Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

NNPA NEWSWIRE EXCLUSIVE: Bill Cosby Speaks from Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — He revisited his famous 2004 “Pound Cake” speech and clarified that he probably should not have addressed that controversial dissertation to all African Americans – the residents at SCI-Phoenix make for the perfect audience, Cosby stated. Cosby said he remains concerned, however, for all of Black America.

Published

on

Bill Cosby (Photo: Erinn C. Cosby)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

 

November 24, 2019 — Bill Cosby breaks his silence, granting his first exclusive interview since beginning his sentence at SCI-Phoenix, a maximum-security Pennsylvania penitentiary near Philadelphia.

Today, in a special phone call with the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s BlackPressUSA.com, Cosby said he’s spending his time helping to teach and encourage a large population of African American inmates – men he calls residents — via Mann Up, a prison reform program.

The 82-year-old educator and award-winning TV producer/director/comedian was sentenced to serve 3-to-10-years in Pennsylvania’s prison system following his September 2018 conviction on charges of aggravated indecent assault.

Unless he receives relief from the state’s appellate courts, Cosby said he fully anticipates serving his entire sentence, saying he’s not guilty and will never admit to something he didn’t do. Displayed remorse is generally a required prerequisite to obtaining parole or a shortened sentence.

During the exclusive interview with NNPA, Cosby was candid, vivid and outspoken.

Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, was also on the call, where Cosby stressed that there would be no ground rules or restrictions. No topics were off-the-table for discussion.

Cosby received no special treatment from the facility for this interview. Because inmates are only allowed to remain on phone calls for 15-minutes, Cosby had to call back multiple times in order to complete today’s interview.

“I have eight years and nine months left,” Cosby stated. “When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don’t care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren’t there. They don’t know.”

He said his trials were a sham, unjust and not fair.

“It’s all a set up. That whole jury thing. They were imposters,” Cosby stated.

“Look at the woman who blew the whistle,” he said, alluding to the potential juror who overheard a seated juror proclaim before the trial that, “he’s guilty, we can all go home now.”

“Then she went in and came out smiling, it’s something attorneys will tell you is called a payoff,” Cosby stated. “I know what they’ve done to my people. But my people are going to view me and say, ‘that boy looks good. That boy is strong.’ I have too many heroes that I’ve sat with. Too many heroes whom I listened to like John Henrik Clarke, Kenneth Clark, and Dorothy Height. Those people are very strong, and they saw the rejection of their people. This is political. I can see the whole thing.”

“I am a privileged man in prison,” he stated.

Bill Cosby and South African President Nelson Mandela (Photo: Erinn C. Cosby)

Bill Cosby and South African President Nelson Mandela (Photo: Erinn C. Cosby)

During the call, Cosby referred to his small cell as “my penthouse.”

He revisited his famous 2004 “Pound Cake” speech and clarified that he probably should not have addressed that controversial dissertation to all African Americans – the residents at SCI-Phoenix make for the perfect audience, Cosby stated.

Cosby said he remains concerned, however, for all of Black America.

“They are under siege. This thing with the drugs and the different pockets of the neighborhoods where it’s going on. When you look at what drugs are doing… things that make these people drive around and shoot into crowds,” Cosby said.

“The insanity of what is the cause to the brain by all the drugs these people are dealing with. It’s exactly what I warned them about in 2004. They’ve thrown education out the window.

“They’ve thrown respect for the family out the window, and they’re blaming each other for what’s going on. There is post-traumatic stress syndrome, and there are also bad manners.”

While inmates who spoke to NNPA Newswire said they were saddened to see an icon like Cosby imprisoned, each said they believe he’s serving a higher purpose. Cosby agreed.

“I don’t belong to the Mann Up Association, but it’s a privilege to come in and speak,” Cosby stated. “I never wanted them to lord me up (be put on a pedestal). This is a great privilege.”

Anthony Sutton (left) and Tyree Wallace are participants in Mann Up, a reform program with weekly meetings where Cosby is often the featured speaker. The program serves to encourage and empower African American men to strive for self-respect and dignity, and to put their family first.

Anthony Sutton (left) and Tyree Wallace are participants in Mann Up, a reform program with weekly meetings where Cosby is often the featured speaker. The program serves to encourage and empower African American men to strive for self-respect and dignity, and to put their family first.

A weekly highlight for Cosby since his incarceration, has been the reform program, Mann Up, where he is often the featured speaker. The program serves to encourage and empower African American men to strive for self-respect and dignity, and to put their family first.

Anthony “Benny-Do” Sutton, Tyree Wallace, Robert Groves, and Michael Butler, each spoke from SCI-Phoenix to NNPA Newswire about the program and Cosby’s influence.

