All Articles Tagged "raven-symone"
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh Talks “In Living Color,” Caring For A Grandmother Living With Alzheimer’s & Raven Symoné
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh has been in the game for a long time. We all remember her from “In Living Color,” “Cosby,” and “That’s So Raven.” But she’s also directed, produced and starred in several projects we might not have been as familiar with. But there was a time period when T’Keyah stepped away from the limelight. And it might not be for the reasons you think. In part one of our exclusive interview, Keymáh talks about everything from why “In Living Color” ended, to what she thinks about Raven Symoné’s recent comments.
What have you been up to since we’ve last seen you?
Well, when have you last seen me?
I think I last saw you on “That’s So Raven”
Well that was a while ago. I actually took some time off after that show and got rid of all of my representation and didn’t work for a while and considered myself retired. I only performed if somebody asked me. I eventually got some representation but I didn’t really pursue it like you pursue when you’re really in it. I did a few shows and I did one guest spot on television. But mostly I just stuck with family and friends, hung out, traveled. Focused on my charities and things like that, wrote and did some theater.
Just last year, I decided that I missed working and I started with small projects and I’ve done several now, some of them that are coming to the surface now. Bail, Attached at the Soul. And I did a cameo in Sharknado that’s coming out this summer. I also have a supporting role in a college, comedy film What Happened Last Night. Then I produced a film with a friend called Revival.
Can you tell us why you felt it was time for you to retire?
Honestly, when I was on “Cosby” I was really burnt out because I had been working straight for more than 15 years, both on the series while doing theater and film. There probably wasn’t one week, in that 15 years, that I wasn’t working. And I thought, ‘Oooh I need a break.’ And I said, ‘After this show I’m going to take some time off.’ But I had already committed to doing a play here in Chicago—I’m in Chicago now. And when I came to do the play, I noticed that my grandmother was a little off. Something was wrong. And so I stayed here after the play was finished. I didn’t know what was wrong at first but I just started helping her out around the house and getting her organized. And whatever I did, she seemed to need a little bit more and a little bit more. This was 16 years ago. I didn’t know anything about Alheizimer’s disease. And nobody that I knew, knew anything about it. I just had no idea what was happening.
I went from staying a little while longer to moving back in, to saying ‘Ok, this is going to take some money. Let me keep a job.’ That’s when I went back to California and shot the whole first season of “That’s So Raven” before it ever aired. I had never done that before. I had no idea what I was doing so I wasn’t sitting by the phone waiting. I thought ‘Yeah, we did something.’ I didn’t even realize it was connected to a series. When we did that first year and it didn’t air, I thought, ‘Well, this is never going to see the light of day.’
And I came back to Chicago and started working with my grandmother again. And by the time the show got picked up, I was here. And I had moved in with my sister, moved my grandmother in, remodeled her house to accommodate my grandmother and then the show got picked up. So I moved back with her to California because by that point, she needed constant care.
We went back and God stepped in, I found wonderful caregivers. They were with me the whole time I was doing the show but my grandmother was getting increasingly worse and it was a bigger and bigger effort to supervise her care and work.
When I started the show, I only agreed to do three seasons and that’s all the network was doing. So when I came to the end of the three seasons…by that point—I mean God bless them. The cast and the crew were just phenomenal and I will always be grateful to them because by that point my grandmother was so combative that I couldn’t keep a caregiver for her. So I was bringing her to work with me. And Kyle (Massey) and Orlando’s (Brown) mom would watch her in my dressing room while I was on stage. And that just couldn’t go on.
So, when I was done with the third season, I said, ‘Ok, this was all that it was supposed to be.’ And I couldn’t—there was no choice to make, really between work and her. So I chose her and focused on her care. And that became my life until she passed away. And after that, I just didn’t want to work. It was the hardest thing I hope to ever do in this life. I’m really, really glad I was able to do it. And I would do it again in a heartbeat—I wish I could— but it took everything out of me. I remember telling my manager at the time, ‘Unless someone wants to hire me to lay out on the floor and cry. There reall is no point to this. So let’s just stop here. I had a good run. I’m good. I’m done.’
