CLEVELAND – Entertainer Bill Cosby's (search) message to urban youths was the same by telephone as it would have been in person: Get an education. Be responsible. Make a difference.
On Monday, Cosby made up — to some degree — for a canceled appearance at a town-hall style meeting last month after a female acquaintance accused him of inappropriately touching her a year ago at his home in suburban Philadelphia. He denied the allegations, and prosecutors in Philadelphia have said they found insufficient evidence to support the woman's claims.
Cosby, 67, spoke by telephone for about five minutes to about 250 adults and children at East Tech High School for an event billed as "A Conversation with Cleveland's Youth." (search) About 3,600 people, including many public school students and their parents, had received free tickets for last month's appearance.
During the call, amplified for the audience, Cosby reiterated the values and focus he believes poor black communities need to embrace.
"We've got to get back our educational drive ... our respect for our elders ... that feeling that we can make a difference, that this is our empowerment," said Cosby, who was in Houston on a business trip.
A dozen speakers, including judges, activists, preachers and students, echoed Cosby's message.