Raven-Symoné has opened up about how months of lockdown forced her to come to terms with her sexuality and gender identity in a new way.
In an interview for an episode of Unsung, a TV One docu-series which features longform interviews with well known African-American artists, Raven talked about her journey towards self-acceptance which she says was accelerated during lockdown.
“The moment when I was like, ‘You know what? I’m this way. I’m not as girlie girl as people see me on these shows and in this brand that was created for ‘Raven-Symoné’. I’m super in my skin, this is who I am.’ [That moment] came during lockdown, in a public way.
“So for instance, the way you see me now is how I normally am at home,” the singer and actress continued, dressed in a plain black t-shirt and her hair styled to one side with an undercut. “But before lockdown when I went out to be ‘Raven-Symoné’ I put on the bells and whistles to match that brand.
“In the industry when you’re always trying to make sure that the brand is forefront and you’re projecting the right image, I tended to put my sexuality, gender and growth on the back burner because that’s not what I was taught should be in the forefront.
“I just did what I needed to do in my time off and then was ‘Raven-Symoné’ when necessary. But during lockdown, all of it came flooding in honey, all of it came flooding in.
“I was like ‘Argh, I don’t want to deal with this. There are people out here [who are] body conscious in a beautiful way. I don’t have to do that anymore. I don’t have to be that same person that they told me to be back in the day.’
Raven-Symoné also credited her wife Miranda Maday with helping her in this journey of self-realisation.
“It’s very hard to break that programming since you were three-years-old, so it’s even confusing to me sometimes. But I have someone who’s like, ‘You should wear your hair [that way]. Go ahead and wear a t-shirt, you’re fine. Go ahead and put your Steelo on, you got it.’
“And I’m like, ‘Oh, thank you babe. I won’t put that weave in and extra make-up on to make sure somebody was attracted to me in whatever way Hollywood wanted a female to look. I’m good with that.'”
The That’s So Raven star married Maday in June 2020 and earlier this year the couple launched a YouTube channel documenting their life together. “Normally I stay very, very private but she was like, ‘No, no, no, this is really cool – we’re a multicultural, lesbian couple. Let’s show people that we are normal just like everybody else,'” Raven revealed in an interview with The Six O’Clock Show in September.
Speaking on Unsung, the actress also confirmed the couple intend to start a family.
“Yes we will have children, yes we will. We’re figuring out how we’re going to do that. The best part of being a lesbian is you can plan it – cos you have to!” she laughed. “We’re going to plan it to a tee [and] make sure that we do it the right way.”
Raven-Symoné revealed earlier this year that she rejected the idea of Raven Baxter, the beloved main character she plays in her hit Disney show, becoming a lesbian when suggested by the show’s writers for the series reboot Raven’s Home.
“It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter.
“And there was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her.”