Seasoned comedian Cedric The Entertainer is adamant Bill Cosby deserves to be honored for his contributions to the Black community both on and off the set despite being convicted for aggravated sexual assault.
The 56-year-old initially paid homage to Cosby in an Instagram post on February 26 where he said the disgraced comedian “did a lot for the culture and the community.”
“The controversy of his current situation is not what these [sic] post are about!,” he clarified before adding: “He was one of the first Black Men we saw on TV that was truly his own boss. He taught us to know our worth in this business, He showed us how to give back to our communities and institutions.”
Cedric continued: “He was/ is Prolific, Funny and Audacious! He ruled on damn near every platform. Thursday nights became must see TV because of him, Film, Stage, Books, Animation, Recordings, all were places he reigned supreme. So he had to be shouted out, for his contribution to the Black History of Comedy. Show the Legend some Recognition!!”
In a follow-up interview with TMZ on Wednesday, Cedric re-echoed his initial sentiments, saying Cosby’s transgressions shouldn’t overshadow his influence and the good he has done for the Black community.
“We all live a full life with a lot of good things and some bad things. You pay the cost for all of it. If you get convicted, people wanna wipe out the [good] things that you did,” he said.
He added: “What I wanted to say was that for so many years of our lives Bill Cosby was the litmus…. Everything he did, the way he contributed and showed love to black people, the way he taught us how to do that for ourselves, the way we all learned to take pride in our culture and our history.”
Cedric also lauded Cosby’s media acumen, saying he laid the groundwork and foundation for the likes of Jay-Z and Tyler Perry to thrive.
Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in 2018 on three counts of aggravated assault for drugging and sexually assaulting former basketball player Andrea Constand in his home in 2004. The comedian and actor’s case was the first high-profile celebrity conviction of the #MeToo era which was initiated to raise awareness of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the workplace. Cosby also had several other women coming out to accuse him of sexual misconduct going back to almost 30 years.
The allegations against the actor and his eventual conviction were also followed by him losing several honors and business partnerships as well as people shelving his sitcom and anything that has to do with him.
Asked if Cosby could be forgiven for the crimes he committed, Cedric replied: “Redemption for certain crimes are going to be hard to come by. Abuse of the ladies, taking advantage of people that are unaware of their circumstance, I don’t know how much redemption you deserve for that.”
That notwithstanding, it appeared Cedric’s sentiments caught the ears of Cosby as he responded to his Instagram post in a tweet on Wednesday. “I plan to do more, too. Thank you very much for feeling, knowing & keeping the legacy alive through your great work,” Cosby’s Twitter account posted. “Thank You, Thank You & Thank You.”