NPR logo This Just In ... A Call from Cosby

This Just In ... A Call from Cosby

So, after we get off the air, who is burning up my phone but ... Bill Cosby. First, he called producer Douglas Hopper, who then passed the phone to me.

It seems he wasn't happy with our interview with Dr. Alvin Poussaint. I've interviewed Cosby before, so I wasn't exactly surprised. He has a habit of (how shall we say it?) ... expressing his views strongly about interviews after the fact ... even, apparently, interviews that don't include him.

But we chatted. It turns out he had a great story idea for us, which I'll keep in my back pocket because we do want to pursue it. Actually, he had two great ideas.

I asked him if he wanted to record something for our Friday BackTalk segment. He said he said no. But, I took notes from our conversation. A bit of which I do want to share ...

While on the telephone, Cosby seemed to be referring to one of my questions to Dr. Poussaint, where I asked him if Cosby's initial critique of dysfunction in black America was, however well-intended, perhaps a bit too caustic, too sharp ... even demeaning.

Here's what he said:

You gotta raise your voice — you gotta speak. If you don't ... there's too much inertia, too much entropy. How can anybody sit around and watch this stuff [happening] and not cry out? ... Talk to some of these kids ... They don't know who their father is ... They're being watched [or taken care of] by an aunt ... You have to look into their eyes and see what they've already absorbed about who they're supposed to be ... It's not a time for anything [else], except to find the depths of what we need to do [to help solve the problem]... and then do it.

So, there's the passion ...