BY JASMINE JACKSON
The Smithsonian's National Museam of African American History and Cutlure will include the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. The New York Times, reported the plans for the museam last month and noticed that Cosby will be included in an exhibit on black entertainers and artist. However, it wasn't mentioned that more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct.
On March 31, the museams founding director Lonnie Bunch released a statement:
There have been many misconceptions and mistaken notions about the presence of Bill Cosby within the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibition, “Taking the Stage,” that explores the history of African American participation in film, theatre and television. This is not an exhibition that “honors or celebrates” Bill Cosby but one that acknowledges his role, among many others, in American entertainment. Some people feel that the Smithsonian should eliminate all mention of Bill Cosby as a result of recent revelations. We understand but respectfully disagree. For too long, aspects of African American history have been erased and undervalued, creating an incomplete interpretation of the American past. This museum seeks to tell, in the words of the eminent historian John Hope Franklin, “the unvarnished truth” that will help our visitors to remember and better understand what has often been erased and forgotten. Like all of history, our interpretation of Bill Cosby is a work in progress, something that will continue to evolve as new evidence and insights come to the fore. Visitors will leave the exhibition knowing more about Mr. Cosby’s impact on American entertainment, while recognizing that his legacy has been severely damaged by the recent accusations.
Johnnetta Cole, director of the Snothsonian's National Museam of African Art said, " It is not about the life and career of Bill Cosby but rather is about the interplay of artistic creativity in remarkable works of African and African-American art and what visitors can learn from the stories this art tells."
The exhibit will include one of Cosby's comedy records, " I Started Out as a Child" from 1964, video clips from The Cosby Show and I Spy and a comic book from his show, I Spy.