Raven Wants “No Labels”

RavenIn an one-on-one interview with Oprah, Raven reveals that she doesn’t want to live behind the labels of “gay” and “African-American.”

I didn’t see the full interview and I’m sure they talked about way more in the segment than the 45 second clip that has caused conversation but here’s my two-cents that nobody has asked for: I agree.

She admits that she does not know where her roots lie and unfortunately, that is the case for the majority of “African-Americans” living in America. I only know as far back as my great-grandparents but I only have fond memories of my mother’s mother, my grandmother Lula Lewis, who passed in 2012 and faint recollections of my dad’s father. I just found out two years ago that my grandfather was 100% Jamaican! I had no idea I had Jamaican roots and that revelation hurt me a little bit to know that there is an entire history of my family that just doesn’t exist simply because we don’t know. And for most families, have no way of finding out.

So many of us black folk have been handed the title of African-American. Most “African-Americans” in this country are descendants of slaves and since then, our history in the nation includes being labeled by the dominate white majority. They haven’t been able to decide what to call us for centuries and African-American is the most recent title which may stick for a few more decades.  Nigger, Negro, Colored, Afro-American, African-American, Black. We didn’t sit in a room and have a meeting on the latest title we should give ourselves. White American has though. I love my white brothers and sisters but is also not their responsibility to label “us” either and sometimes even they get uncomfortable with our titles. Many white people say “black” in hushed tones afraid that it’s offensive.

This is me being Lisa but if you think about it,  I will say somebody is White allll daay long. “You talkin’ bout dat white girl?” “Yeah him right there.Naw, the white one.” “I’ve dated a white guy before.” “What’s that actors name? He’s tall, white..yeah him.”

When describing a black person, white people stammer and I can see their eyes bulge, their throats tighten, and their brain forces them to spew out “African American.”

Example: Lisa: What did he look like

White Person: He was tall, had hair, ummm….two legs and he was Bl-bl–bl..He was AFRICAN-AMERICAN. I’m sooo sorry Lisa. (crying) He was African- American!”

It should not have to be like that. So if you reading this, it’s totally ok for you to say “Black.”

However, back to Raven. She is a mixture of several beautiful ethnic groups and to back her into the African-American box IS disrespectful. I think they only reason I identified her as “black” was because of The Cosby’s (The last greatest black sitcom ever to have ever ever existed btw).

That’s my girl. I grew up with her. We’re the same age. She is one of my closest friends even though she doesn’t know it.

I had a lot to say about the African-American label because I can relate. As far as the gay label: well we live in a world that NEEDS to label EVERYTHING. If it’s not WHITE and HETEROSEXUAL, we can’t sleep at night unless it has to have a title. We are taught to not judge a book by it’s cover but purchase based off of the title. We judge books and people by how they look and how they are titled. I’m not trying to date Raven so it doesn’t matter to me if she dates squirrels.  If the girl doesn’t want to be referred to as a gay, african-american, respect her wishes.

You got my support Best Friend! -LB

P.S. I ‘m a black woman How do you feel. Comments welcome!

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