So that explains a lot then. Thank you for that.
I heard that you’re reuniting with Tommy Davidson. What project is that?
The producers of Sharknado told me that he was doing this film and asked me if I wanted to come play with him for a minute. And I love Tommy. We’re friends. We’ve remained close since “In Living Color” days but I haven’t worked with him since then. And so I jumped at the chance to come and it was so wonderful. It was like no time had passed at all. We went right back into our habit, rehearsing together. It was a lot of fun and we’ve actually since talked about doing something else together.
Why do you think “In Living Color” didn’t last longer than it did? Do you think it was a racial issue?
I don’t know. I couldn’t really answer that intelligently because I wasn’t on the production end of that. I know that the Wayans Family was gone our last year. And it was a good show, that last season, but it wasn’t the same without them. It was Keenan’s vision—and so I can’t say that I’m sorry that it didn’t go on after that. I don’t know what happened between Keenan and Fox. I’m not privy to that. I wish it could have worked out. But you know, it doesn’t always work out. And things don’t last forever. Soap Operas seem to. But most shows don’t go on past five seasons. We had five great seasons and I would rather end the show with people loving us and wanting more, than going on and people saying, ‘That show’s still on?!’
Raven is on “The View” right now and she says some things that are a little…interesting…
I love my baby. Don’t mess with my baby. Don’t say anything. You know how some people are, if you look like you’re saying something against Barack Obama…don’t you mess with my baby.
Let me say this, when I did the show “Cosby,” one of the most fun things about that show, speaking as someone raised by grandparents, whose parents were gone when I was two-years-old, for four years and thereafter I had parents. Best thing in the world. Hardest job because I didn’t understand this woman whenever she was unhappy. ‘Why is she unhappy, she has parents?’ But just as that show gave me parents, “That’s So Raven” gave me children. And Kyle Massey and Raven Symone are my heart. I love them. Raven was still quite young when we did that show and I had watched her growing up. And I’d almost played her mom before on “Hanging With Mr. Cooper” but it just didn’t work out. I fell in love with her when she was on “The Cosby Show” and I remember early on, it might have been the second episode that we did, that the character Raven Baxter had done something and she was in trouble and it was the Olivia face and I thought, ‘Awwwww’ and then Tonya Baxter said, ‘You will not play that baby face with me, young lady.’ But it was almost like, in that second, I created a memory for To
nya Baxter where Raven Baxter made that face when she was a child and won me over. And now we’d come through. And in that moment she became my daughter.
Cut to present day, I couldn’t be more proud of her that she’s on the show. I love the ‘What color is her hair going to be today.’ And I love that she speaks her mind. I love that. Because the truth is, you can sit in a corner and say only things that the majority of people won’t mind. And you’ll have a non-controversial life. But she says what’s on her mind and when you speak from your heart and you don’t pull any punches, a lot of people are going to disagree with you. When you get backlash, you can change your mind or you can say, ‘This is what I really think and I’m going to say it. And you might like it, you might not. But this is who I am, at least in this moment.’ And I love that about her. And that’s my baby, don’t even try it. Laughs.
What is different now, being back in the industry after experiencing all that you have?
It’s very, very different. I love to work. I started working when I was a little child. Even growing up, I would watch something—and the first time I thought I want to do that, I was little. It was Lola Falana, who I thought was the most beautiful woman ever. I saw her on “The Bill Cosby Show” and thought, ‘I want to be on that show with them.’
From that day to this, when I’m watching television or seeing theater or watching a movie, ‘I’ll see something and say, ‘Oooo I wish I’d gotten that role.’ And I didn’t do that a lot when I was out of it or it would have brought me back in sooner. For a good while it was because I just wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t care what anybody was doing. But the industry has changed a great deal. Without the internet, people shot up, shot up, shot up. So, can you imagine what would have happened had social media been around in those days. So social media is a big part of the entertainment industry. So I’ve gotten on the Facebook and the Twitter. I just started an Instagram page. I don’t know what I’m doing with these things. But I get that that’s necessary. I get that you have to share more of your life than, personally, I’m comfortable sharing in order for fans and media to feel comfortable with you. And thank goodness, I started out, in this industry, in my grandparents’ living room, writing, and directing and producing in my own shows. So I’ve never been one to wait for an opportunity to come to me. When I want to perform, I perform. I write something. I direct it. I produce it and I put it on the stage. The difference now is that a lot more people are doing that and that has a lot more respect now.
