• February 28, 2024

“The Cosby Show” Cast: Then & Now Raven-Symone (Olivia Kendall)

While the titular star of The Cosby Show is basically persona non grata these days, Phylicia Rashad‘s Clair Huxtable has remained almost unimpeachable. That is, unless you ask Keke Palmer.

Earlier this month, Palmer had a kiki with Terrell Grice on his YouTube show The Terrell Show, during which she went in on the Huxtable matriarch, calling the character “uppity.”

And while she’s now clarifying that she was just joking, the actress and singer is also explaining that there was some truth to what she said.

Keke Palmer; Phylicia Rashad as Clair Huxtable on ‘The Cosby Show’. Noam Galai/Getty; Sheldon Seconda/NBC/Everett

“Clair Huxtable, she was uppity, y’all. Bottom line! Bottom line!” Palmer told Grice. “Girl, say what you saying! She got on my nerves sometimes. I’m like, ‘Clair, keep it real, sister-girl!'”

In a subsequent interview with SiriusXM’s The Heat, Palmer put on her professorial hat and broke down her “uppity” comments.

“I think that Clair Huxtable was created at a time to combat such characters such as… Florida Evans,” Palmer said, referring to the working-class Good Times matriarch portrayed by Esther Rolle.

“I think Florida Evans was necessary in the time that she was created as well,” she continued. “My point ultimately was that I think both Florida and Clair were — if Florida’s on the left, Clair’s on the right. They’re both extreme in what they are representing, which sometimes can feel unrelatable.”

Palmer went on to cite Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as someone to whom she could relate, as she seemed down-to-earth despite her wealth.

“Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil would be in this big old house and Uncle Phil sometimes would be a little bit too much,” Palmer said. “He would be a little classist, a little elitist, and it was Aunt Viv who reminded him, ‘Look we don’t have to play respectability politics. You can be intelligent and have an accent.’ And I think for me, Keke Palmer, I think I represent that so much.”

Palmer did not, however, go into which was her fave Aunt Viv (though Janet Hubert is the OG and the people’s choice). Regardless, the Big Boss star is grateful for the Black women who paved the way, and even more grateful for the doors they’ve opened up in terms of representation.

“I’m happy that we obviously had characters like Clair Huxtable and had characters like Florida Evans too. We needed everything,” Palmer concluded. “But I’m also happy that we’re in a time that we’ve continued to add more color to the Black women we see on television, where it’s not just like, in order to be classy you have to be this, or in order to be down you have to be this. Because everybody’s a little bit of everything.”

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