Bill Cosby’s first appearance here in five years wasn’t for telling jokes, but to implore parents to be involved in all aspects of their children’s lives.
“If you’re not doing that, then you should be ashamed of yourself,” Cosby said Thursday as the moderator for discussions on parenting, education and social responsibility at Xavier University.
The 68-year-old comedian’s appearance was part of the nationwide tour “A Call Out With Cosby.”
Speaking to a crowd of about 1,200, Cosby said parents should have a network of people who can help look after kids who might be headed for trouble.
During a question-and-answer session, he granted a local minister’s request to speak with Rodney Lee, 18, whom the minister said had lost direction in his life. Cosby and Lee spoke privately for nearly 45 minutes as the audience continued to question a panel of child experts.
Cosby was making his first visit since he canceled two shows following race riots in 2001, when an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a white police officer trying to make an arrest.
Activists called for a boycott until leaders agreed to pay more attention to police, racial and economic issues. Cosby’s publicist has said Cosby wasn’t supporting the boycott, but felt it wasn’t an appropriate time for comedy.