“Every Tuesday, Mr. Cosby and I sit down and talk before the other residents come in and he explains to me what moves I need to make so that Mann Up can be a success,” stated Sutton, 56, who has spent his entire adult life in prison.

“He says to always remember to work as a team. We are all in this life together and Mr. Cosby is a political prisoner and he tells us that we’ve got to save our babies. We can’t be out there killing our children and our women,” Sutton stated.

Wallace, who has served more than two decades in prison, said Cosby has also opened his eyes because of his authenticity.

“This powerful man, one of the best comics, a legend and here he is with us,” Wallace told NNPA Newswire.

“Mr. Cosby comes into the room with his fist in the air and all of these men rise up and applaud him. He gives us so much wisdom and the Mann Up program is the perfect vehicle. He told us a story about his mother, and how she would have him clean the hallways after guys would go and urinate. He said he’d ask her why he had to clean it, and she told him that you have to clean where you live,” Wallace said.

Groves and Butler echoed their peers.

Both have served more than a dozen years in prison and said Cosby’s presence has helped them to see their lives differently.

Cosby recalled entering Temple University as a young man in the 1960s and his desire to become a teacher.

“I’m not a psychiatrist, and I’m not a psychologist. I’m an educator, and what I look forward to is talking to this group of 400 or so men. Some of them here are in their 70s, in their 50s, their 40s, 30s, and 20s,” Cosby said.

“I tell them what I know and what I feel. I feel that everything that I said in 2004, there is a light [behind it],” Cosby stated.

“The mistake I made [in 2004] is making it sound like all the people were making the infractions, and that’s not true.”

Cosby stated that he believes he’s in the right place at the right time because he’s spent his life and career trying to reach African American men.

“I’m looking at a state [Pennsylvania] that has a huge number of prisons, and the one I’m in, thankfully, has the largest population of African Americans,” Cosby stated.

“These are guys who are also from Philadelphia, where I grew up. Many of them are from the neighborhood. Michael Eric Dyson said ‘Bill Cosby is rich and forgot where he came from.’

“That’s not true. I’m not calling him a liar; I’m saying that’s not true. What I’m saying is that it’s not the same neighborhood as it was when I was coming up.

“The influx of drugs and what they’ve done with their own history. If they would pay attention to these things and put education first and respect for others first…it’s almost insane to hear someone say they don’t know how to be a father.

“As I said earlier, the revolution is in the home, and we’ve got to put it there. Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On,’ is very prophetic in that too many of us are dying in these neighborhoods. Too many of us dying and, another quote from the song, is ‘we’ve got to find a way.’”

It’s easy to see the devaluation of the Black family by others, Cosby stated.

“When ‘The Cosby Show’ came on with the Huxtables, just think about it. While it was running, other networks and even the media were doing jobs on trying to belittle whatever it represented,” Cosby stated. (Photo: NBC / Universal)

“When ‘The Cosby Show’ came on with the Huxtables, just think about it. While it was running, other networks and even the media were doing jobs on trying to belittle whatever it represented,” Cosby stated. (Photo: NBC / Universal)

He said the shelving of his iconic “The Cosby Show” is proof that those in power have long conspired to remove anything positive from the Black community.

“When ‘The Cosby Show’ came on with the Huxtables, just think about it. While it was running, other networks and even the media were doing jobs on trying to belittle whatever it represented,” Cosby stated.

Then, with ‘A Different World,’ they really ramped up the rhetoric. “While new shows were coming and we had gone off the air – this is the worst time in the history of television – I remember hearing shows coming on advertising saying this is not ‘The Cosby Show,’ which is an indictment in itself.

“They did not like what ‘The Cosby Show’ looked like for us, and many of us traded into it. Now, look at what has happened. They’ve taken everything that I’ve done and swept it into a place where it would not be shown.

“Thank goodness for TV One and BET, but we’ve got to respect ourselves. We’ve got to have a very, very strong respect for our history.”

Behind the steel walls at SCI-Phoenix, Cosby said he’s at peace.

His fellow residents often ask about his contemporaries like Richard Pryor, whom Cosby once encouraged to use profanity because it fit Pryor’s act.

“It’s a huge smile in my spirit. I can… use their own profanity back at them. I’m saying things to them like, ‘how many times if you have a lamp, do you rub it, give it three wishes. And, how many times can you say mother f—-r and things will come true?” Cosby stated.

“Sometimes, you have to turn on the conjugation of things like slang. You speak it in the home, and that’s what I said in 2004. It was the shock of hearing, ‘Where you is?’, and ‘Where you at?’ and then hear the parents say it too.”

Cosby believes he’s reaching his fellow residents.

