By Bill Vaughan
“We Need To Talk About Cosby,” a revealing four-part docuseries from Emmy-winning director W. Kamau Bell offering an in-depth look at the revolutionary career and personal descent of Bill Cosby, premieres on Showtime Jan. 30 at 10 p.m., with all episodes available across their streaming and On Demand platforms.
Bell, a 48-year-old Bay Area native who grew up idolizing the renowned comedian, actor, philanthropist, and African-American icon, admits it was deeply personal exploring Cosby’s fall from “America’s Dad” to alleged sexual predator accused by more than 60 women going as far back as nearly 60 years.
“As a child of Bill Cosby, I was a huge fan of all his shows and wanted to be a comedian because of him,” said Bell who made good on his desire. “I never thought I’d ever wrestle with who we all thought Cosby was and who we now understand him to be. I’m not sure he would want me to do this work, but Cliff Huxtable definitely would.”
The compelling series does an expert job of juggling the many archival clips with insights from the likes of Doug E. Doug, Godfrey, Joseph C. Phillips, educators, journalists and Cosby survivors.
Through it we realize that Cosby reveals who he may have been all along — the antithesis of the principled, public figure who became a hero, not only to African-American people but to all people.
While pondering whether he will fall victim to cancel culture with this effort, Bell told Tasty Clips he is hard at work on a seventh season of his “day job,” the Emmy Award-winning CNN docuseries “United Shades of America.”
In addition, to co-hosting the podcast “Politically Re-Active,” he has a second book, “Do the Work: An Anti-Racist Activity Book,” co-written by Kate Schatz, forthcoming from Workman in July.
We closed by talking about who this year should get the Oscar — Denzel Washington with “The Tragedy of Macbeth” or Will Smith’s “King Richard.”
“Do you know who you’re asking,” screamed Bell who also co-hosts the podcast, “Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time, Period.” “I haven’t even seen Macbeth yet, and he wins. I mean, no disrespect to Will, and all.”
TICKET WATCH: Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Nelly, Kool & The Gang, Norah Jones, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy, Third World, David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval, Kermit Ruffins, Big Freedia, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Cee Lo Green tributing James Brown and many more are set for this year’s returning New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 29–May 8). For details, visit nojazzfest.com.
PEEP THIS: After watching Cynthia Erivo’s “Harriet” [Tubman] incredulously making so many trips by foot leading enslaved people to freedom, Tasty Clips wondered who could even do such a thing today.
Personal trainer and author Metra Lundy shows who in “A Walk In Her Shoes.” In the feature-length documentary, being released in time to commemorate the bicentennial of Tubman’s birth, the personal trainer and author recreates her 695-mile journey from Maryland to Canada on foot.
Along the way, the filmmaker interviews Underground Railroad historians, social workers, and community leaders, bringing the scope of Tubman’s epic journeys into a poignant and unprecedented present-day context. View it on DVD/Digital (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google).
CLIPPETTES: Producer/Director Lee Daniels is reteaming with his “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” star Andra Day for an exorcism film. Octavia Spencer, Aunjanue Ellis, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin and Glenn Close round out the cast of the Netflix movie …
D Smoke, the Inglewood artist who gained notoriety as champion and breakout star of Netflix’ “Rhythm + Flow,” hits The Roxy on Jan. 28; as Poncho Sanchez jams at The Coach House; and prolific jazz and funk artist Georgia Anne Muldrow performs live and virtually with tickets at Redcat.org …
On Jan. 30, Robert Glasper is “Celebrating 10 Years of Black Radio” at the Vermont Hollywood. Also that evening, R&B singer Donell Jones is at the Saban Theatre; Action Bronson & Earl Sweatshirt’s NBA Leather Tour hits the Hollywood Palladium; and celebrity friends are gathering for a Slink Johnson (“Black Jesus”) birthday party with a Smoke & Roast at Catch One …
Tracee Ellis Ross and Soledad O’Brien are part of the virtual panel Health and Well-Being for Small Businesses on Feb. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. Visit intuit.swoogo.com/bhm/splash for more …
Later, Sun Ra Arkestra represents at Zebulon Café; and The Kid Laroi begins a two-night stand at The Novo …
Breakthrough country artist Jimmie Allen sings Feb. 3 at the Troubadour: as “Power” star Rotimi croons at the El Rey Theatre.
