Bill Cosby used his trademark humor and storytelling style to chide hundreds gathered Saturday at the Essence Music Festival’s empowerment seminars into talking to their children about real life and, in the process, keeping it simple.
“We’ve got to lay it out for them,” Cosby said when asked about how to help cut the rate of teen pregnancies in America. “Let’s tell them about life. You’re 14 and having sex. OK. So, what kind of job do you have?”
Cosby, who received a standing ovation when he walked on stage, said the African-American community must get involved if change is going to occur in any area.
“Apathy is strangling you to death,” he said, to rousing applause and a few ‘Amens’ from the crowd.
“Get up. Stay on the scene. Be a studying machine,” he said, drawing from soul singer James Brown’s lyrics.
“We need to start getting into people’s business. We need to say, ‘Hey, I’m your cousin man, I’m your brother, I’m your sister and I don’t care if you don’t talk to me anymore but your teenage daughter ain’t got no business dressing like that!’ Tell them.”