Dear Raven Symone, Enough With The Trolling And Constant Urban Culture Shaming
Charmaine was 16 when she had me. Barely ready for motherhood, her first major decision would be naming her chubby 8-pound, 6-ounce baby girl. The name Tyler was a contender for a while, and Adrienne almost made the cut, but her last minute decision to name me Shenequa has brought many blessings, as well as judgment, all of which I willingly take on.
I’m nobody’s fool. I’m aware of the preconceived notions my name brings, coupled with the fact my mama was a single teenage mother and my daddy was out to lunch most of my childhood, I get it. I completely fit into the “ghetto” name stereotype. But contrary to Raven Symone’s statement, my name—a decision I had no control over back in June of ’85—is not indicative of my work ethic or work performance.
Raven Symone proves the caramel macchiato skin she’s drenched in does not reflect the ideals and isms of black people, and that’s okay. African-Americans are not monolithic. However, Symone’s questionable comments indicate her success on The View comes from her superhuman troll-like abilities.
To say you’re not hiring someone named “Watermelon-Andrea” means you have bought into the white supremacist belief of professionalism and acceptance; that only Katie’s, Kimberly’s and Kylie’s are worth an interview and Keishas, Kia and La Keia’s have killed a tree for naught printing their resume, which will make its way to the trash bin.
Even using the name “Watermelon-Andrea” as an example is problematic in itself, and the obvious racial undertone of her fictitious name speaks more to the depth of her coonery than it does the argument she tried to make, but you know, that’s so Raven.
Symone won’t hire a “Watermelon-Andrea” but what about Kate Winslet’s son Bear Blaze? Funnyman Jason Lee, who’s starred in 2015’s Alvin and The Chipmunks named his oldest boy Pilot Inspektor (yep, Pilot is the first name and Inspektor is his middle name). Gwenyth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s believed Apple was suitable to give their daughter and actor Penn Jillette’s oldest is named Moxie Crimefighter. Are these names also unacceptable for Symone or do they get a pass?
And while these asinine comments about employment and names come from the same woman who’s allegedly from every continent—not country, but continent—in Africa, and should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s the ignorant audacity, coupled with the unjustified platform Symone has been given that irks my nerves.
To begin, her name is borderline in itself, being as though she’s named after a bird, and her hair, whether it be fire engine red one week, or an indescribable shade of lavender the next, falls right in line with the ghetto names of many of those she alleges she wouldn’t employ. So yeah, about that Raven?
I will not push the responsibility of representing the entire black community on Symone, or any brotha or sista who’s been given that large a platform. That task is too large a load to carry, but Symone doesn’t understand how her incendiary comments give the powers that be fuel to continue with their divisive tactics. Her racial tone deafness on that daytime talk show only does more harm than good and quite frankly, who the hell is Raven Symone to talk? She by no means represents me and my blackness, but when she sits on that stage spewing her f**kery, she unfortunately acts as a representative for the community, and homegirl, you ain’t it!
There aren’t enough SMHs or “Bye Felicias” to give Ms. Symone. I’m sure this comment, like all the rest, will be added to her list of f**k s**t and foolery, but for the rest of the millions who tune into watch The View just know Ms. Symone and I are not of the same ilk.
Not by a long shot.