What I learned from the Bill Cosby Verdict for Black Business & Branding

What I learned from the Bill Cosby Verdict, Black Business & Branding

Let me begin by saying, I am in no wise condoning the actions (albeit true or false) of Bill Cosby. The purpose of this blog is to help Black business owners see the bigger picture of running a business. And, to give observations and breakdowns on the pitfalls that can take you out of your game.

During a recent conversation with a few friends about the Bill Cosby saga, one particular person responded to my black business thoughts related to Bill Cosby with the following:

Very good and interesting post. However, less to do with branding or “black business.” Just good old morals and values in life. We have to indeed aspire to travel that path less followed or we will indeed fall. The devil will indeed call you by you sin but Jesus will always call you by your name. The whole situation is heartbreaking and saddening…no one wins.

My response:

Your points speak well. And, I agree, in part. Black businesses and their branding continue to undergo much scrutiny in situations like this. All celebrity status is a business at the end of the day. They exchange the value of service for money. Also, years of being a celebrity equals establishing of a brand. My take on his situation speaks more to lessons to learn from a business perspective. My current lens and worldview is from a (black woman) business owner and one developing a brand to my market. We should have morals, values and ethics in life and business. However, living up to and following them is another story.

Should Black owners be led by morals, values, and ethics? Because one doesn’t use them in specific situations can’t possibly mean they have no upbringing in them. I conclude there’s a lack of awareness when situations present themselves.

Awareness is imperative to any business owner.

Bill Cosby & The Cosby Show

I watched on television the other night “The Cosby Show” episode, where he accepted Sandman’s tap dance challenge.

Of course, I laughed hysterically as if seeing it for the first time.

Then, BOOM! Just like that, while laughing, I couldn’t help but think about his current critical status and nakedness in the public’s eye.

What I learned from the Bill Cosby Verdict for Black Business & BrandingBill Cosby the Black American Businessman

We know him as the all American Black father figure. The character who loves Mrs. Clair Huxtable, little Rudy, Vanessa, Sandra, & Theo.

This show painted him as the “perfect” example of the all American dream. And, proves the definition of a white hegemonic reality for Blacks.

But, in terms of black business, he’s just that— a black businessman who once had a respectable brand.

Might I add, he was and still remains married to a lovely educated woman, Dr. Camille Cosby, (Ph.D.) graduate of the University of Massachusetts.

She continues to stand firmly by his side even as his honorary doctorates get stripped from his community service efforts.

According to Yahoo News, Camille speaks publicly for the first time from being silent during this entire debacle.

She compares all of her husband’s encounters to the Emmett Till (1955) and Darryl Hunt (1994) trials.

But, for Black business, he is a black businessman to build his brand for roughly 57 years and make millions.

Like Bill Cosby & Others, Key Decisions Are Vital To Your Black Business & Brand

It’s amazing how decisions can make or break your business and brand. Bill Cosby’s brand was worth $400 million dollars. It’s now crumbled from sex and drugs.

Take for instance Wikipedia and how it recently updated the Bill Cosby page (mini-bio) to the words “sex offender.”

Also, check out these headlines from a mere 24 hours ago.

SUNY rescinds honorary degrees for Bill Cosby and James Levine

Janice Dickinson ‘delighted’ by Bill Cosby’s expulsion from Academy

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Boots Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski

Bill Cosby Was Once Worth $400 Million. Now He’s Facing Financial Ruin

At the end of the day, bad choices are not worth it.

If you’re a writer, business owner, married, retired, leader, etc. guard and protect your brand, business, and life at all costs.

You just don’t risk things with some folk, especially the “empire” you’ve poured sweat, blood and tears in to build.

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Black Business & Branding

Branding is hard and takes YEARS to accomplish. Building an honorable reputation is hard and takes YEARS to do, too.

Your brand distinguishes you from any competition. Branding maintains roots in business, marketing, and advertising.

Antwon Davis, a Black business owner, recently told NBC News “Nationwide there are more than 2.6 million black-owned businesses. But eight out of 10 fail within the first year and a half because of a lack of exposure, a lack of capital, and a lack of business acumen.”

The stats above show how and why it’s difficult for Black business owners to even survive. And, since many fail within their first years, they haven’t touched the surface for branding a product or service.

Without a strategic marketing plan, a committed team, and capital, branding cannot begin for your business.

Branding your business takes understanding your market. Their wants and needs will become apart of brand’s story.

Building your story for brand requires some transparency. Feeling comfortable to expose the good, bad and ugly in parts of your life that connect with your business automatically comes with the territory. But, most importantly, you will also talk about triumphs from failures and poor decisions.

To understand more about branding your business, read more here.


I mentioned earlier that choices can make or break your brand/reputation.

Guess what? Toxic people connected to your black business and brand not only can do but will do the same.

Will I continue to watch his comedy, shows, and movies? Probably so. Do his acts impact my life?

Nope! I’ve just learned more so what NOT to do in black business and branding.

Hopefully, many of you got the gist of the lesson as well.

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you. I read and respond to my community.

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