They say watch the company you keep. I bet that’s resonating with you right now. Let me start off first by saying your friend Bill, his mistakes have become your problem. People don’t like you because of him. That must make you sad. It definitely makes me shed a few tears. However, I’d like to share a few things with you that might make you smile again.
Being a lonely black boy in a town not known for its fondness for black boys… sucked! The summers were hot. The crackheads were really really ornery and I wasn’t good at basketball. Each sweltering afternoon was spent inside my house, in the basement, on a mattress, watching you and your family’s adventures on TV. I studied you, hoping you’d lead me to some answer that would get me out of my basement. I didn’t find the answer, but I did learn a few things along the way. Like:
- The night time is the right time– Celebrating loving relationships is a good thing. Black people ain’t got to be fighting all the time.
- Hanging with Stevie Wonder is cool, but Theo is not -“Jamming on the one” is not a hip phrase all the cool kids in the 80’s were saying.
- You can knock boots and still be in love – Mr. and Mrs. Huxtable knocked boots at least every other episode… and all their babies were legitimate.
- Cell phone throwing models love nerds – Theo’s boy had Naomi Campbell kissing him in the mouth… in the mouth!!!
- Befriend the weirdo white neighbors – If you do, he won’t put you on his list of people to shoot when he shows up to school in a trench coat!
Clearly, I had a lot of time on my hands as a kid. Most days, it was just me and you. Remember when Claire told you about Theo’s bad grades and you had to be the bad cop and “talk” to him? (Teenagers!) You told him, “He was afraid to try in school because his brain might ooze out of his ears!” That was funny! You don’t really think that’s possible do you?… Because it’s not. Anyways, what got to me was after you yelled at Theo, you hugged him and told him you loved him. I didn’t understand those tears streaming down my face then, but writing this letter to you now has helped me see it more clearly.
The truth is Mr. Huxtable, my story of a lonely black boy is sadly a recurring episode (minus the commercials) for many black boys in America. I needed your show then and we still need your show now.
-C.C “Good kid madd City”
P.S. You ain’t nothing like your homeboy Bill!
This originally appeared on Harlem & Beyond, where Carlton is a contributing writer.