TASTY QUIP: “It’s still surreal. It is such a dicey, delicate situation that requires a great deal of respect. That’s a personal thing that he’s going to have to deal with. Chris [Noth]’s character’s obviously a big part of the show and it was amazing chemistry, amazing chemistry. And my feeling is justice has to prevail regardless. I just want the right things to be done, you know?” – QUEEN LATIFAH on the departure of her co-star on CBS’ “The Equalizer” due to charges of sexually inappropriate behavior.
TC ON TV: Jan. 28 – “The Afterparty” (AppleTV+): Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson (“Veep”), Zoë Chao (“Love Life”), Ike Barinholtz (“The Mindy Project”), Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”) and Dave Franco are featured in this murder mystery satire set at a high school reunion. “All Of Us Is Dead” (Netflix): Like “Train To Busan” only now the zombies are at an Asian prep school. “The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window” (Netflix): Kristen Bell and Michael Ealy star in this murder comedy series. “Janet Jackson” (Lifetime/A&E): The two-night, four-hour documentary promises an unfiltered look at the global icon culled from full, unprecedented access, archival footage, never-before seen home videos and insights from Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey, Q-Tip, Janelle Monae, Teyana Taylor, Tyler Perry, and more. “Ready To Love” (OWN): Right after last week’s reunion show, a new season is here. “Magnum P.I.” (CBS): Benny Boom directs with Moon Bloodgood guest starring. “My Killer Body with K. Michelle” (Lifetime): The R&B chart topper and reality star comes to the rescue of folks with botched plastic surgery procedures. “Chillin Island” (HBO): Coi Leroy and Rosalia visit in the season finale.
Jan. 30 – “Delicious Miss Brown” (Food): Chef Kardea Brown is “Shaking Up Soul Food” “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” (ABC): Von Miller, Laverne Cox “Underground Railroad: The Secret History” (Science): Clark Johnson (“Homicide”) narrates this series utilizing cutting edge technology to bring to light the secret pathways, communities and outposts that provided refuge to Freedom Seekers.
Jan. 31 – “Black Market with Michael K. Williams” (Vice): “Cannabiz” “Independent Lens” (PBS): “Missing In Brooks County” examines the disappearances of missing migrants along the U.S./Mexico border. “Celebrating Betty White: America’s Golden Girl” (NBC): Friends and stars will pay tribute in this one-hour special.
Feb. 1 – “Raising Dion” (Netflix): A second season of the sci-fi series about a mother navigating her son’s emerging superpower starring Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young and a recurring Michael B. Jordan. “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power” (SHO): Tells the complex story of the representative who served in Congress for nearly two decades with remarks by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cory Booker, Van Jones, John Lewis, Alice Walker, Ayanna Pressley and Danny Glover. “Naomi” (CW): Neema Barnette directed the episode written by Stephanie Coggins.
Feb. 2 – “Celebrity Big Brother” (CBS): Expect fireworks. “I Can See Your Voice” (Fox): Macy Gray, Loni Love, Adrienne Houghton
Feb. 3 – “Raised By Wolves” (HBO Max): Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim are back as androids set out to raise human children on a mysterious planet after Earth is ravaged by a great religious war. “Soul Of A Nation” (ABC): “Screen Queens Rising”
END QUOTE: “Darling, clothes are not important in this pandemic. What’s important is your strength that comes from your faith, your values. All of that is very ingrained in you, so therefore, you can survive.” – ANDRE LEON TALLEY
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.