LRM Online Exclusive: W. Kamau Bell Interview | We Need To Talk About Cosby
What do people do with the decades of admiration and joy they had towards an icon of the entertainment industry whose fall from grace is nothing short of stunning? In We Need To Talk About Cosby, director W. Kamau Bell (United Shades of America) is attempting to have that conversation.
Never Meet Your Heroes
There’s a sigh that comes from a deep and mournful place inside me whenever I think of Bill Cosby. He was so iconic that he could be recognized by his last name, but someone we thought we knew so well that many simply called him “Bill.”
They say you should never meet your heroes. With Bill Cosby, that doesn’t really begin to cover it. As a child, depending on the time period, Cosby would have been on the television in my home at a minimum, on a weekly basis. I now have to view him as the predator he’s always been. I imagine that, for others like me, that revelation is a bit of a reckoning.
Ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, I had the opportunity to speak with Kamau about how the series came into being, the response thus far and wrestling with his own feelings towards “America’s Dad.”
Kamau asks during the series: “Can you separate the art from the artist, and should you?” For me, it’s almost impossible to because this isn’t just a man that had a bad day. The hardest part for me to digest in watching the series is acknowledging the incredibly likely possibility that much of what Bill Cosby achieved was in service of his depravity. Not only that, the infrastructure that knew and sustained him because his brand was good for business.
How Does This Story End?
Bill Cosby’s case has been fascinating for me on a personal and professional level, particularly for how it’s ended. After being tried and convicted for his crimes, Cosby was freed due to the legal error of the State. This error by the previous state’s attorney has created space for those that believe he is a product of racial persecution to persist in their objections to the whole matter. In light of the justice system failing these survivors, it’s even more apparent that We Need To Talk About Cosby and the systems that allow those like him to continue hurting people.
The four-part docuseries is currently screening at the Sundance Film Festival and will premiere on Showtime 30 January, the same day it’s available via VOD.