This business of technology has gone way too far and it does the industry a disservice. To me, if I want a job and you want to offer it to me, I want to stand in front of you and audition for it. I don’t want to produce my own audition. I’m going to be distracted by producing something and not acting in it. So when you say, send in a tape, you’re saying ‘I don’t really want to see actors, I want to happen upon what I want in an actor.’ And I don’t have a lot of respect for that. Frankly, I want you to spend the money, hire a casting director to sit in a room with me and you and figure out if I’m the best person for this job.
The other difference—and it’s not really a difference—we’re in a period where some Black are working and that makes some Black people happy that some Black people are working. I will be happy when we have ownership over our work. And I won’t be happy until then. Because you can give me crumbs all day long. I think Matt Damon, from “Project Greenlight,” I think he capsized the point of White Hollywood. ‘We are happy when you are regulated in front of the camera, here and there, when we choose.’ But the power is behind the camera. That’s who decides whose stories are told and how and who will tell them. So, I’m always happy to see people working but I’m not always happy at the stories being told and how. And I hope more performers of color and women recognize that and get behind the camera as much as they can.
Stay tuned for the second part of our interview with T’Keyah Crystal Kemáh where she talks about natural hair. In the meantime, you can visit T’Keyah at the following places.
America has spoken. We’ve been writing about the possibility of Harriet Tubman gracing the front of the 20 dollar bill for over a year now. And according to several sources it’s finally going to happen.
Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the U.S. $20 bill.
According to CNBC, treasury secretary Jack Lew will announce the decision later today. The decision comes a year after Women on 20s, a non-profit organization began the movement to replace Jackson with a woman.
Back in 2013, the treasury announced that the it was the $10 bill, and not the 20 that was going to undergo a redesign. But a little over a month ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda, author and star of the Broadway hit Hamilton, spoke with the treasury secretary asking that he keep Hamilton on the 10.
If you ask me, the removal of Andrew Jackson, particularly with his role in killing and forcing Native Americans off of their land, is far more appropriate.
According to the Independent, Jackson may remain on the $20 bill in some capacity.
Other sources reported that there will also be changes coming to the $5 bill, featuring Civil Rights era leaders.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this news. There are many who will argue that having Tubman on the bill, the literal symbol of the American corruption and capitalism that allowed slavery to happen in the first place, is misplaced, ironic or unfitting. And I understand that. But I also see it as a way for the innumerable contributions African Americans made to this country, particularly the financial ones, to be at least partially acknowledged, discussed and valued.
I think it’s powerful that a woman, who the government didn’t even regarded as fully human, is now placing her face on some of the wealth she and millions of others built for this country.
With all the debate on whether Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ new Harlem charter school is really good for the community it will serve, it made us at Mommynoire think about the celebrity “New Black” comments that were popular last year. The article below is all about post-racialism, our community and the term the “New Black.” Let us know what you think in the comments!
By Dara MAthis
The recent barrage of celebrity “New Black” comments reminds me of the premiere episode of hit ABC sitcom Black-ish. Viewers were introduced to the premise of the show: an affluent Black couple worries their children will miss the essentials of Blackness in America growing up in a white neighborhood. The underlying theme of Black-ish presents a valid question for Black parents. Should parents take steps to educate children on the effects of racism to avoid a (“New Black”) culture shock?
If Black people thought they had finally proven that racism is alive and well, certain Black celebrities seem determined to make post-racialism the New Black. The term “New Black” comes from producer Pharrell’s comments last year to Mother Oprah:
“The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.
Since Pharrell came out as New Black in 2014, he’s been joined by rapper Common, actress Raven-Symoné, actor Isaiah Washington, and everyone’s favorite CNN broadcast journalist, Don Lemon. These public figures all have two elements in common: They are Black and very affluent. As such, they are the minority in Black American culture, seeing Black life through rosy Prada shades.
