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bill-cosby-standup-performance ‘Friends’ Desert Bill Cosby when he Needs them Most


‘Friends’ Desert Bill Cosby when he Needs them Most

By Raynard Jackson

NNPA Columnist

“Hey, hey, hey (in my best Fat Albert’s voice), please listen to what I have to say. My friend Bill Cosby is in trouble today.”

Even Fat Albert knows Bill Cosby is getting a raw deal. As a public relations/crisis management professional. I have worked with some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and business. So, let’s deconstruct this media frenzy engulfing the man who was once America’s favorite TV dad.

Many of these allegations have been around for more than 30 years. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and deserves the presumption of innocence. Simply because several people – okay, eight and counting – provide a similar salacious account doesn’t make it true.

Until now, Cosby and his lovely wife, Camille, have not had to defend their hard-earned good name. They have given north of $50 million to educational institutions, especially HBCUs.  Cosby has opened doors to many of the top actors and comediennes in the industry.

At the ripe old age of 77 years, at what point does one’s body of work require one to be given the benefit of the doubt?  Cosby is, and in my book, will always be “America’s Dad.”

None of the females coming forward ever went to the police when the incident in question was supposed to have happened.  There have been no corroborating witnesses.  After the initial alleged incident, each of the women continued to spend private time with Cosby.  If Cosby had done what they allege, why would they continue to spend private time with him? That makes no sense. Not even to Fat Albert.

And the media’s hands are not clean in the smear campaign.

Why would respected news organizations even give these women a platform when they offer no proof or evidence to support their allegations?

Corporate America has also taken the guilty until proven innocent approach toward Cosby, a former corporate darling.

NBC officials announced last week that that they were no longer working with Cosby to produce a new series that was supposed to launch next summer.  Mind you that Cosby made NBC billions of dollars with his hit TV series “The Cosby Show” in the 80s and the successful spinoff, “A Different World.”

Evidently, Hollywood is a different world.

Even more surprising than the reaction from Hollywood and Corporate America is the paucity of people willing to defend Bill Cosby or at least insist on a greater burden of proof from his growing list of accusers. To be blunt, true friends don’t desert friends based on unsubstantiated rumors.

That means even when defending them is unpopular. I have publicly defended former Senate Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi when I knew accusations of him being a White racist were unfounded. I also backed former Majority House Leader Tom DeLay, who stepped down in 2005 after being indicted for allegedly improperly funneling campaign donations to Texas House candidates. He was eventually exonerated but by then, his political career had been unfairly destroyed.

Doesn’t Cosby deserve that same kind of loyalty?

I am not aware of one public statement of support from any former cast member of Cosby’s shows.  I am not aware of any statement of support from any comedian on the scene today whose career took off because of Cosby.  I am not aware of any statement of support from any civil rights group or college that have gladly taken millions over the years from Cosby and his wife.

Without delving into the issues about which only Cosby and his accusers know, at minimum, those who have been recipients of his largess could at least say there’s another side of the man.

I have spoken to a few of my A-list Hollywood friends about this issue and I found their explanations repulsive. They are all afraid of being “blacklisted” by White, liberal Hollywood.  As much as I love money and success, I love my integrity more.  How can you not support someone who has been instrumental in your being the very person you are today?  How do you justify leaving someone like Cosby out to hang by himself?

Even Fat Albert doesn’t think Cosby deserves this kind of treatment.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site,  www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.

  • Written by Raynard Jackson
  • Category: Commentaries

Emerging: School choice as go-to issue for African-American voters

School Choice

With each election, political experts can look at various voting patterns by certain groups to determine which issues are important to those groups. For instance, among African-American voters, it is clear that issues such as jobs, quality housing, affordable health care and education consistently are the most significant.  As it relates to education, more and more African-American voters are embracing educational choice and are voting for candidates who identify themselves as school choice supporters.

  • Written by Kevin P. Chavous
  • Category: Commentaries

Shouldn’t black leaders ask how immigration reform affects black unemployment?


COMMENTARY: Until they do, they’ll be out of step with many of the constituents they claim to represent.