“I’m reaching them because they want to be reached. They’re in prison. I don’t forget a saying, one I quoted or read in a book, which says, ‘I don’t know the secret to success, but I do know the secret for failure.’ You can’t please everybody. I have a feeling that these people [Mann Up participants] really want somebody. They have rappers here who are strong and spirited people. They don’t just blame people; they say, ‘we’ve got to do it.’”

Cosby has also served as a voice of reason in prison.

“I heard a guy say to someone that if someone did something he didn’t like, he’d go out and get all his boys and they’d kill the fella. I said, how much sense does that make? You call your boys, and they want to kill him,” Cosby stated.

“I said to look at all the people you’ve got involved, and when you get caught, you are all going to jail, and you got one dead fella. ‘Call if off,’ I told the guy. I said to him that you need to call your friends, too.”

Cosby often tells his fellow residents about an epiphany he had while serving in the Navy, which has allowed him to remain in good spirits while behind bars.

“I got a wife, family, and friends who are so happy that I have something. I go into my penthouse and lay down and start to think about how I can relay a message and give it on Saturdays (during Mann Up sessions) so that they would hear it and feel it,” Cosby stated.

“This Saturday, I gave a talk dedicated to women. I told the story of my wife, who said to me when she got back home after bringing our 43-year-old daughter back home dead from the hospital. It was the most difficult thing she’s ever done in her life, to sit there and watch her daughter die,” he stated.

“From there, I went into the fact that mothers have something that we all have, which is a navel. We have to respect our mothers and our women. We’ve got to stop buying drugs. If you have no buyer, you can’t sell,” Cosby stated.

After calling back a third time to complete the interview, Cosby said he needed to express the critical role the Black Press has had in telling his story.

“Sixty-five years from now, they will be quoting what you’ve written about your fellow journalists. [Wyatt] has information on how these people have rejected the truth. You have the information too because you were in that courtroom,” he stated.

“I’m a privileged man. You talk to [NNPA President and CEO] Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and he will tell you that there is a history of Black political imprisonment in America, and it’s repeating itself in some kind of way.”

Continue Reading
9 Comments

#NNPA BlackPress

FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From “I Am Not Your Negro” to “High on the Hog,” each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.
The post FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

By The Houston Defender | Word in Black

The AFRO’s October Special Edition is all about the roots of our culture, our family lineage and the return to old ways and traditions. Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by our Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From I Am Not Your Negro to High on the Hog, each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.

#10: Attica (2021) 

In September 1971, Attica Prison became the location of one of the largest prison riots in US history, taking place just weeks after revolutionary activist George Jackson was murdered by prison guards at Rikers Island, an act that initiated the birth of Black August and the prison reform movement. The constant abject cruelty and inhumane treatment doled out to the incarcerated (who were overwhelmingly Black and Latinx) by Attica guards (all White) created the context. The riot itself, and its aftermath, are something all human beings should be required to reckon with.

#9: Quincy (2018) 

If you’re Black, it literally doesn’t matter when you were born, what generation you’re a part of, or where you’re from. You’ve been impacted by the genius of Quincy Jones. We’ve all been influenced by the genius of Quincy Jones. The music he made, the albums he produced, the artists he developed, the movies he scored, and about a gazillion other things Jones did, means, as I’ve already said, if you’re Black, Quincy has had a hand in your life. Don’t believe me. What Black person do you know who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan, who hasn’t seen The Wiz, or who doesn’t have a family member who worships jazz music? Quincy Jones had his hand in all that and so much more. Directed by one of his daughters, actress Rashida Jones, this doc is most definitely a must see.

#8: Four Little Girls (1997) 

On Sept. 15, 1963, just 18 short days after the much-celebrated March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, four African American girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had been attending the church’s Sunday school, were killed in the blast, an act of White domestic terrorism that served as a horrific and sober reminder that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not enough to end the hold the myth of White supremacy had on so many. Director Spike Lee tells this powerfully compelling and important story as only he can.

#7: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) 

For generations that came after the Baby Boomers, it’s hard for us to fully fathom how big a star Sam Cooke was. Think of the biggest singer of any generation. That was Sam Cooke in his heyday. And not only was he hyper-talented, but not only did he call some of the biggest names in Black history his personal friends (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X just to name a few), Cooke was a man of the people. And he was heavily invested in the Civil Rights Movement and an advocate for Black self-determination and Black ownership. Cooke even pulled a “Prince” long before Prince—gaining ownership of his own music, something that was as rare then as it is today. This documentary chronicles Cooke’s life, rise to fame, and eventual end, though his influence never died.

#6: Thunder Soul (2010) 

Here’s a hometown entry. Thunder Soul spotlights the extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band which the iconic Conrad Johnson led. These alums return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old ‘Prof’, their beloved band leader who transformed the schools struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. This one will have you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. Check it out.

