When art intimates life.
Actress Raven Symoné recently opened up about how her younger brother Blaize Pearman’s experience with racial profiling helped create a monumental episode of “Raven’s Home.”
“Raven’s Home” is a spinoff of Disney Channel’s hit series “That’s So Raven,” which follows the life of Symoné’s character Raven Baxter and her children, Nia and Booker Carter. The series premiered on the network in 2017, and is currently in its fifth season.
In the Oct. 21 episode of “Raven’s Home,” Booker Carter, portrayed by Issac Ryan Brown, is granted permission by Symoné’s character to drive her car to a school event. All was going well until he was racially profiled and stopped by a police officer.
During an interview with “Shadow and Act,” Symoné shared that although she was excited to direct this episode, one thing she wanted to do without traumatizing the younger audience was to make sure this story was told as authentically as possible.
Symoné said, “So with our show, I just remember the process of going back and forth with the different iterations of the scripts and making sure we gave respect to the subject and didn’t water it down, but also made it kid-friendly so that we didn’t traumatize people.”
She added, while sharing that Brown’s character recited previously rehearsed lines of what to say to an officer after being pulled over, “And one of the things that we were really excited about is when Booker first got pulled over, he recites the things that his mother told him to do during that situation.”
The 36-year-old continued the conversation by disclosing that this particular moment was something she could relate to because her brother Blaize Pearman went through the same drill with their mother growing up.
“I relate to that. I remember my mom drilling my brother when he first got his license on the things that he had to be careful of. He’s tall, he’s Black. He wears a hoodie and jeans and maybe a jersey or a skully. And it’s like, ‘Take your hat off. Put your hands on the wheel. Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Respectful. And don’t question anything.’ Because the color of your skin does not allow that at this time. Sadly, that’s the truth. It’s too many words. And so we did that for Booker as well.”
Symoné wrapped up the discussion by saying she did an episode as deep as this to give fans insight into what other people are going through. She said, “People have to go through this every day. And it’s disgraceful. And hopefully, with this episode, they see that we know what they’re going through.”
Symoné’s stance regarding racial profiling seemed to have changed in recent years. In 2015, the star faced massive backlash after revealing during a discussion panel on “The View” that she wouldn’t hire anyone with “ghetto names.”
After watching a clip that showcased people making fun of potential African-American names, she said, “Just to bring it back, can we take back ‘racist’ and say ‘discriminatory?’ Because I think that’s a better word. And I am very discriminatory against words like the ones that they were saying in those names. I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not going to happen. I’m not going to hire you.”
Following the scrutiny, Symoné would ultimately take to her social media accounts to apologize for her comments and share that she has not “discriminated against a name” despite her remarks.