Like every good little Negro who grew up in the 80s and 90s I have seen my fair share of the Cosby Show. In fact, I’ve watched Fat Albert. I’ve listened to hours of comedy tapes. After all that, I can count on two hands the number of times I remember LOLing at the Coz. I just don’t really find him funny. Yet, I’ve felt a need to pretend that I think he’s great – almost as if there were a certain number of Black Points at stake. I freely admit that taste is relative; if you love the Jell-O man, I mean you no disrespect. I just can’t live the lie anymore. I have laughed harder at Dane Cook than I ever have at Bill Cosby. (Breathe that in if you dare…)
And while we’re at it, I have a couple other confessions.
- I think Michael Jackson is overrated. I’m not talking about fame — or infamy, whichever you prefer. In considering his body of work, I have a hard time ranking him as highly as the universe seems to put him. I’m happy to discuss the issue, but it’ll take more than the inevitable “He made Thriller” to persuade me.
- Baseball is my favorite sport, not basketball. I’m happy to wake up in the morning and turn on Hot Stove on the MLB Network. Sometimes I forget to check what went on in the NBA altogether. I secretly wish my mom gave me a glove, not a basketball, as a kid. But, alas…. I don’t think it should cost me hood points because I know as much about the Albuquerque Isotopes as I do the Miami Heat right now.
- I learn most of my slang from white children. In fact, if I didn’t have to chauffeur some of my boys to and from basketball practice, I would have no idea who Trinidad James is, among many others. At the risk of sounding two thousand and late, I’ve finally reached a point where I find a lot of the stuff that is #trending kind of #dumb.
What’s the point? Life is easier when you spend your energy being true to who you are even if that flies in the face of convention. I’m sure if we take the time to scratch a little deeper under the surface of the people we know, we’ll realize that none of us actually fit neatly in the boxes we pretend to inhabit. My blackness is actually not related to my interests. It’s not something I should feel the need to prove or validate. Likewise, the labels that make up your identity are true just because you wear them. No one can take your you from you.
As Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” How right you are, sir. You have never pleased me. And I wish you all the continued success on the world.