Jean Grae occupies a unique space in entertainment, acting as a fixed point for the worlds of music, film, TV and even stand-up comedy (more on that later) to intersect. One by-product of this eclectic life is having really creative friends who occasionally start some sh*t. Comedian Hannibal Burress is credited with re-introducing the public to charges of alleged sexual assault levied against entertainment icon Bill Cosby dating back to 2004. During a recent stand-up show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia Burress quipped that the man who made The Huxtables a household name and made a practice of shaming young Blacks for their dress and behavior was an accused predator of women.
“It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f*ckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” Buress said. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”
As coincidence would have it Jean was at this show that night, offering her deft MC skills as Burress’s opening act.
“Hannibal had been telling that joke for months prior to that night,” she tells WatchLOUD.com. “I’ve seen him do that joke a few times before. He asked me to open at Trocadero. I’ve opened for him a couple times and it’s always great.”
So what does she think of him being a lightning rod for this public discussion?
“I’m super proud of Hannibal for being like ‘Hey this is something that is not ok,” she says. “Also, being a Black man who is a comedian saying ‘That’s not [good]. Might want to point that out.’ I think he did an amazing job. I’m really happy that he did, that somebody said something. And it doesn’t take away from my love for ‘The Cosby Show,’ it was an awesome show. Or Bill Cosby as a comedian and actor…that doesn’t change that for me. As far as being a terrible person? Yeah, not so good. Not so good. [But] I’m not gonna not watch ‘The Cosby Show.'”
However, she does draw the line somewhere…
“I definitely am going to stop eating Jell-O pudding pops though,” she deadpans. “And that’s not because of Bill Cosby. It’s just because nobody should be eating Jell-O pudding pops. It’s frozen pudding… and it’s not good.”