Is Camille Cosby ready for her next act?

The wife of the disgraced comedian seems ready for her life's next chapter.

Two years after the sexual assault conviction that put her husband Bill Cosby behind bars, Camille Cosby is reemerging from the shadows of two high-profile criminal trials to lend her voice to a new generation of young African American protesters demanding systemic changes in the wake of George Floyd's shocking death in police custody.

A deeply private woman, Cosby has granted very few interviews over her 56-year marriage to the disgraced comedian and declined a request to speak with ABC News.

Yet some of her closest friends said they were cheered by a recent phone interview Cosby gave with Black Press of America, and said that she seems ready for a fresh chapter of her.

"It's like a moment I've been waiting for -- to hear from her!" said Jacqueline Jackson, wife of Rev. Jesse Jackson. "I feel this is her moment."

"She has so much to say. She's been on the peoples' business - front, line and center -- for decades," Jackson added, citing Cosby's dedication to African American issues ranging from education and voting rights to her doctoral work in psychology on traditionally negative depictions of African Americans in mass media and through history.

"Her voice is very profound and very mature and extremely unique," Jackson said. "When she speaks you ought to listen."

Dale Cochran, wife of the late Los Angeles defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, agreed.

"I personally see her as one of the strongest women in the world. For me, she's on par with Jackie Kennedy. She's on fire," Cochran said.

Veteran film and TV producer Judith James said the time is right for Camille Cosby, her friend since 1963.

"The young people, the black young people are learning so much about being effective about speaking out," James said, adding that Cosby "Has things to tell them. She has things that are complicated to tell them … She can be their wisdom. She could really be an asset."

Yet Cosby could face a rocky road ahead. Her husband was convicted of drugging and abusing Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee where Cosby was an influential alumni supporter, during a visit she made to his Pennsylvania home sometime in 2004.

The intensity of the Black Lives Matter movement that sprang to life last month parallels the explosive early days of the #MeToo movement in late 2018, after a pair of investigative news stories revealed a raft of rape and sexual assault claims against Harvey Weinstein. The Cosby conviction paved the path for that movement's impact.

Cosby continues to insist her husband is innocent and repeated last week that he was railroaded by a "mob of women" accusing her husband of crimes for which they can produce no proof.

"You don't believe somebody just because a person says that," she said.

Rape is the most underreported of all major crimes, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Less than a quarter of all sexual assaults in the U.S. are reported, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Asked whether she expects blowback -- on social media for instance -- if Camille Cosby steps back into the public spotlight with a message for young people, James responded swiftly.


"But it won't bother her," she said after a moment. "I think she's strong enough now and I look forward to it."

Prior to a raft of sexual assault allegations against her husband that came to light in 2014 (the first surfaced in 2005), Cosby was best known as the inspiration for one of the coolest female characters in the history of the television sitcom: actress Felicia Rashad's unforgettable Claire Huxtable.

In her first interview in six years, Cosby spoke with Black Press USA writer Stacey Brown and radio host Frankie Darcell on June 14. She seemed ready for a fresh chapter and said she's thinking about writing a book.

"Our daughters are really pushing me toward that," she said. "They said, 'Mom it's time for you to start doing other things.'"

Friends said Cosby has played a defining role in her husband's career since they wed in 1964, and that didn't change when the stage became a criminal courtroom.

Cosby spoke to a wide range of topics about which she has personal expertise: school curriculums, the portrayal of African Americans in pop culture, the loss of a child to gun violence and the fluid nature of race relations in America.

Over 76 years, Camille Cosby has paid some of the heaviest dues that life can exact, friends said.

Two of her five children are gone. Her only son, Ennis, was killed in a 1997 highway robbery. Daughter Ensa died in 2018 of renal disease. Four of her five children suffered from dyslexia. Her husband is currently serving a three to 10-year prison sentence.

"It would be such a pleasure to have her step out of … her cocoon," Cochran said. "She has so much history and so much knowledge and so much wisdom that she could share."

Jackson is unconcerned that her friend's voice could be drowned out by the cancel culture.

"There's no danger for courage," she said. "Sometimes, you are before your time. Right is right if it's in the trash can, and wrong is wrong if your mother does it. There is a place for the truth whether you like the truth of not."..

ABC News' Natalie Savits contributed to this report.

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