The rest of us cannot afford those shades, just as we cannot afford to be “New Black.”
Teaching our children to be New Black may have adverse results. Lawrence Otis Graham, a Black Princeton University alumnus, decided to dress his children as respectably as possible, teaching the teens the onus for avoiding discrimination was on them. To his chagrin, his son was still met with racial epithets in 2014 while on a cozy New England college campus.
Graham’s affluence could not shield his son from the reality of American racism.
Should we then shield our children from believing being “New Black” will save them? The answer is an uneasy yes.
Yet, I am hesitant to fill our children with the same cynicism we often possess when it comes to race relations. Common’s advice to “extend a hand of love” might be a little extreme. However, a defeatist attitude is also the opposite of the spirit of hope that lifted the Civil Rights Movement from dream to reality.
We need our young people to see racism, white supremacy, and discrimination for what they truly are in order for #BlackLivesMatter to be sustainable. And we also need them to believe it is still possible to eradicate racism—by holding racists accountable.
Let me get to the heart of the matter. “New Black” is American exceptionalism (“I made it, so you can”) misapplied broadly to the Black American experience. What is hurtful and dangerous about “New Black” is not the divergence from conventional African-American views on racism. We are not threatened by differing opinions. Rather it’s the idea that even after Fannie Lou Hamer and Medgar Evers and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, Black people still bear the burden to spearhead racial healing.
I would not have my children shoulder the weight of racial reconciliation when they are still just as likely to be killed for the color of their skin. It is adding insult to injury.
If our children can learn anything from the “New Black” celebrities, it’s this: affluence is an excellent tool for opening doors and windows, for showing that Blackness is not a limiting factor to success. They should not shrink from affluence for fear of losing touch culturally. Rather, it is white supremacy that seeks to make Black people at fault for their own oppression.
And in America, there is absolutely nothing “new” about that at all.
We don’t often look to Raven-Symoné for guidance on much of anything but a lip The View co-host rocked last week got us thinking about stepping outside of our beauty box just a little bit.
Though ABC wasn’t going for this bold rainbow-colored swatch lip — which is why we didn’t actually see Raven wear it on air — we kind of like the idea of mixing up our lipsticks and trying a lip look other than monochrome (although we’d probably want to keep the colors in the same family as opposed to purple, pink, red, green, orange, nude… basically every color in the rainbow for real).
But, considering four-time time Emmy award winning makeup artist Karen Dupiche put this look together, we feel like you can’t go wrong — plus we have a hunch it’ll be catching on very soon considering this is the woman responsible for some of the boldest looks seen on Emmy, Oscar, Tony, and MTV Award shows and we want to be ahead of the curve.
Check out Karen applying the multi-tonal lip below. What do you think? Could you rock it?
When the footage of Bill Cosby being arrested last week, aired, my mom looked at the tv screen and said she felt sorry for him. Now, my mom is not one who believes that all of these rape and drugging allegations are a conspiracy to keep Bill Cosby from buying NBC (which is really so outlandish when you think about it. Comcast bought NBC for 6.5 billion, with a B, dollars.) The point is, she believes he did it.
Still, she felt a way seeing a feeble and legally blind Bill Cosby being led into the court room by his legal team, stumbling along the way. At first glance, it does appear to be a sad sight. But when you consider the women, more than 50 of them, it looks something like the beginnings of justice, even if it’s coming much later than it should have.
The only thing I regret is the fact that it didn’t happen sooner.
Whoopi Goldberg seems to share that sentiment.
Yesterday, on “The View,” during the Hot Topics segment, the women were discussing Cosby’s arrest, arraignment and upcoming preliminary hearing for an alleged sexual assault in 2004 against Andrea Constand.
Goldberg said, “I’m glad it’s happening. Because I sort of feel like whenever you have people saying, ‘This is what happened. This is what happened. This is what happened.’ I want the court…I want to hear it. I want everybody to be able to ask the questions. Because we’ve heard a lot but we have not heard anything from his side.”
