Raven-Symone Talks 'Tinkerbell' Movie, Blogs, Willow Smith & Embracing Her Thickness

Raven-Symone entered the hearts of American families in the late '80s when she was introduced as wunderkind Olivia Kendall, on The Cosby Show. But she's since blossomed into an award winning actress, singer, sometimes rapper and well-rounded businesswoman. Now 24, Raven-Symone has managed to avoid the typical Hollywood vices like drugs and over partying, which have led some of her peers to DUI charges and TMZ headlines galore.

Although her latest TV franchises, The Cheetah Girls and That’s So Raven, have been off the air for a few years, Raven-Symone keeps herself busy by reading scripts, working on music and most recently, voiceover work. Her latest project is voicing Iridessa, a sweet-natured fairy in Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, a straight to DVD film that hits stores on Sept. 21. In addition, the feisty actress has her sites set on playing Janet Jackson in a biopic, pushing for Kill Bill 2 and bucking the Tinsel Town machine when it comes to image⎯i.e., she refuses to look a certain way just to get a movie role. VIBE caught up with the former child star to talk about how she maintains confidence, working on her own terms, advice for Willow Smith, and Raven delivers a special message to sensational blogs and the commentors who love them. ⎯Starrene Rhett



VIBE: Talk about your role in the Tinkerbell movie.

Raven-Symone: I play Iridessa in the new movie, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue. I play an African American fairy who is one of Tinerkbell’s best friends. She’s a light fairy, which means she makes the rainbows come alive and that the fireflies have those little lights on their butts and so many other things and in this installment of Tinkerbel,l they need to rescue Tink from her first encounter with humans. Michael Sheen makes an appearance and of course, Lucy Liu is back, Mae Whitman, and so many others. I had a good time working on this dvd series because of the stories that it’s telling. This one is focusing on friendship, loyalty, understanding and it’s a family dvd. It’s Disney magic for sure. The animation is amazing. It’s something you wouldn’t expect for a dvd series because when you start getting multiple dvds with other cartoons it’s like the animation isn’t that great but this needs to be in the theater. It’s beautiful.

And you’re already working on the fourth installment of Tinkerbell, right?

I’m working on the fifth one right now. There’s a lot of installments and hopefully there will be even more to come.

Speaking of Disney, we had Princess Tiana, the first African American princess, last year. There was Jasmine, Mulan, so what ethnicity should get a princess next?

I like that question. I think you should definitely go Aborigine. I was in Australia last week [Laughs] and it’s good to see a human that is still as connected to this Earth as they should be.

What else are you working on?

I’m writing and I’m reading scripts to produce and I’m ready to get back on TV. I haven’t filmed That’s So Raven in almost 3 1/2, 4 years. I had a nice break. I got my thoughts together, I’ve been working on my fifth album for the last two year so I’ve been slacking but I’m doing it and hopefully it will be out next year.

Are we talking reality TV, like everyone else and their mother?

Here’s the situation, the other day I had a camera crew filming me and I have too many secrets [Laughs]. I have a whole ’nother⎯you know how people have alter egos? My alter ego is what you see now. With my real self, that will never happen.

Are you going to return to rapping?

I’ve been thinking about it. I’m not signed to a label as of yet so I’m enjoying making music from scratch and not being forced to be in studios with certain people. And it’s funny nowadays [because] rap is kind of not taken seriously if you don’t have a certain background, sometimes. I don’t rap about just anything. I have interesting lyrics that I want to express. I think I’m gonna find a balance between rapping and singing so that people aren’t like, "Look at this, That’s So Raven is rapping." I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, you have no idea how hip-hop I am [Laughs]. But that’s where it is right now. We’ll do it the right way and hopefully by the end of next year I’ll have a nice little sound.

Who are you working with?

I’m working with some individuals who are unknown and known like The Interns, I’m working with a producer out of Denmark⎯so many different writers and I’m writing a lot as well.

Who are some other artists in the game that you’re feeling right now?

I’m so bad when it comes to that because I just have not bought anything recently and I’m very happy with it. Verve remixes, Me’Shell Ndegeocello. Thicke, first album, Robyn⎯she’s a really cool Europeon on Interscope; Brazilian girls. I listen to a lot of world music as well. I’m always updating in that area. I think it keeps me thinking and I like music that touches my soul, not just stuff that lasts a hot minute but something that can last me for a while.

