Discussion post

Required Reading and Watching:

Read: The Social Construction of the African American Family on Broadcast Television: A Comparative Analysis of The Cosby Show and Blackish (Stamps, 2017), p. 405-420.2. Read: The Cosby Show: The View from the Black Middle Class (Inniss & Feagin, 1995)3. Media: Season 3, episode 4 of Black-ish: Whos Afraid of the Big Black Man (Hulu)4. Watch: Clips of The Cosby Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRB1PT-okaI (Thanks for dealing with the low-quality clips!)5. Media: All American, any episode (Hulu)

The Cosby Show presented a counter-narrative to 1980s gang violence that the public found positive when it originally aired. But even while it was still on the air scholars (like the Inniss & Feagin article) pointed out that counter-narratives lack of validity, and explained why it was problematic. This week we will consider the legacy of The Cosby Show as compared with todays popular NBC comedy Black-ish, another show about an African American family headed by two economically successful parents. Id like you to weigh in on the importance of The Cosby Shows legacy and compare The Cosby Show to current representations of black families on TV like Black-ish or All-American.

Compare Stamps (2017) discussions of The Cosby Show and Black-ish. Does Black-ish or a show like All-American succeed in addressing social justice issues in ways the The Cosby Show failed: Do they tackle real-world issues and public narratives relevant to black families? If yes, how so? If not, why, do you think?
How has time changed the lenses through which we view Cosby and Black-ish? Or consider All-American, how does it bridge the worlds between affluent upwardly mobile Black families and their White counterparts? How do generational and geographic changes collide for dramatic effect?
If youre more familiar with The Cosby Show outside of this course, do you agree with Inniss and Feagin, who, argue that the overall message of The Cosby Show was problematic from the start and continues to be problematic today? Why or why not?
When considering legacy, how does actor and comedian Bill Cosbys conviction for sexual assault effect The Cosby Shows place in television history? Can we still enjoy the work of actors who have fallen from grace? Why or why not?