His tv granddaughter, Raven Symoné said that “there’s action being done” and she’d watch his trial if televised.
The panel also featured legal analyst Sunny Hostin who said the media would have to make a motion for cameras to be allowed in the courtroom and then a judge would grant or deny the request.
She did say “I think people want to see it.”
Personally, I’m with Whoopi. I want to see what Cosby has to say for himself. Though I didn’t always feel this way. When the allegations first came out, though I believed the women, for some inexplicable reason, I felt a way about the media asking Bill Cosby, straight out to his face, whether or not he was a rapist.
Now, I realize this is exactly what he needs. To be held publicly accountable for his actions. Particularly when he’s spent so much of his career publicly positioning himself as morally superior.
Whatever happens, a decision will have to be made soon as a preliminary hearing in the case is set to take place on January 14.
Interestingly enough, in another case, involving seven women who claim Bill Cosby sexually abused them and are suing him for defamation of character, his wife Camille Cosby, who has stood by her husband’s side, saying more about the allegations than he himself has, has been ordered to testify this Wednesday.
Her attorneys filed an emergency motion to stay or delay her deposition, claiming that she would be forced to share intimate details of their married life, including her husband’s sexual proclivities. Her lawyers argued that Mrs. Cosby having to testify, as the comedian’s wife and business manager, would present “undue burden” and “would not spare their client embarrassment.”
The whole thing is laughable really.
Camille was the same woman who released a written statement saying that her husband had consensual sex with 50 women during the course of their marriage. I guess that wasn’t embarrassing or invasive or revealing of his sexual proclivities.
The only difference now is that she can’t lie under oath, without facing the penalty of perjury.
If she knew and thereby enabled her husband’s actions over the decades, she needs to speak up for herself publicly too.
But if the trial is indeed televised, Camille won’t be the one on camera. It’ll be Bill himself. And he’s the one who needs to provide the answers.
What do you think, should the trial be televised?
You can watch what the women of “The View” had to say about it in the video below.
It’s been a year full of ups and downs. And it all would have been for nothing if we didn’t learn from the tragedies, triumphs and big headlines. Check out the lessons we’re taking from this year’s biggest news stories.
Yesterday, we reported about the side eye Whoopi Goldberg gave NeNe Leakes for saying the women of “The View” were being mean girls when she appeared on the show.
And after being asked her thoughts on the incident by an entertainment news reporter, Raven Symoné is stepping in to share her two cents.
She took a softer approach than Whoopi but cousin Raven’s had a bit more shade.
See what she had to say.
“I feel sad for her. She came to my house party. I don’t understand what happened. But that’s her right if she felt that way. Just like our opinion, that’s her opinion and uh sorry girl, my bad.”
She also spoke about the backlash she receives for many of her opinions both on “The View” and in different interviews.
“Well, you know I’m on a job where it’s about opinions and it’s about my opinion on certain things. And so everyone gets scrutinized for their opinion even though we live in America and we’re supposed to have free speech. You still get scrutinized, you still get penalized. And I think the best way that I can handle is to say my piece, stand behind my truth and move on myself. I don’t read comments when they’re negative and nasty. And if someone calls me and says ‘Look what’s going on, you should read it.’ I just say, ‘That’s your right to say that.’”However I wouldn’t do it as nasty as maybe some people would. But I tend to steer away from negative comments and continue to study and look at what’s going on in the world. Watch my CNN and my World Star Hip Hop and see what’s going on.”
You can watch the moment, dripping with shade, in the video below.
About a month ago, Nene Leakes visited the women of “The View” to discuss her upcoming role in the Broadway play Chicago. While she was there, she also felt like the women clowned her for not having any furniture in her house. In all actuality, they simply asked why it was missing. Anyway, Nene was upset and said that the women were behaving like mean girls. She spoke and tweeted about it o more than one occasion.
Anyway, during Whoopi’s recent appearance on “Watch What Happens Live,” a caller finally asked what happened and whether or not she understood Nene’s gripes.
Here’s how it all played out.
Caller: Why do you think Nene had such a bad time on “The View”? Do you think the other ladies were acting like mean girls?
