Letters To My Sisters: Raven Symoné… you’re still my sister (#BringBackRavenBaxter)

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*That awkward moment when you think “Raven Symoné” is some sort of a beautiful, Anglo-Saxon name that rolls smoothly off the tongues of Caucasian parents and Catholic priests while they consider what to name their children…* 

There is a collective sigh of hurt, disappointment and ultimately, confusion radiating throughout the black girl/woman community each and every time Raven Symoné speaks. I momentarily considered suing Ms. Symoné for emotional distress, but I decided to think it over and if anything, she’s the one in emotional distress. I mean, think about it: there is NO WAY a woman with common sense & analytical skills would say any of the mess Raven has been confidently spewing out recently. Now, while Raven says she won’t hire people with “ghetto names”, if you have a pink mohawk, she might give you a letter of recommendation for another job.

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But seriously, my issue is with Ms. Raven Symoné is one that I would like to address today.

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Dear Raven Symoné Christina Pearman,

Here is the problem. How do you, a Black person with an ETHNIC name, justify yourself proudly endorsing discriminatory hiring practices on a national platform?! I admired you throughout my entire childhood. I would sit in front of the television during the premiere of each episode and sketch out your outfits, hoping to one day have something very similar for myself. I stared in awe and amazement when your bedroom was remodeled and begged my mother to do the same for me if my report card boasted “All A’s”. My “Happy Birthday” That’s So Raven banner hung proudly from my wall for several years after the 10th birthday party when it was given to me. I own Cheetah Girls 1, 2 (and 3 but that’s another story) and every That’s So Raven DVD set. Every album you created sat on my dresser (even though you were rather nasal on each and every one). I was beyond ecstatic when That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana debuted and you strutted on screen in her shiny get-up.

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I was there when you went to prom, when you crashed Devon’s father’s wedding and famously cried “I love you too, Devon.” I was there when you trained teen actress Nicky Logan on how to be a psychic and even when you almost dated Eddie. When you dated Devon, we all dated Devon. The “Miss You, Wanna Kiss You” Valentine’s Day card was probably every 3rd grade girl’s Valentine’s Day Party goals. Now, when we think of you, we roll our eyes in disgust and disappointment because we have to face the reality that Raven Baxter is no more.

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I don’t know if you realize this or not but it’s the black girls with the “ghetto” names that have made you who you (think you) are today. It’s the Briana’s and the Keisha’s and the Shavonda’s that watched your show religiously, hoping to somehow attract a small amount of your Black Girl Magic as if it could disperse through the TV screen and into their very own lives. It’s the Black girl’s with the names Microsoft underlines in red, that bought your mix stick, your board games, your thin haired Barbie with the curly tracks, your books, your DVDs, your clothing line, your backpacks and the matching lunchboxes. It’s the Aiyana’s and the Renisha’s and the Rekia’s that rushed through homework to watch your show. These girls ordered Happy Meals for the simple fact that a toy marked ‘That’s So Raven’ would be sitting in the bottom of the greasy boxes. We created you and you forgot this. The reported $400 Million in March of 2007? Yea, we created that too. It was our saved allowances and birthday money that went towards buying your VideoNow DVDs and That’s So Raven GameBoy games.

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You were America’s Sweetheart, starting out on The Cosby Show which was built on epitomizing the meaning of familial blackness and pride. Shockingly enough, you’re now denying that very part of your entire being while simultaneously shaming those who choose to wear it with pride.

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Check yourself, honey: You are a black lesbian named Raven Symoné. There is no white privilege that comes with that. Be real with yourself. White America will use you as a token but you have no substantial value to them. You are apart of their black degradation agenda. I know within my heart that Raven Baxter would smack fire from you. Enjoy the publicity while it lasts because it’s definitely dwindling away, boo. You’re now resulting to saying things merely for the shock value. There is no way you could have seriously thought that statement through and believed it, while you sat on that stage, sharing an eerily similar appearance to Toucan Sam. Speaking of Toucan Sam, one can not forget what a Raven is. A Raven is a bird. A BLACK bird, to be exact. So Rae, where are these affluent white people that you’re associating yourself with who are naming their pure white babies after a black bird? Newsflash: It doesn’t exist! The only parents that actually gave a damn about you were the black parents who believed you were an amazing role model for their daughters and even their sons.

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You are still our sister. You will always be a beautiful black girl worthy of nothing less than Queendom and love but please get yourself together, boo. You are too special to exemplify so much ignorance, carelessness and disrespect for and towards the people who have supported your numerous endeavors. Honestly Raven, I wouldn’t hire you either.

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PS: Isn’t your girlfriend’s name “AzMarie”? If that isn’t “ghetto”, I don’t know what is.

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That’s So Raven is by far Disney Channel’s most successful TV show and the legacy will forever live on. Let’s reminisce on what once was. #BringBackRavenBaxter.

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