#5: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (2021)  

In this documentary, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson “draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.” It’s that simple, and yet that complex. And it goes without saying; it’s a must see.

#4: Jeen-Yuhs (2022) 

No matter where you score on the Love Ye / Hate Ye scale, this 2022 documentary about his rise to superstardom is beyond compelling. I mean, who thinks to chronicle their every move from the moment they start pursuing their dream until they either give up on it or see it to fruition and beyond? Who does that? No one but this negro Kanye. He may be the only human being with an ego big enough to conceive of such a project. And believe me, the scope and scale of this documentary match that galaxy-sized self-obsession brahman has that make him both insanely talented and just plain insane at the same time.

#3: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 

This documentary by Raoul Peck, director of Exterminate All the Brutes (2021) which made the first list of must-see documentaries, introduced the brilliance and unabashed Black of James Baldwin to a whole new generation. Described as a work that imagines the completion of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House (about Baldwin’s personal reflections on and recollections of three of his personal friends who were killed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I Am Not Your Negro is about so much more.

#2: The Last Dance (2020) 

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get caught up in the chronicling of the last run at an NBA championship by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls who had been told before the season began that the team would be broken up. The doc not only takes you on that 1996 Bulls’ championship ride, but it also digs deep into the past of players, coaches, and family members, spotlighting triumphs and tragedies that are part of the human story, not just the story of professional athletes.

#1: High on the Hog 

How African American Cuisine Transformed America (2021)

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for anything that celebrates our history, especially those things that connect us to our African roots and our Pan-African family. This documentary does all that and more. Because the main character is food. Our food. The stuff we grew up on. The meals many of us are eating right now, and never stopped eating since our youth. This beautifully filmed, beautifully narrated piece of art is full of both the familiar and the foreign; or rather, things we’ve come to believe are foreign to us, but are really part of our story and our heritage. And the okra on top? High on the Hog has a powerful H-Town connection. A few, in fact.

This list of documentaries based on the roots of African American culture was compiled by Word In Black.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades

NNPA NEWSWIRE — According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.
The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

Black Information Network | Atlanta Daily World

A new lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alleges that the U.S. government discriminated against Black veterans for decades.

On Monday (November 28), the suit was filed by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) on behalf of Vietnam War veteran Conley Monk Jr, whose applications for education, housing, and disability benefits have been denied since he returned home from the war, per The Hill.

According to the suit, discrimination by the VA has left Black veterans without benefits more frequently than their white counterparts.

Yale’s VLSC said the lawsuit could “provide a legal pathway for Black veterans to seek reparations from the VA.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the VA accountable for years of discriminatory conduct,” Adam Henderson, a law student working with the VLSC on the case, said in a statement, per the Hill.

“VA leaders knew, or should have known, that they were administering benefits in a discriminatory manner, yet they failed to address this unlawful bias,” Henderson added. “Mr. Monk — and thousands of Black veterans like him — deserve redress for the harms caused by these negligently administered programs.”

According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said the agency is working to combat “institutional racism.”

“Throughout history, there have been unacceptable disparities in both VA benefits decisions and military discharge status due to racism, which have wrongly left Black veterans without access to VA care and benefits,” Hayes said. “We are actively working to right these wrongs.”

The post U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans For Decades: Lawsuit appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together, when Bennet gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday.
The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

‘A Basketball Hero is Born’ is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which aims to inspire youth to make a positive change in their communities and the world in general

Widely celebrated African American author, Jerald LeVon Hoover, is once again inspiring young people to make a positive change in their communities with the launch of a new children’s book. Titled A Basketball Hero is Born, the new children’s reading book contains colorful pictures that warm the heart and keep young readers glued to its pages.

The plot follows the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson who gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday. Affectionately naming the new basketball “Lucky,” the story unfolds as young Bennett tries to take his new best friend everywhere, including the dinner table, to school, and to bed when it is time for sleep.

Jerald L. Hoover

Jerald L. Hoover

Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into Bennett’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together. Currently available for purchase on Amazon, A Basketball Hero is Born is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which emphasizes instilling a love of sports and friendship in young readers.

About The Author

Jerald L. Hoover is a multi-talented individual with countless accomplishments in the creative, literary, and entertainment worlds. After winning an award for “The Best New Male Writer of the Year” for his fictional novel, My Friend, My Hero Jerald went on to be listed from 1994 – 1996 as a best-selling author among young Black writers in various African American publications. In 1995, he was awarded the Writers Corp Award by then-President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Jerald was inducted into the Mount Vernon Boy’s and Girl’s Club Hall of Fame. Since then, Jerald has won several other awards and is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a childhood speech impediment.

The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending