Thursday, September 16, 2004

“Is Bill Cosby Right?”

In a series of well-publicized speeches, Bill Cosby has taken the lower-economic classes of the black community to task for not properly raising children properly and for embracing what he views as destructive hip-hop culture. Among his controversial comments: “Let me tell you something: your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day. It’s cursing and calling each other n****s as they’re walking up and down the street.”

Today’s show poses the question – is Bill Cosby right? Meet several black citizens who argue points at both ends of this debate:


For the last four years, Talmara has been 15-year-old Nicky’s sole guardian. (Nicky’s dad is in jail and according to Talmara, Nicky’s mom is an alcoholic.) Though Nicky is apathetic towards school and confrontational, Talmara disagrees with Cosby that she is somehow to blame for Nicky’s behavior. Larry spoke with Nicky about finishing school, developing goals and finding inspiration in people she respects such as her cousin Stephanie.

To get Nicky started, the show provided her with an internship at a local salon to help her explore her dream of becoming a stylist, along with tutoring, books and a new Dell laptop.

Rappers Fat Tone and Large Pad have taken issue with Cosby’s statements, saying that he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be raised in the ghetto. At 23, Fat Tone has four children by four different mothers and has been shot several times – he says it’s all part of the territory. Large Pad began rapping only when he realized he could make more money doing that than selling drugs as he had been since age 14.

Now both are focused on furthering their rap careers but contend that experiences like theirs are to be expected growing up in an urban environment. Larry encouraged both of them to stop playing the victim and realize the value of education.

Janet and Brent are the antidote to Cosby’s theory. Both grew up in difficult situations: Janet immigrated from Liberia with her family at a young age only to live in cramped quarters in a questionable neighborhood, while Brent grew up in a single-mom household. Now Janet is heading to USC, while Brent is going to Duke on a full scholarship. Both maintain that hard work can overcome the odds and that you can affect your environment, not the other way around.

Quick Clicks

Sound off! Do you agree with Cosby or are you outraged by his comments? Share your opinion in our Show Talk forum.

Special thanks to the following vendors who generously provided Nicky and Talmara with their products and services:

Avant-Garde Salon
Borders Books
Fleur De Lis Day Spa
Sylvan Learning Center