Kiese Laymon in LitHub [h/t: Wendy S. Walters]:
When I was 17 years old, one day after the series finale of The Cosby Show, a 15-year-old black girl named Annie Glover* talked to me about sexual violence at Donnie G’s* party. I listened.
Then she asked me to talk back.
Donnie didn’t drink our entire senior year because he wanted a basketball scholarship. I lied and told Donnie that I wasn’t drinking for the same reason.
Before Donnie’s party, Donnie and I bought two 40-ounces of St. Ides, poured out the malt liquor and filled both empty bottles with apple juice. We checked each other’s noses for floating boogers, checked our breath for that dragon and stuffed our mouths with green Now & Laters. When Donnie’s doorbell rang, we stumbled around the house, whispering Jodeci lyrics inches under the earlobes of girls who didn’t run from us.
About three hours into Donnie’s party, Annie Glover, a friend of Donnie’s sister, asked me to follow her into one of the bedrooms. I walked in the dark room behind Annie Glover loud-rapping Phife’s “Scenario” verse. Once we were both in the room, I complimented Annie Glover on her hair I couldn’t see and asked her where she got the perfume I couldn’t smell. I turned on the light. Annie Glover just sat on the edge of Donnie’s bed, her fists filled with the comforter, her eyes staring towards the window. I wondered how drunk she was.
“You, you look like Theo Huxtable tonight,” I remember Annie Glover stuttering as she got up and turned the light off.
I was a sweaty, baldheaded, 6’1, 240-pound black boy from Jackson, Mississippi. I owned one pair of jeans (some fake Girbauds that were actually my Mama’s) and one decent sweatshirt. Nothing about me looked, moved or sounded like Theo Huxtable.
When Annie Glover asked me if I wanted to see her boobs, I ignored her question, assumed she was definitely drunk, and tried to tell her what I hated about The Cosby Show. The sweaters, the corny kids, the problems that weren’t problems, the smooth jazz, the manufactured cleanliness, the nonexistent poverty residue just didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t only that the Cosbys were never broke, or in need of money, or that none of their black family members and friends were ever in material need of anything important: it was the complete lack of structural, interpersonal or psychological violence in the world that Bill Cosby created. Only in science fiction could a black man doctor who delivered mostly white babies, and a black woman lawyer who worked at a white law firm, come home and never once talk mess about the heartbreaking, violent machinations of white folks at both of their jobs, and the harassing, low down, predictable advances of men at Claire’s office. I remember telling Annie Glover that never in the history of real black folks could black life as depicted on The Cosby Show ever exist. And it only existed on Cosby’s show because Bill Cosby seemed obsessed with how white folks watched black folks watch ourselves watch him.
I didn’t exactly say it that way, though.