Have you heard the new Willow Smith song that everyone is buzzing about?

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Queen Latifah Transforms Into Hattie McDaniel For Netflix Series

Queen Latifah takes on the role of Hattie McDaniel, the groundbreaking actress who made history as the first Black person to win an Academy Award, in a new Netflix miniseries. Entertainment Weekly published first-look images from the forthcoming show, Hollywood, on Wednesday (April 8).

Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Janet Mock are behind the seven-part series, which debuts on May 1.  Hollywood takes place during post-World War II Tinseltown and follows an “ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers” who will do “almost anything” to make it big in show business.

The series stars David Cornerswet, Darren Criss, and Laura Harrier with a slew of supporting actors that include Queen Latifah, Rob Reiner, Mira Sorvino, and Katie McGuiness as Gone With the Wind’s Vivien Leigh.


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It's time to meet the supporting players of Ryan Murphy's #Hollywood! 🌟 We have your exclusive first look at many of the supporting characters in the upcoming Netflix series, including real-life Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel as portrayed by Queen Latifah. Tap the link in our bio to see all the photos. 📷: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

A post shared by Entertainment Weekly (@entertainmentweekly) on Apr 8, 2020 at 7:24am PDT

McDaniel’s historic Oscar win was of course shrouded in controversy given her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, a film that was boycotted and criticized over its blatant racism.

As for Queen Latifah, she has been busy both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Aside form Hollywood, the Queen joins Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige as executive producers of the upcoming Lifetime biopic The Clark Sisters airing on Saturday (April 11).

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Cast of 'Hamilton' Surprises Young Fan On John Krasinski's 'Some Good News' Show

John Krasinski has brought smiles to The Office Fans with the launch of his creative Some Good News show on YouTube but the actor took things to another level by reuniting the original cast of Hamilton to surprise a nine-year-old girl.

Aired late Sunday (April 5), Krasinski welcomed Aubrey to the show after her parents shared how their daughter watched Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins Returns after she was unable to fly to New York to see Hamilton on Broadway. While social distancing is a brief new normal, Blunt who is married to Krasinski popped into their Zoom interview to surprise Aubrey.

But the good news didn't stop there. Krasinski then promised Aubrey he would fly her family to New York to see Hamilton once Broadway opens its doors. And miraculously, he managed to reunite the entire cast where they performed "Alexander Hamilton."

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom Jr., Anthony Ramos, Jonathan Groff and more shocked the 9-year-old, who was left speechless during the performance.

Elsewhere in the broadcast, Krasinski shared good news from around the world, including many fans making their own version of the show. Robert De Niro also shares the weather in a very De Niro kind of way.

Krasinski, who also stars alongside Blunt in The Quiet Place, created the Some Good News show to prove positive news always wins. His first guest was none other than Steve Carell with the two talking about the 15th anniversary of the iconic Office series.

Enjoy the good news above.

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Will Smith Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ‘Bad Boys’

Will Smith celebrated the 25-year anniversary of Bad Boys on Tuesday (April 7) with a special shout out to his co-star, Martin Lawrence, and the film’s director, Michael Bey, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.

“Today is 25 years since the first ‘Bad Boys’ came out!!! We really putting this ‘for life’ thing to the test,” Smith captioned a video of him and Lawrence promoting the film in 1995 along with their recent Bad Boys for Life promo run.


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Today is 25 years since the first @badboys came out!! We really putting this “for life” thing to the test @martinlawrence 🙂 @michaelbay @jerrybruckheimer

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT

The first Bad Boys film was a box office hit raking in more than $140 million. The 2003 sequel nearly doubled the numbers of its predecessor.

Lawrence and Smith reprised their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Barnett in Bad Boys for Life, which grossed $425 million worldwide.

Speaking to VIBE during the film’s premier in January, the duo revealed the secret to maintaining a flow on screen after all these years. “A great deal of respect and love for each other,” said Lawrence.

Smith noted that their friendship contributes to why they work so well together. “You can’t really love somebody you don’t understand. If you don’t known what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, if you don’t understand what somebody needs, you can’t really love them and that’s what I was noticing about the two of us, we just understand each other.”

Watch the full interview below.


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