Actress Keshia Knight-Pulliam and the rest of the former ‘Cosby Show’ cast members have each found themselves on the receiving end of tough questioning about the very ugly rape scandal involving comedian Bill Cosby at least once, but Keshia seemed to speak directly to the heart of many fans conflicted about their love for the show when commenting on the touchy subject again during a recent interview.
While on a promo run for her latest film Will To Love, Keshia sat down to chat with Chris Witherspoon of The Grio where she weighed in on several relevant topics including Viola Davis’ Emmy win, Cosmo’s controversial “First Family” cover, the rape allegations against Bill Cosby and how “The Cosby Show” paved the way for other successful African-American television programs.
Speaking on whether or not she feels pressure to adhere to certain standards when selecting her acting roles given her history as a favorite child actress, she had this to say.
There is a common thread in the roles that you take. Do you think you should be held to a higher standard because you were a child star on The Cosby Show and you have an audience that knew you from way back when?
I don’t feel that it’s a higher standard. I feel that everyone would be held to the same standard. Some people might say that I’m not a role model, but when you’re in the spotlight and you’re given this platform, whether you choose to be a role model or not, you are. You have people that are watching you, inspired by you, and looking up to you. Everyone’s human. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, but I do hold that in high esteem in terms of having so many people’s attention.
When asked about her feelings on the opinion of some that the Cosby Show’s legacy has now been indefinitely tarnished, Keshia was hopeful that the show’s positive impact will be preserved by those who loved it in spite of the scandal.
Do you feel that the Cosby Show‘s legacy has been irreparably tarnished over the past year?
I hope that it hasn’t. I can say that, based upon the people that continuously approach me and talk about how it’s profoundly impacted their lives, I don’t feel you can take that back. You can’t take back the impact that it’s had on generations of kids, and it’s continuing to have such a positive impact on them. So I feel like the place that it has in people’s hearts is such a nostalgic part of childhood and beyond, it’s going to be difficult to take back those memories.
As someone who has managed to stay afloat in the industry over the years despite the difficulty many Black actresses have with landing roles in Hollywood, Keshia says she’s grateful for the progress, but still sees more work to be done in how our culture views our actors and actresses.
We just witnessed history with Viola Davis recently becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Primetime Drama. Have we reached an equal playing field for black actresses on TV?
I’m grateful and happy to see that there are so many African-American men and women from Black-ish to Viola Davis and Kerry Washington and all of these people who are taking on amazing roles that are showing African-Americans in a different light that we’ve previously been portrayed. But the fact that we’re still quantifying it as African-American versus anything else means that we still have a ways to go, because we’re not looking at it as people or human beings. Until we come to a place where we’re truly on an even playing field, where it’s not just a couple, but many, we still have work to do.
Keshia also spoke on whether or not she’ll be endorsing her former “Celebrity Apprentice” boss Donald Trump for President, what she thought of Cosmo calling the Kardashians “The First Family,” why she didn’t join the RHOA cast and her personal stance on the allegations against Bill Cosby.
You can see the rest of her comments by checking out the full interview with The Grio HERE.
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