Over the past seven months, as sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Cosby mounted, a top Smithsonian official met privately with museum directors across the sprawling complex on the National Mall to decide what to do about an exhibit showcasing Cosby’s private art collection.
While many companies and universities were distancing themselves from the comedian, Smithsonian officials ultimately concluded the exhibit should continue.
“First and fundamentally, this is an art exhibit,” Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for art, history and culture told the Associated Press. “So it’s not about the life and career of Bill Cosby. It’s about the artists.”
About a third of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s 50th anniversary exhibition came from Bill and Camille Cosby’s extensive African-American art collection, and two-thirds came from the museum’s own collection.
Most of the Cosby collection had never before been seen by the public. It includes paintings by one-time slaves, pieces commissioned for the Cosbys, a piece by Cosby’s daughter and quilts made in tribute to Cosby and his slain son, Ennis. The exhibit also includes images of Cosby and quotations from him.
Cosby, who turned 78 on Sunday, has never been charged with a crime. He has denied some accusations, while declining to comment or respond to others.
50 Cent must pay $5M over sex tape
Someone else’s sex tape is proving to be costly for 50 Cent: A jury ordered the rapper-actor Friday to pay $5 million to a woman who said he acquired a video she made with her boyfriend, added himself as a crude commentator and posted it online without her permission.
And the Manhattan jurors are set to continue deliberating this week on possible further, punitive damages in Lastonia Leviston’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the multiplatinum-selling “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ” artist.
The lawsuit stems from a 13-minute video that appeared online in 2009 featuring a wig-wearing 50 Cent as a narrator dubbed Pimpin’ Curly. The character made explicit remarks about Leviston and taunted rap rival Rick Ross, who wasn’t in the video but has a daughter with Leviston. At the time the video surfaced, Ross and 50 Cent were trading barbs via video, lyrics and interviews.
Born Curtis Jackson, 50 Cent burst to the fore of gangsta rap with 2003’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” Now 40, he’s also a businessman – his interests have ranged from mining to water drinks – and an actor whose credits include the Starz network action series “Power” and the upcoming boxing movie “Southpaw.”
The birthday bunch
Game show announcer Johnny Gilbert (TV: “Jeopardy!”) is 91. Actor Patrick Stewart is 75. Actor Robert Forster is 74. Actor Harrison Ford is 73. Singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) is 73. Actor-comedian Cheech Marin is 69. Actress Didi Conn is 64. Comedian Tom Kenny (TV: “SpongeBob SquarePants”) is 53. Roots singer/songwriter Paul Thorn is 51. Rock musician Will Champion (Coldplay) is 37.
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