Child star Raven-Symoné, known for her roles on “The Cosby Show” and Disney’s “That’s So Raven,” seemingly came out as a lesbian when she expressed that she could “finally get married” in a Twitter post applauding gay marriage on Aug. 2, 2013. After initial denial from her representatives, the actress released an official statement. However, when it came time to portray a lesbian on television, the actress declined.
During a recent interview, the 35-year-old revealed that Disney came to her and offered her the chance to make her character, Raven Baxter, a member of the LGBTQ+ community for the “That’s So Raven” spin-off “Raven’s Home.”
“You know what, there was a conversation before the series started, and I was asked a question, ‘Would you like Raven Baxter to be a lesbian?’ And I said no,” the actress told host Levi Chambers during an episode of the “Pride” podcast this week.
Despite having been out for several years at this point, the Atlanta native said her passing on the offer had nothing to do with her not being “proud” of who she was at the time. “The reason I said no wasn’t because I wasn’t proud of who I was, or I didn’t want to represent the LGBTQ+ community in any way.”
She added, “It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter. There was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her. And Raven Baxter is a character that I was proud to play. Even if she is straight, cisgender, I don’t mind, let her have her moment.”
In addition, Raven said she felt viewers would eventually pick up on particular aspects of her private life, especially with how certain things were placed in the show. “I felt like the quiet undertones of living with Chelsea was enough, you know?” she added.
“Not that that was a true statement, that was never the intention of living with my best friend, but, you know, people say stuff that is just hilarious. But I didn’t want to change who she was.”
The “View” alum admitted she isn’t the biggest fan of “blending your personal self with your character self,” noting that “it’s even harder.” She said, “Like, I’m stereotyped for the rest of my life. Let’s just keep it 100. You know what I mean? If you ever see me in another character, you see Raven Baxter, and that’s just what the deal is,” she added.
“Raven’s Home” premiered in 2017, nearly a decade after its flagship show. Raven and her best friend Chelsea, played by Anneliese van der Pol, are both divorced single mothers raising their children together in the same Chicago home. Raven’s son Booker, played by Issac Ryan Brown, also has inherited the psychic abilities of Raven’s character.