February is a month of celebration in the pop culture community — between the Grammy and the Academy Awards, the best in the music and cinema fields will be recognized in the next month. However, between the awards buzz for those two big nights, we want to make not to overshadow February’s significance: Black History Month. So to follow the month’s trend of celebration, we plan to spend all of February going through the most important African-American pop culture personalities of the last 29 years. We continue today with 1984.
Bill Cosby is one of the funniest comedians and largest television innovators of the 20th century. The amazing thing about Cosby, though, is that it isn’t the legacy he would want to be remembered with. Cosby was an educated man with high aspirations about America’s education system, and in 1984, he decided to combine his talents as an actor-comedian with his goal for education.
The long list of credits “The Cosby Show” has received is too long to mention. Without question, it is one of the defining sitcoms of all-time. It did this despite a style that was unique to itself. A style Cosby hatched after his first comedic television attempt, “The Bill Cosby Show” was not met with huge success. After the show, Cosby returned to school, and it was likely there that he decided promoting education was his new lifelong goal.
While “The Cosby Show” deserves mention for mass appeal of an all-black cast — it was #1 on TV for a long time, and in our year of celebration (1985) it won the Emmy and Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy — the show must also be remembered for Cosby’s moral good. This was a man that wanted to teach — on the show his children, but his lofty goal was to reach a larger audience, for the life lessons in the show to carry through.
Bob Saget had a famous comedy in which he was the patriarch, but his legacy has been ruined through stand-up bits that border on the insane. Cosby has only enhanced his legacy, both on the stage and with other television appearances. Bill Cosby is a good man, and while his brand of TV is seen as corny by many (see the Eddie Murphy Cosby impersonation), few actors have such self-realization.