Raven -Symone: "Some People Just Look Like Animals" (Sigh)

Raven-Symone has lost her damn mind. I knew someone Black was going to come to the defense of former Univision host Rodner Figueroa who was recently fired after he compared First Lady Michelle Obama to Planet of the Apes. I guessed Don Lemon, maybe Stacey Dash.  They’ve both made a brand out of going right when all the other black people go left. It gets them more attention. But you know who else is starting to do that too? Raven-Symoné.

Yesterday, she visited The View as a guest host. And when the topic of Figueroa’s comments about FLOTUS came up, Raven-Symoné, wondered if he was actually being racist in comparing the First Lady to an ape, an allusion with historically racist implications.

“But was he saying it ‘racist-like?’” Raven-Symoné interjected, as if there is anyway to compare a black woman to an ape that’s not racist. “Because [Figueroa] did say he voted for [Obama] later and I don’t think he was saying it racist.”

Huh? Is this like the Oklahoma SAE frat guy who sang about lynching black folk to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and when he was called racist, he posted a picture of a black girl he took to the frat’s dance one year? Because, you know, a date with a black woman at any point in history automatically cancels out any possibility of ever being racist, even when doing something blatantly racist, right? Is Figueroa that kind of not racist?

Things got more confusing as Raven-Symoné kept on. “Not Michelle…but some people look like animals,” she added. “I look like a bird, so can I be mad if somebody calls me Toucan Sam?”

Um… last I checked there were no historically racist implications about African-Americans and the bird on the Fruit Loops box. And while Raven-Symoné may be under the impression that she looks like a beloved feathered friend— I disagree, but she’s entitled to think what she wants about her appearance— Michelle Obama doesn’t look anything like anything like a damn ape. So what does Symoné thinking she looks like a bird have to do with anything at all?

From most black folk, this would be a brain fart, like the time Sherri Shepherd couldn’t make a solid call on whether the world was flat, or round. But Symoné—not to confused with cute “Olivia”, who she played on TV over two decades ago—is starting to show a pattern of ignorance when it comes to race (and sexuality). And she’s starting to seem deeper in the Instagram memes of “Olivia” than she does in actual grown-up interviews.

In October, she had a sit down with Oprah where she just sounded utterly confused. “I don’t want to be labeled gay….I’m a human who loves other humans. …I’m American not African-American.  I don’t know what country I’m from in Africa, but I do know I have roots in Louisiana. I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person.”

To who? Don Imus? Paula Deen? The Ferguson PD? The NYPD? George Zimmerman? Or…


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Bill Cosby's Accusers: You Really Think 15 Women Are Lying?

Bill Cosby a rapist?

I need an explanation.

I, probably like you if you've come here to read this, have been following the growing allegations of rape against Bill Cosby. Fifteen women have accused him of  rape-- six publicly-- and networks and content distributors are sprinting to distance themselves from him.

Time and Vulture have compiled comprehensive timelines of the rape allegations against him-- beginning in the 1960s--  and it's as damning as the Village Voice expose on R. Kelly. It's bad. Real bad. Joe Jackson.

Despite the number of women-- FIFTEEN--  who have made allegations over the years, despite the similarity of their stories over decades, there are many who just can't fathom that Cosby has committed these crimes. The go-to argument seems to be, "but why now?" They wonder why, if these women were drugged and raped, why they waited a year, or years, or a decade or longer to come forward.

To which I ask, why not now?

Given Cosby's celebrity and iconic status (before The Cosby Show, he had the distinct honor  of being the first Black man to have a lead role in a primetime series) and wealth and lawyers, and the way the stories of FIFTEEN* women with similar stories are being disbelieved  now, and the way these women are being dragged as groupies or "party girls" (as if girls who "party" can't be raped), I don't get how anyone could not understand why these women would remain silent.

Rodney King got beat ON VIDEO which we all saw and the cops who did it still went free. (The LA riots, remember?) These women-- young women when these crimes occurred-- don't have video. They have stories. About  one of the biggest names in show business, who still, in 2014, facing allegations that he has raped 15 women, is spoken to by journalists with deference and respect and soft-ball questions.

It's a respect not given to Joan Tarshis, one of his accusers, who showed up for a CNN interview and was publicly questioned by anchor Don Lemon as to why  she didn't bite Mr. Cosby's penis in self-defense.  Really? No one asked Lemon why he didn't bite or clench when he said he was molested as a boy.

You can't understand why a woman, why many women would hesitate to put themselves in the position to be a national spectacle and have their entire sexual history dragged across headlines? In the 80s when Cosby was in his professional prime and untarnished by the respectability politics rantings that  garnered him so many side-eyes before all this?  Add to that, we are talking about women were allegedly drugged, then assaulted with fleeting memories of  what occurred and they are confused and hurt and embarrassed and humiliated.

"I didn't go to the police because i was 19 years old," Tarshis explained  in that horrible CNN interview with Lemon. "I was scared and I thought nobody would believe me. I'm a 19 year old girl and he was Mr. America."

I get it. But what I don't get is the people who do mental contortions  to defend Cosby from fifteen accusers. It's beyond basic logic. As Ta-Nehisi Coates summed it up  (so brilliantly) over on The Atlantic:

"A defense of Cosby requires that one believe that several women have decided to publicly accuse one of the most powerful men in recent Hollywood history of a crime they have no hope of seeing prosecuted, and for which they are seeking no damages."

And further:

"The heart of the matter is this: A defender of Bill Cosby must, effectively, conjure a vast conspiracy, created to bring down one man, seemingly just out of spite. And people will do this work of conjuration, because it is hard to accept that people we love in one arena can commit great evil in another. It is hard to believe that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist because the belief doesn't just indict Cosby, it indicts us. It damns us for drawing intimate conclusions about people based on pudding-pop commercials and popular TV shows. It destroys our ability to lean on icons for our morality. And it forces us back into a world where seemingly good men do unspeakably evil things, and this is just the chaos of human history."



*I emphasize the number because it's unfathomable to me that fifteen people could accuse the same man of similar crimes of rape and be disbelieved.  If we were talking abut FIFTEEN people identifying the same person who robbed a bank, it would be a foregone  conclusion, not an ongoing discussion about whether  the accused, did in fact, rob said bank.