There are some public figures who make you wonder why you ever bothered learning how to read.
I let out an audible sigh when I read the New York Post’s Page Six report that ABC executives were “desperate” to sign actress-turned-foot-in-mouth-disease-victim Raven-Symoné as a co-host for The View before their up-front presentation. A described “ABC source” explained, “She was interesting and provocative. Raven would be great as a regular host.” I imagine similar logic was employed to justify giving Don Lemon and Stacey Dash cushy positions at CNN and Fox News, respectively. How well is that going for anyone who doesn’t benefit from the ratings their asininity generates?
Frankly, a spare brick on the sidewalk can be just as “interesting” and “provocative”—except a brick has more to contribute to meaningful conversation than any of the aforementioned three.
Raven-Symoné is talented, but if the last couple of months have taught us anything, it is that she is not remotely thoughtful. Our first glimpse into that reality took place last fall on an episode of OWN’s Oprah: Where Are They Now? where she decried labels and described herself, not as gay but, rather, as a “human who loves humans” (which could also be described as pansexual, but I read books, so pardon me) as well as a “colorless person.”
Months later she would declare, “I am from every continent in Africa except for one. and I’m from every continent in Europe except for one. We are a melting pot of beauty.”
My eyes are rolling harder than a Prancing Elite at a parade.
Sure, she misspoke, but the problem isn’t so much the phrasing as it is the overall sheer lack of intellectual curiosity. She, like Lemon and Dash, is simply loud and wrong. Naturally, she is being rewarded for it and, of course, is clueless as to why some aren’t pleased about it.
In a new Daily Beast profile titled “The Reinvention of Raven-Symoné,” Raven-Symoné touches on the backlash she’s received on occasion, saying, “I’ve gotten anger from other people because I’m not taking one side or the other, or I’m not taking the side they think I should take. Or that I’m being someone I’m not. But I’m just trying my best to look at it objectively before I bash someone.”
I don’t have a problem with a difference of opinion. However, there is something grating about an uninformed opinion. For all her talents as an actress and singer, Raven-Symoné could use some prep in this new role she finds herself in.
Meanwhile, there is reason to take issue with Raven-Symoné because she is an example of another ill-informed, lazy-thinking black person being handed a huge platform for simply being a darker face to dense views typically espoused only by white people. In that respect, she is another instance of a long-standing problem.
Like when she defended the Univision host who compared first lady Michelle Obama to a primate. Raven-Symoné has been adamant, then and now, that there was no racist connotation to the comparison; but even if you call yourself a “colorless person,” how could you have no idea that comparing a black man or woman to a primate is Racism 101?
Then there’s more recent commentary, like on Wednesday’s edition of The View, when Raven-Symoné criticized female pop stars and asked that they put on pants. As Whoopi Goldberg scolded Mike Huckabee for his constant criticism of Beyoncé’s sexuality, Raven-Symoné tagged herself in to add, “OK, I have an issue. I love—oh, here we go with the Bey fans again … but I just need somebody to put some pants on when people are performing nowadays.” For fear of her Twitter mentions, she went on to say that she is not “on” Beyoncé but, rather, “pop stars in general that like to not wear pants when they perform.”
If that archaic thinking wasn’t enough, here’s a little irony for you: Raven-Symoné went on to say, “I think there does need to be some class in the female pop world,” citing Janet Jackson as someone sexual but “classy.”
I love Janet Jackson very, very much, but she used to straddle men and simulate various forms of sex onstage. Is it “classy” because she didn’t fake ejaculation?
Just this week I read, “Speaking with no filter? That’s just so Raven.” I wish folks would stop being so hard on filters. If they can do such wonders for tap water, imagine if someone found a Brita for the brains of these folks on TV saying a lot and, dually, a whole bunch of nothing.
That said, as Clover Hope pointed out at Jezebel, “Raven-Symoné would fit right in at The View and their [bats—t] perspectives.” It’s done wonders for Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Even so, I wish we’d reach the point where idiocy and interesting weren’t so interchangeable—or that this show would finally just be put out of its misery. Whichever can happen fastest.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.