plain sight is so much more exciting than just hiding.

There is full testimony from Victoria Valentino, one of more than 60 women who have come forward to accuse the American father of rape and other abuse, about how Cosby drugged her and her friend, and raped Valentino in 1969. This was weeks after her six-year-old son Tony drowned in a swimming pool. She hardly told anyone about it for 45 years. The only time tears threaten to overwhelm her is when she remembers how, when she asked afterwards how she would get home, and, without looking back at her, Cosby gestured to a phone and told him to call a cab, “I said thank you.”

So Bell adds another question to his pile – how much of Cosby’s good work was a deliberate smokescreen to allow his monstrous side to go unnoticed and his victims to go unbelieving? Again, the parallels to Savile’s charity fundraising and hospital visits are striking.

Only the first episode was available for review, but We Need to Talk About Cosby so far promises to be a comprehensive review of the subject. Just maybe a bit exhausting too – not sure we need a pharmacologist to explain the actual chemistry and effects of spanish fly – but if so it will be a minor flaw born of Bell’s willingness to analyze everything he encounters. It’s clearly a sincere, but not blind, film, and while its personality pervades the whole thing, it makes sure not to get in the way of the women telling their stories and leaves them on screen for as long as they need it. . That, and the insistence on showing the coexistence of apparent man and monster, make it a showcase of how we need to talk about all the Cosbys out there. Allegedly.

skip newsletter promotion

We Need to Talk About Cosby aired on BBC Two and is now on iPlayer

theguardian Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Back to top button