Ebony Cover Art Fans the Cosby Flames

November issue layers shattered glass over an iconic shot of The Cosby Show cast.

There have been many issues of Ebony over the years featuring Bill Cosby on the cover: on his own, with his real-life family and alongside his NBC-TV castmates. But never has an Ebony Cosby cover looked like this.


The 3,000-word article that goes with this November issue cover, “Cosby vs. Cliff,” is not online yet. Only a brief excerpt from the Goldie Taylor piece has been published. And on Twitter today, Taylor made it clear that the piece is not about the current accusations.

However, in the face of the very immediate and divided social media reaction to the teased cover image, Taylor, a columnist with The Daily Beast, posted some additional thoughts Thursday night. Under the headline, “Why Diehard Defenders Will Never Stop Believing Bill Cosby Is Innocent:”

For some people, it seems, Cosby is a god — deified based on his career as a legendary comedian and actor, a Hollywood icon who generously invested countless millions in historically black institutions.

When I was invited to write a cover story for Ebony magazine and offer an analysis of that legacy, I accepted the assignment with both honor and trepidation. My focus was not on the allegations but on how Cosby’s widely acclaimed, record-breaking television show came to be the standard against which black families would be measured – by others and by us. What social model did it reinforce, and does its power endure in the face of Cosby’s crumbling public reputation?

Over the course of 72 breathtaking hours, I interviewed dozens of thought leaders, cultural experts, industry veterans, and academicians about that legacy and how deeply it was intertwined with his on-screen fictional persona, Heathcliff Huxtable.

Taylor hints that it’s too early to fully understand how Cosby’s legacy will be affected. She also touches on her own experiences with rape and her disgust at the details of a new lawsuit filed against Cosby Wednesday.

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.