beastWAVE : BILL COSBY’S HISTORY LESSON

 

 

 

 

Its always interesting to run across something that seems to defy the ethos of its generation, something that goes against the oppressive grain which may have controlled said generation. In this case a militant documentary about black history narrated by Bill Cosby which aired on CBS in the summer of 1968. That alone is enough to pause. The idea of a figure like Bill Cosby taking a visibly angry and militant stance against white America and the haunted past of blacks in America seems unheard of. The idea that CBS was involved is reason to pause. During the late 1960’s Cosby was one of the few black Americans to be perceived as true celebrity, and as a non threatening figure. He was on a hit TV series (I Spy), and had found superstardom as a comedian. So how did this come about? Who’s idea was it to make this doc? Cosby is in rare public form here, and he shows us his true beastWAVE, he has choice words for Sidney Poitier which is interesting considering they would later go on to star together in three films between 1973 and 1975 (films directed by Poitier).

 

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Curious it is that Bill Cosby was not a larger star of cinema in the same vain as other black comedians such as Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock etc. Was it all a part of some BASED design by Cosby himself to stay away from that limelight? Maybe he took one for the team so-to-speak regarding a career in films and this was one of his rare chances to speak his mind and present himself in a more serious tone while helping set a cosmic balance to the universe. Bill Cosby was a man of many talents and forms, we often times forget his obsession and contributions to music (noted friendships to many of the era’s jazz greats, releases of his own songs). We also forget that for a time Cosby was pushed as a sex symbol with his role as the calm, cool and collected genius alongside Robert Culp in the series I Spy . (Shame on Robert Altman for not casting Cosby in his brilliant films of the 70’s.)

 

Black History: Lost, Stolen or Stayed was the real deal. It happened. The doc was so successful for CBS that they aired it a second time. For whatever reason this interesting little piece of history doesn’t seem to make the rounds and that is a shame. Check it out…