He was staying off the stage, although I had seen him as Master of Ceremonies all night. He was not present as I stood on stage prepared to give Sean Combs the "Renaissance Man Of The Decade, " his well-deserved award, at the annual Jackie Robinson foundation event. Sean had delivered from Broadway to Hollywood to music to fashion to liquor and countless other industries plus done so much social, political and philanthropic work in his young career. He has been a true role model to me.
So there I was about to give the man of the hour his award but still I wondered where Bill Cosby was, the evening's MC. I knew I had once said he was too judgmental of black folks and especially rappers, but I also knew for sure that he had dedicated his life to the betterment of our people and I have come to understand his feelings that we and the next generation had let him down. We didn't march through the doors he, Harry Belafonte and the Civil Rights movement opened. When I look back, I feel remorse for judging him. And it has been a source of a "rap beef" for years. He has been critical of the poets but I have maintained that the entertainment, especially most of the poets, are simple reflections of cultures of truth. Anyhow, I wanted to find him to apologize and tell him I was sorry about my statements and to tell him that I loved him. Suddenly I turned and he was behind the curtain and I said, "I love you" and he responded on some real hip-hop, "Get the fuck out my face!"
I took it in stride but I wondered if he recognized the effect the heroin or crack epidemics had created. Or worse "the war on drugs" that became the war on poor black America, sending diseased kids to jail and educating them in criminal behavior then dumping them back as hardened criminals to poison the communities. Still today, the only factory giving out jobs in many urban cities is the corner drugstores and the education for those jobs is the street corner life. Or does he see the systematic white supremacist attitude that, although it may be subtle, is still a burden to many African Americans. I wondered if he understood what Elijah Muhammad said about the condition of some of black America; that some black men's brains had been so tarnished or chained during slavery, Jim Crow and even now, that when the chains come off they still don't move.
The debate about what happened to black America is ongoing and I am reminded of it everyday on the website I founded, GlobalGrind.com. Certainly if anyone knew their way out of suffering and into spiritual and economic freedom, they would take it. Still, I guess someone has to judge and someone has to hold out a liberal loving hand. Hopefully one day soon the decline in productivity by black men and the black community will turn around. It might take people like him and the president to analyze or at least mention the possible causes of the poverty mindset that exists in parts of our communities that are filled with hopelessness, violence and struggle.
Anyhow, I love Bill. His next move was straight up old school pre b-boy hood shit. He walked by me and bumped me with his shoulder as I walked off stage after presenting my award to Sean, just like the cool ass character in Let's Do It Again. I then loved him even more. He's from the same hood I'm from, just got a lucky break like me, cause I am those suffering men. And after that elbow, I knew he was too.
Let's all discuss the real causes of the suffering and not point our finger at a few poets who are mere reflections of a reality that needs all of our attention.