Andy: Did you hear that?
Whoopi: No, no! You know what, I didn’t. Really, Nene?! Did somebody say something she didn’t like?
Andy: She felt like Raven was giving her the stink eye and with Joy…she was not feeling Joy.
Whoopi: You know what then come back another day and try again. I don’t know what to say.
You can watch the full discussion, complete with Whoopi’s visible annoyance, in the video below.
As annoying and obnoxious as we often find Raven Symoné, there are some pretty cool people who really love her. And one of those people is her “Empire” co-star Jussie Smollett.
Little did we know, both of these child actors knew each other long before the “Empire” juggernaut.
In his surprise appearance on “The View,” for Raven’s birthday, she explained.
“We’ve had a long history together. We were in “Queen” together with Halle Berry in Alex Haley’s miniseries “Queen.” Then we’ve had many nights with lots of bottles.”
In addition to wishing Raven a happy birthday, the segment served as a run through of all of Jussie’s recent accomplishments. The NAACP award nominations, the Golden Globe nomination, the Grammy nomination and the Pepsi endorsement.
But the funniest moment of the segment came when the panel mentioned Smollett’s guest starring role in the new series “Underground,” alongside his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell.
“It tells the story about the Underground Railroad and the people that fought back during slavery and as an African American–cuz I am African American…”
Raven: “Get out of here. Get out of here. He comes for me everyday about that and every single continent.”
Jussie: Y’all every single day, I’m Facetiming this fool like ‘Why Raven why?!”
Raven: “I got a special mouth.”
Realest thing she’s ever said.
Someone on the internet made an interesting point about Raven. She said she doesn’t hate her, she’s just views her as the crazy cousin who is known for saying dumb sh*t all the time.
So, with that in mind. Happy Belated Birthday to Raven Symoné, may your unorthodox opinions open the door for more Black lady talking heads on network television.
You can watch Jussie’s whole appearance on “The View” in the video below. The good part starts around the 6:10 minute mark.
Raven-Symoné Didn’t Love “The Wiz Live!” But You Probably Already Knew That: “I Miss The Original People”
I’m sure you already heard from Veronica Wells that The Wiz Live! gave most who watched it quite a bit of life. The songs, the dancing, the costumes–it exceeded the expectations of most The Wiz fans who tuned in.
Except for one. And you already know who you can count on to be that voice of dissent.
The ladies of The View briefly discussed the few people/trolls who took issue with the production having an all-Black cast, but before talking about that, they shared their opinions of the show. Raven-Symoné was the only one who wasn’t crazy about it. After Candace Cameron Bure had said that she thought the performances were “fantastic,” Symoné responded with “I’m a little different,” before going on to say that nothing could beat “the originals,” as she called Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
“I have such a high bar in standard for The Wiz, being that it was Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Stephanie Mills, that when I went into it I was like, ‘Let’s go!’ And then I just…I miss Michael. I miss Diana.”
When asked if she was saying she was disappointed with the live show, Symoné said, “I’m not going to say that word out loud,” and remarked that “I just miss the people that originated those roles.”
She continued, “It’s a hard act to follow. I loved the costumes, and I thought the singing on certain new songs and old songs were great, but on an overall, I just want to say, I miss the original people.”
But you know Twitter wasn’t having any of what Symoné was trying to serve. Those who enjoyed the show had to remind her that the live production was not based on the 1978 film, but on the Broadway play, which came to the Majestic Theater in 1975 (but started in Baltimore in 1974). So no, sis, Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson weren’t “the originals” after all.
You know Symoné just has to be the one who doesn’t like something everyone else (i.e., Black folks) rave about. But in an interesting plot twist, she did shut down those who said that the cast being full of Black people is racist.
“But can we bring up the fact that there were no Black people in the original Wizard of Oz. That’s why it was created!”
Now and then I see flickers of hope in Symoné, that she hasn’t completely gone over to the dark side. But for the most part, I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that her foray into trolldom will be a long-term thing.
What did you think of The Wiz Live!? Do you agree with Symoné or were you as impressed as we were by the live NBC production?