Shouldn’t black leaders ask how immigration reform affects black unemployment?

by Lauren Victoria Burke

The Root

How might President Barack Obama's pending executive order on immigration affect black unemployment? And isn't that a question black leaders should be asking right now?

Even if you're pro-immigration reform, the answer should be a full-throated and resounding, "Yes."

Obama's executive order will allow more than 4 million noncitizens previously here without immigration status to obtain work authorization. Meanwhile, though, the black unemployment rate is almost double the national average.

Last month, it was 10.9 percent, while the unemployment rate overall was 5.8 percent.

Quite a few black leaders have situated the issue of immigration reform within the broader civil rights struggle, calling it "a defining civil and human rights issue of our time," and saying, "we know that the nation's immigration system is broken and that the status quo does not serve our economic or long-term interests," as Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, argued last year.

But it's perplexing to hear immigration reform described by those in the civil rights community as serving "our economic or long-term interests" before we've had a full-throated discussion about its impact on black employment. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration's Opal Tometi argued Sunday in The Root that undocumented immigrants don't compete with African Americans for jobs, but is she sure?

Advocates are skipping over a difficult discussion about whether African Americans would be competing for the same blue-collar jobs many immigrants are likely to be vying for. Why?

The fact is that immigration activists are lobbying harder on behalf of their constituencies—and their efforts have been more effective—than any black civil rights group has been with respect to the issues and priorities of the black communities that they represent.

Obama's executive action, announced Thursday, is the second federal directive immigration activists have won. Recall that in 2012, the president issued an order, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that halted deportations for undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children if they applied for a deferral—and more than 500,000 people did. There wasn't much comment from black leaders in 2012 either.

And in this moment, you have to wonder who black civil rights organizations are fighting for if they're willing to avoid addressing the core issue of black unemployment as it pertains to immigration reform.

Black civil rights organizations have access to the Obama administration, but instead of a continued focus on issues such as black unemployment and how immigration may or may not have an impact, we see NAACP's president tweet:

NAACP strongly supports the rights of immigrants and has called for comprehensive immigration reform for decades. #UniteUSA

    — Cornell Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) November 20, 2014

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Congressional Black Caucus member and the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, stated that the president's executive order "will help bring millions out of the shadows so they can more fully contribute to our nation and our economy."

"The executive action by the president is a huge step forward for the civil and human rights movement," said the Rev. Al Sharpton in a statement regarding the president's speech Thursday. "This is a constructive way to deal with a human problem in which everyone wins."

But in a supply-and-demand economy with stagnant wages, does everybody win? The fact that there was no mention of black unemployment in any of the statements from civil rights leaders on the president's executive action makes it appear as if black leaders have given up on the issue, assuming that black unemployment will "always be high" because "it's always been high." Either that, or they're focused on other priorities. But jobs in the black community remain the No. 1 issue because it is so obviously linked to economic prosperity.

Consider a recent article on Chicago's black jobless rate by the Atlanta Black Star's Thomas Scott, who highlighted that "an alarming 25 percent of black residents in Chicago are jobless, making it the fifth-highest in that dubious category among the nation's most populated cities.”

If you pay attention to discussions going on in black communities, it's clear that this is on people's minds.

So while many civil rights groups appear to be on automatic pilot in their support for immigration reform, they may be out of step with many of the people they say they represent.

Perhaps soon, civil rights leaders will publicly address what the overall effect of granting 5 million more noncitizens the right to work might be on black unemployment.

So far, they haven't.

(Lauren Victoria Burke is a Washington, D.C.-based political reporter who writes the Crew of 42 blog. Follow her on Twitter.)

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
  • Category: Commentaries

Loretta Lynch deserves swift confirmation


African-American women were excited about President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States.  Since she has sailed through two Senate confirmations, her current confirmation ought to move quickly and without controversy.  But Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky..) and his crowd seem to want to drag the process along, insisting on their “right” to question Loretta Lynch, and to make a spectacle of this confirmation.

There are dozens of vacancies in the ambassadorial ranks, among others, because Republicans have blocked Senate consideration of these appointments. Many Republican Senators keep saying they want to work with the administration.  One way to show it is to move some of the appointments out of gridlock.

  • Written by Julianne Malveaux-NNPA News Service
  • Category: Commentaries