Bill Cosby and Me

Bill Cosby doesn't like my video. When I first heard that he "attacked" the piece at a forum on black youth in D.C. last summer, I was shocked and a little perplexed. I mean, c'mon he's famous, a comedic genius and played Dr. Huxtable on TV. So why would he bother commenting and with such apparent anger? His problem was apparently that he thought the video (which asks folks to define what it means to be a black man) neglected to include any mention of the important role of family and fatherhood as part of being a black man. It is a point he's been hammering home to mixed reactions from black audiences for at least the past several years.

Of course, I do feel some need to defend the video, which I produced with Post reporter Hamil Harris. So by way of rebuttal, I direct your attention to the column "Invoking Responsibility" by Post columnist Jabari Asim. Asim cited a quote in the video by Demitri Kornegay. The Montgomery County, Md., police lieutenant defines a black man as "a man who is honest, reliable, as well as self-reliant" and "assumes responsibility not only for his own actions but for the actions of those persons he is responsible for."

Your witness, Mr. Cosby


P.S. You can check out other reactions to the series and video here.

Ben de la Cruz /

By Ben de la Cruz |  December 15, 2006; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Ben de la Cruz , Documentary Video
Previous: Mexico Rocks It | Next: From Class Clown to Head of the Class


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Bill Cosby talks about some things that are relevant to us and to our society. BUT no one appointed him to be a spokesman for African-Americans. There are more than 35 million of us -- and certainly room for more than one opinion. We're not monolithic.

If he's so upset about what you did in the video, he's certainly free to produce one on his own extolling the virtues of family and fatherhood in being a black man in America. Surely he has the resources and experience to do it, and do it well, rather than harp on something that wasn't in the video.

So keep on pushing and don't look back.

Posted by: dirrtysw | December 15, 2006 11:02 AM

Would somebody please give that man a TV show so he can leave us alone? He has nothing left but hot air, and that's what this is.

Posted by: Big Mama | December 15, 2006 11:14 AM

Big Mama wrote:
"He has nothing left but hot air..."

Have you read "Enough" by Juan Williams? You'd be surprised how consistent Cosby's message has been and how in line he is with many revolutionary black thinkers who are otherwise celebrated in the black community.

Take a listen to his "hot air". It has a lot to do with self-reliance and breaking the mentality of self defeat.

Posted by: TPete | December 15, 2006 11:57 AM

This intrigued me, but I was frustrated by a lack of context. Who is posting this? Who is Cosby angry with? I'm scrolling all over the place to find out what's at issue. Why is this on the Washington Post website?

Mostly, I'm left frustrated. I suspect just a little bit of context at the top would go a long way toward making this page meaningful.

I see now, in small print under the video link that someone named Ben de la Cruz has something to do with this. Who the hell is Ben de la Cruz? Just an identifier, please!

Posted by: KT | December 15, 2006 11:58 AM

Ok. Sorry I get it. I found the context I needed by clicking on the links at the left. I had first assumed they would take me to other WP stories. I still would like the author identified at the top of the page--with a one-sentence id.

i.e. Ben de la Cruz is a Washington-based filmmaker and mime, and regular contributor to "Behind the Lens".

Posted by: KT | December 15, 2006 12:03 PM

Cosby needs to start acting like a family man.

Posted by: justin | December 15, 2006 12:29 PM


Thanks for participating in our new blog. Sorry for the confusion. I've been working as a staff video journalist/producer for for the last seven years. All of the bloggers for Behind the Lens are staff. The man on the street video, I referred to, is part of a year long series called Being a Black Man, which contains close to a dozen documentary videos, stories, live discussions, multimedia slideshows and an interactive poll about perspectives on black men.

Here's the link.


Posted by: Ben de la Cruz | December 15, 2006 12:31 PM

I just want to mention that everyone should read the "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison. You get the sense you really don't count in this country. I am a black man...single father and professional. What I see is that you matter to your family.Please pay attention to your children. Most think it's hard, I have seen brothas caught up in that Ole'Mighty Dollar that they neglect the kids. If you have them LOVE them. Stop getting upset over this man or that thing. Stay with God and love your family PLEASE! One more thing, I have nothing to say about the Bill C hype...but the video is worth a look. I was a little disappointed it didn't focus more on black men and parenting and even the mental stability of our brothas. Looking where we have come from...we were not look at as human once apon a time. Has that changed really!?
Stay strong and education your family.

Posted by: HoplessNDC | December 15, 2006 01:04 PM

The video was okay. The past is okay, but let us start planning for the future. The actions that I see from young African Americans in my community is sad, and we need to start encouraging our African American children. The children are the future. Let's see more video clips of young children trying to be someone. We have too many kids with cellphones, nice clothes, and more, but these kids cannot read or write. Let's focus on that issue. These children are in middle school. Try to focus on education for African American children. I hope to see more of your works. You have skills, but it is so important that we reach back to lift up those in need. Remember, there are different needs in the African American community. Just look at the children in the hood. Ask yourself where are they going. Every child cannot be a rapper. We need more doctors, lawyers, and teachers in the African American community not people just standing on the streets without making a difference.

Take care.

Posted by: Jo | December 28, 2006 08:03 PM

I am the director of an upcoming documentary entitled "What Black Men Thin". Your video further perpetuates the rhetoric and hyperbole that has been used to empower the attitude of victimization, the myths of black men, and the false hopes that have dessimated our community over the past 40 years.

Posted by: JM | January 13, 2007 05:16 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company