Howard University dean and former actress Phylicia Rashad is getting a massive side-eye from students at the historically black college and university this week.
A questionable video of The Cosby Show alum surfaced over the weekend that captured her making some disappointing comments about the Blackburn Takeover sit-in protest that is currently happening on campus. Since August, students at Howard have been demanding better living conditions at the university’s dorms. Back in September, a few students shared shocking videos of dangerous mildew and white mold growing out of their air filters and on ceilings. There have also been a number of complaints about leakages and rodents scurrying across the university.
The brief clip shows reporters interviewing both Rashad, who is the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the HBCU, and her sister, Debbie Allen, as they share their thoughts on the situation after visiting students and faculty. Debbie, a former Howard graduate, appeared to be in support of the movement.
“We know what the Howard student body needs. In any country when the students don’t speak out the nation is not doing well,” she says. However, things take a turn for the worst when Rashad steps in.
“When the students do speak out and they have been heard and their concerns have been addressed and it’s still not enough, what about that? That’s what’s going on now,” the 73-year-old barks back.
“So are their concerns being addressed?” Allen replies. That’s when Rashad makes a swift exit, asking her sister to “come inside.” As the pair walks away, the NAACP Image Award recipient seemingly tells her sister to stop talking to the reporters.
“I wouldn’t get into that if I were you,” she says.
Of course, social media had a few words for Rashad after the video made its rounds across the internet.
“Not Phylicia Rashad being a disappointment,” wrote one user. While another person chimed in. “She was outside of fine arts calling the demonstrations an embarrassment and saying that we students were devaluing a Howard education.”
As MADAMENOIRE previously reported, students say Howard’s president Wayne A.I. Fredrick has yet to speak with them as they continue to sleep outside the Blackburn Center demanding change. Leaders of the movement are now calling for Fredrick to resign if he does not work with students to create a plan on tackling the housing crisis. Last week, Rev. Jesse Jackson was able to strike a deal with the university’s faculty to allow students the right to protest without facing possible expulsion.
Rashad is already walking on thin ice. Back in July, the actress apologized for her tweet in support of her former co-star Bill Cosby’s overturned sexual assault conviction.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” the star wrote in a since-deleted post. Rashad attempted to clean up on aisle six with an apology after an onslaught of backlash from social media critics.
“My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault,” she said at the time. “I vehemently oppose sexual violence, find no excuse for such behavior, and I know that Howard University has a zero-tolerance policy toward interpersonal violence.”
What do you think? Was Phylicia wrong for making these comments?