Oct 7, 2014

Raven-Symoné: Don't Label Me 'Gay' Or 'African-American'

By now, you have probably heard about the things Raven Symone has said about being labelled "African-American" and "Gay." And while I understand where she is coming from, I have to ask: Doesn't Raven care about others who struggle every day to find acceptance in this melting pot of a country that is the United States of America? Does she possess even the smallest shred of sympathy for other black people and/or gay people who live here daily and are under the inescapable scrutiny of the "norm"? Does she not realize the power she has as a celebrity and public figure? Is she voluntarily owning up to a responsibility that could help further both the black and gay cause?

Raven Symone's public and private life are hers. There is no question there. I am just wondering if she realizes that with the public spotlight, comes a responsibility to help others. Right now, with the gay issue, it seems like she's playing both sides of the fence. In her interview with Oprah, she says that her family taught her to keep her private life private. Then why the tweet, a year ago, that she finally has the option to marry the person she loves? In one breath she's declaring her affiliation with the LGBTQ community, and in the very same action she is saying "don't label me." Nobody can be certain, but it seems almost as if Symone would rather not be affiliated with the label for superficial reasons.

On the issue of being called American instead of African American, "American" is a label, and one that signifies that you and your roots have a foundation here, in the United States of America. You are making a declaration, and you want others to touch and agree with it. I understand and have said the exact same thing in a number of podcasts. I detest the "African-American" label. Yes, my ancestors came from Africa, and yes, I have a deep appreciation for that aspect of my culture. I am not, however, African. I am American, and my family has been American for a number of generations. Still, Symone is disassociating herself with one label in order to be labeled something else.

Right now, it's not looking too consistent, Raven. I understand that you may need time to think things through, to find yourself even more, but do that in private, the way your family told you to live your life. Don't go making declarations, and disowning communities, when, ultimately, whether you like it or not, you are a part.

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