Even at a young age, Malcolm-Jamal Warner says he understood the importance of The Cosby Show and his role as Theo. When he was a child, Malcolm-Jamal says his father would make him read biographies on African-American activists like Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and Mary McLeod Bethune. "So being on the show, for me it was finally like, 'Wow, finally here's a television show that I can relate to as a viewer, one, but to be able to be a part of a show where people really cared about how people of color were being portrayed was like Nirvana," he says.
Malcolm-Jamal says one of the biggest criticisms The Cosby Show received was that black people didn't really live like the Huxtables. However, Malcolm-Jamal says their fans constantly proved the critics wrong. "Day in and day out, we were getting thousands of letters from young people saying, 'Thank you for the show because my father is a doctor. My mother is a lawyer. We really do live like that,'" he says.
"It was wonderful that the show forced black America and white America to finally recognize the black middle class," Malcolm-Jamal says.
Since The Cosby Show, Malcolm-Jamal has continued acting and added director, poet and musician to his list of talents. Currently, he can be seen in the film Fool's Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. His jazz-funk band, Miles Long, is working on its third CD.