When Che Scott Heron (yes, she is the daughter of Gil Scott-Heron) created a petition to get Raven Symoné fired from The View, she couldn’t have imagined that, over night, it would blow up. The petition was created last Thursday and now has over 130,000 signatures, suggesting that Che isn’t the only one fed up with Raven’s offensive antics.
gal-dem: So why did you create this petition?
Che: Even though everybody is telling her how ridiculous she is being… [she is] the most talked about person… and [she has] nothing to reply. I had a rant on Twitter, I had a rant on Facebook and I thought, what can I do to get her to listen? And the last thing I could think of was to create a petition.
What particular views of hers have you found to be the most problematic?
Her comments about the female student being flung around the classroom, stating that she shouldn’t have been on her phone. Then, there is the fact that she wouldn’t hire somebody with a ‘ghetto name’… when her name is spelt Symoné, the accent on the ‘e’ failing to change anything *we both laugh*. She seems to forget that people don’t choose their names, and what she calls ghetto is just what white people call black names; it’s appalling that she would reinforce the reasons white employers discriminate against black people. And, finally, when someone said that Michelle Obama looked like Planet of the Apes, she said that’s not racist: “people tell me I look like Toucan Sam”. She completely fails to acknowledge the implications of [what] that person was saying.
Why do you think that, as a black woman, she holds such damaging opinions? Why do you think she is so confused?
I don’t think she had an ordinary black upbringing; she was a child star, she didn’t have to contend with all of the things a normal black child in the states might have encountered.
Do you think that, as a black woman, she has to be a role model? Does she have to use her position to promote social good?
I think she does. Every black person in a prominent position becomes a spokesperson for the black population; that is just how it goes, that is just how society is set up. She’s not representing the black majority.
How would you respond to the criticism that there is pressure on her to be the ‘black saviour’?
I don’t think that there is. I can understand why people might think she does but, at the end of the day, if you have chosen a job like this, it is to be expected. When they chose this group of women, they chose them so that there would be different views represented, from different parts of America.
So I guess you aren’t criticising her for being a black woman and not talking about social issues, but more for actively spouting offensive opinions.
Exactly, when they [The View] chose black people to be on the show, they didn’t choose a black person that would represent the majority. They chose black people who would support their position. It’s pretty obvious, following on from my petition; ABC have said “We love Raven”. I’m sure they do love raven, she says exactly what they are thinking.
How do you feel that ABC has responded to your petition and so many have signed it, what is it at, like 120,000 or something?
I was surprised; I was excited when it hit 1,000, and when I woke up it had 16,000 [and when I] woke up again and it had 30,000.
How long ago did you create it?
Jesus Christ! It’s gone viral!
Now that ABC have responded, stating their love for Raven, are you disappointed? Or glad to see so many people supporting your view?
To be fair, I didn’t really expect too much; when I made the petition I didn’t expect that they would get rid of her, I thought maybe she would respond. I wanted her to sit down and look at how many people were pissed off with her, read the comments and be like “wow, I’m not doing something right”.
So you wanted some sort of reaction from her, literally anything.
Yeah, I mean I pretty much expected what I got from them. I’m happy that 130,000 people agree with what I’m saying. But I feel like again, they (The View) are brushing off the opinions of black people. To them, we are just these moany people who don’t like freedom of speech.
I’ve just seen this comment from Milo Yiannopoulos, who we all know harbours massively transphobic and anti-feminist opinions.
Exactly. When only white conservatives are defending you, you have to sit back and think there’s a problem here.
That’s pretty much a perfect summary of events. Raven if you are listening, please explain to us where it all went so horribly wrong.