The air smelled of urine and Chinese takeout. I patiently waited outside of the Broadway Theatre with my father. The girl in front of us was complaining to her mother about how cold she was, her puny, insignificant brain not realizing the unbelievable situation she was about to stumble into.
The door opened. The queen stepped out. I think I peed my pants. I’m not totally positive, but I also know myself, so I definitely did pee my pants. Never mind. I was three hundred feet away from my childhood idol, my rock and my role model.
As the line of pubescent lasses progressed through the bitter Manhattan air, my stomach was flipping more quickly then Mariah Carey’s outfit changes on her episode of Cribs. And then it happened.
I made eye contact with Raven-Symoné. I hugged Raven-Symoné. I got Raven-Symoné to sign my copy of Disguise the Limit, a compilation of episodes from her Disney Channel show That’s So Raven. Raven-Symoné told me that it was “nice to meet me” in a wistful, empty voice.
I did not hear her say that to anyone else in line. That was one of the most insightful days of my life. That was the day I realized my childhood hero was a complete idiot.
Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman got her start in 1989 playing Lisa Bonet’s step-daughter Olivia on The Cosby Show. Raven’s sassy attitude and ability to make adults look stupid was perfect for a role on a Disney Channel show. There are two dates in my life I consider truly transformative.
One is May 10, 2004, which is the birth of my little sister.
The other is Jan. 17, 2003, the premiere of That’s So Raven. For the first time, I was taught that someone could simultaneously see the future while wearing a purple, faux fur collared jean jacket.
I was taught that you could bedazzle your culottes and have a boy best friend. I was taught that not only can your dad be a chef, but your mother can also leave for law school and never be mentioned again.
That’s So Raven for me was what Desperate Housewives was for my mother: an escape from our humdrum lives where we got to idolize women we would never become.
From that point on, Raven was my beloved. Now, just to put this into context, my idols growing up were Anna Nicole Smith, Paula Abdul and Raven-Symoné.
I’m not positive what that says about me, but I think it’s a pretty good indication as to who I am now. After I met Raven, the illusion was shattered.
My confident, brazen, shining goddess of a queen was just a 5’2, frazzled, vacant shell of a human being. Years in the spotlight will do that to you, but it was like after I met Raven, she took a turn for the worse.
Let us recall Raven’s 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey. In this interview, Raven revealed that she was not “African-American.”
“I am American,” she said.
After an explosive uproar from the internet community, Raven took it upon herself to further “explain” what she meant by her comments. Somehow, she dug herself into an even deeper hole.
“I am from every continent in Africa, except for one, and I am also from every continent in Europe, except for one,” Raven said. “And for the last four hundred years, my family has been living in Virginia. How long do you have to be in one country before you’re that?”
So, just to be clear, Raven is aware of what a country is. I guess when it comes to continents, not so much. Maybe the tutoring service hired by Disney on the That’s So Raven set was actually just Mickey Mouse himself?
Another choice comment made by Raven was when she went off on none other than Beyoncé. Picking a battle with Beyoncé fans is like dousing yourself in gasoline and then walking into a burning skyscraper. You will be annihilated.
Raven griped that she “just needs somebody to put some pants on when people are performing nowadays.” How did she back up her argument, you ask? She stated how Janet Jackson is sexual but still classy when she performs.
If you read my article from two weeks ago, Janet Jackson had her entire nipple and nipple piercing exposed in the middle of a Superbowl performance. If that doesn’t say class act, I don’t know what does.
I guess, to sum up, never meet your childhood heroes. You will be disappointed. Honestly, the best type of childhood hero is a cartoon, because they will never age, never get involved in a scandal and, best of all, never say that Michelle Obama looks like a cat.
Raven recently picked up a recurring role in Fox’s hit TV show Empire (though only for the show’s first season) as one of the character’s ex-wives.
Soon afterwards she managed to turn a stint of guest-hosting The View into a full-time host position alongside Sara Haines, Sunny Hostin and Jedediah Bila. She left at the end of 2016 after only a year of hosting to focus on a project which she described as a spinoff of That’s So Raven.