Controversy over Bill Cosby's messages about parental and personal responsibility in the African-American community, have obscured the tremendous contribution he has made in his devotion to excellence in his craft. Although I was an adult when the Cosby Show aired, it had a profound impact on me and how I viewed the potential of the black community, whether poor or affluent. Though often criticized as an unrealistic portrayal of black family life, I knew more families like the Huxtables (in values if not in wealth) than I ever knew of those depicted in 'Sanford and Son' or 'The Jeffersons'. I also knew that the regard with which the show was held by people of all races and all classes, was, in itself, historic.
There is entertainment which can ennoble and inspire. Clarice Taylor belonged to a generation of entertainers who used their craft to tell the common story of the human condition, in spite of the fact that the reality of their lives in America belied the truth they sought to tell on screen and on stage. They paved the way for the more popular and more prosperous actors who entertain us today. But thank goodness we had her body of work, the kindly face and the beautiful face to remind us, no matter our work, that if you remain devoted to your life's work and dedicated to being the best that you can be, one day your story can be among those that bless countless others. The Cosby Show was that kind of entertainment. Clarice Taylor was that kind of actor. I'm thankful to have her example to inspire me!