Comedian/actor/education advocate/philanthropist Bill Cosby is the winner of the 2010 Marian Anderson Award, reserved for those who have distinguished themselves for their humanitarian work.
Cosby has been "wonderfully funny but also serious about issues relating to children and family. He says what's on his mind,” said Philadelphia Mayor Nutter. “I'd love to be at that stage – where you say what's on your mind and say, 'Deal with it.' "
It’s not as if this is the Philadelphia-born celebrity’s first prestigious award. He has earned nine Grammys, three Emmys, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Just recently he was bestowed with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
However, the 72-year-old recipient, who did not attend Tuesday’s announcement, express joy for being chosen for the honor. "I am humbled,” he said in a statement. “The clarity of viewing racism from Marian Anderson's DAR rejection proves that racism is a waste of time, precious time."
Anderson, another famous Philadelphian, for whom the award is named, was barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution from performing before an integrated audience at Constitution Hall in Washington in 1939. As a result, she was invited to perform her now historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial, making her a central figure in the U.S. civil-rights struggle.