From Lovable Child Star To Controversy Monger
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Politics and Activism

From Lovable Child Star To Controversy Monger

Raven-Symone says some dumb s--t

From Lovable Child Star To Controversy Monger
Miss Open

Raven-Symone has been known for many years to at least two separate generations as a child star. In the late 1980s she joined the sixth season of "The Cosby Show" as Olivia and became known in American households as Dr. Huxtable's cute step-granddaughter. Then in 2003 she gained an even greater level of fame when she became of the star of Disney Channel's most successful sitcom, "That's So Raven," in which she played the eponymous Raven, a high school student with psychic powers. She also went on to star in the Disney Channel original movie "The Cheetah Girls" and its immediate sequel and joined the real-life girl group of the same name. Following her mid-2000s success, she took a hiatus from show business, but has re-emerged beginning with her controversial 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In her sit-down with Oprah, Raven sparked controversy when she chose not to identify as African-American, instead calling herself colorless. The wave of backlash this incited prompted Raven to respond, clarifying that she never said she wasn't black, she only chose not to identify as African-American. During the Oprah interview, Raven, who has been in a long-term relationship with fashion model AzMarie Livingston, chose not to identify as gay either. She instead described herself as a "human who loves humans." This also sparked controversy within the LGBT community and others who felt as if she was was trying to disassociate herself from the wider LGBT community. It is Raven's personal choice to choose how she identifies. Therefore, if she doesn't like labels, then more power to her. If she doesn't want to be called African-American or gay, then that's her business. However, when her controversial (and sometimes asinine) statements stand to have an impact on not just herself but others, then that is a different story.

Since joining "The View" in 2015, Raven has seen her fair share of controversy over comments she has made. Beginning in March, in an interview with Alicia Quarles from E! News, Raven once again tried to clear up the "I'm not African-American" controversy. Unfortunately, instead of clearing it up, she sparked more online controversy by stating that she's from "every continent in Africa except one and every continent in Europe except one." Does Raven know the difference between a continent and a country? Probably. But this snafu was only the beginning of what was to come.

On the March 16 episode of "The View" Raven defends the Univision journalist who claimed the first lady Michelle Obama looked like a member of "The Planet of the Apes" cast. Raven went on to insist that the journalist's comments were not racist and that many people indeed looked like animals. This drew the ire of many and she was severely criticized on social media and the blogosphere. Notwithstanding, Raven proved that she is apparently unafraid of Black Twitter and followed her "some people look like animals" controversy with an even more irksome comment. On the July 20 episode of "The View" Raven criticized the #BlackLivesMatter movement and expressed support for #AllLivesMatter. "You have to be sensitive in that statement, but he is right, all lives matter. … I think you have to open yourself up. It should be all lives matter,” she said.” The barrage of "NOs" and exasperated sighs from Black Twitter were deafening and many had hoped that Raven would use this controversy as a wake-up call and her infuriating comments would cease. But alas, this was not to be the case.

Raven sparked outrage on an Oct. 8 episode of "The View" when she stated that she would refuse to hire someone if they had what she perceived as a "ghetto name." Raven said, "I am very discriminatory against words like those—I'm not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea." After years of black people being unfairly judged because of not only their skin color but also because of their language and their names, Raven thought it was wise to reveal that she would discriminate against someone due to their name. This has become, so far, her biggest misstep yet, even prompting a response from her father Christopher Pearman, who said, "I did my best as a father ... she's a grown-ass woman making grown-ass mistakes ... sometimes she says some dumb s--t."

Raven, in her own defense, issued an apology on Oct. 11 via her Facebook.

"I have been denied many jobs because of my skin color, body size, and age. Each time I was rejected, my self esteem was negatively affected (sic), so I empathize with those who feel victimized by what I said. ... I should not be a part of the problem, I should be part of the solution," she wrote.

The apology has since seen mixed response from many on social media, as many believe that her gaffes have now become too many and too persistent to excuse. How many more times will Raven spark outrage on social media? Was this last snafu, her wake-up call? Only time will tell. What is now apparent, however, is that this new generation will have a different view (pun intended) of the former child star than previous generations had.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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