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Raven-Symone: I Used to Tan 3 to 4 Times a Week to Darken My Skin

Avatar • Jan 18, 2015

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Highlighting an aspect of colorism that isn’t often discussed, actress Raven-Symone has spoken out about her tanning habit while starring in her hit Disney show, “That’s So Raven.” She made the confession in a teaser video for the documentary Light Girls, which will air tomorrow on OWN.

When I had my own show, I used to tan three or four times a week in a tanning bed to get darker, I did. It’s funny, one of the lighting guys came up — I love him to death; I love him, oh my goodness — he goes, ‘Raven, I need you to stop tanning. You’re getting too dark, and we have to re-light the whole entire show,’ I was like, ‘Sorry. I was just trying to be pretty.’”

The video also discusses the challenges lighter skinned actresses face in Hollywood for not looking black enough.

The Light Girls documentary is a companion piece to the critically acclaimed documentary Dark Girls, which explored black culture’s bias against women of darker skin.

What do you think of Raven’s statements? Will you tune in?

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T. Thomas
T. Thomas
5 years ago

I’m interested in hearing the other side of the conversation… I think it’s about “your pain isn’t more than mine; pain is pain”. Hopefully empathy will emerge and join us together… we will see

Chevanne
5 years ago

Light girls are black too and experience their own oppression and discrimination despite their privilege. Don’t be mad at them. Be mad at the system that exalts them and fetishizes them simultaneously.

BelleNaturelleParis
5 years ago

A month ago she said she wasn’t Black and this week she wasn’t Black enough. Hell I’m confused!

jasmine
jasmine
5 years ago

she said she wasn’t African American just American

Monica Jones
Monica Jones
5 years ago

Actually she said she wasn’t an African American.

BelleNaturelleParis
5 years ago
Reply to  Monica Jones

Miss me with the semantics sis. Raven Symoné said she was a colorless person, thus not Black.

Lee
Lee
5 years ago

You’re being condescending and insulting just for the hell of it, which is more than unnecessary.

She literally said she wasn’t African-American, meaning that she, as a black girl born in America, is not from Africa. She did not in any way denounce her race.

Don’t take someones words, twist them, and run with it just to make a point.

Edges_N_Paris
5 years ago
Reply to  Lee

Was I being condescending or are you being sensitive? It wasn’t how I said it, it was how you read it. Now with regards to Miss Raven she said that she does not know where her roots come from. She went further and said that she was a colorless person and that being American equates to being a colorless person. Now I am not claiming to be a genius with the word play but if a person says they are colorless it means they are without color, albeit White, Black, Yellow or Pink. Additionally, if she is saying that she… Read more »

kk
kk
5 years ago

Pain is pain. But I just can’t sympathize as with lighter skin women as much because dark skin women are looked down upon by not only the world but within their own communities and to make things even worse, many times their own family. Our struggle is so real that when a women of a darker complexion is beautiful, many are shocked. We are overlooked in every aspect. I believe all women have beauty no matter the shape or color.

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago
Reply to  kk

I understand both sides. I’m neither light nor dark, I fall right in the middle.

So I’ve never been told I was too dark or called “white girl” or asked if I was mixed. I sympathize with each side. I just feel that describing it as two sides is what separates us, we’re all black. From where I stand the division is pointless and is just scars left from the colonial times.

Milly
Milly
5 years ago
Reply to  cryssi

As pointless as the division is, it is there. Stating its pointlessness is not going make it disappear, because we do not live in a world with completely emotionless people. This division has caused too much hurt, and when there is that much hurt people on both sides don’t want to let go and forget they want some form of emotional recompense. That’s why as a dark girl I want to agree with kk, but as a person that has experienced pain that has been undermined by others, I want to feel for Raven-Symone and her struggle, and I do,… Read more »

devo13
devo13
5 years ago
Reply to  cryssi

I’m proudly in the middle too, and love my brown skin. It’s the perfect color, my natural golden tan. I once told a darker-skinned friend that I didn’t want to tan and get darker and she was slightly offended, but I told her that I liked my skin color the way it was. My sister on the other hand, is light-skinned and constantly tans to get some more color. We come from a mixed family, our mother was half black and half white and very fair-skinned, and so some people think that my sister is Puerto Rican and that I… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
5 years ago
Reply to  kk

Light-skinned girls at my school were called “maggots” and were assumed to be stuck up while the dark ones were considered ugly based on their color. We couldn’t win.

Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon
5 years ago
Reply to  kk

Let’s compare slavery to the Holocaust while we’re at it. Pain is pain.

Ajah
Ajah
5 years ago

Aww that is a shame, but it’s not just the black community that deals with this, its in every culture. My friend wanted to be on the news etc. He is Navajo and Spanish and he has a great color to his skin. Regular news said no because the the shade of his skin ( It wasn’t dark enough to get the Latino watchers, but telemundo told him no because he was too dark (which he isn’t, not at all). I felt bad for him. I thought that Raven was doing something to her skin because I remembered her as… Read more »

Ajah
Ajah
5 years ago

Well I’m med. brown with copper undertones because I’m mixed, but I was given some noise over how I spoke and how I acted. I was raised in nice areas, so I was a product of my environment. Any time I call someone on the phone they assume I’m white. Then I go there and the first words out of their mouth is, “Oh your black”. I just say, “Yes I am; thank you for noticing”. The normally say you sound white on the phone. I had no idea that color had a sound, but ok.

devo13
devo13
5 years ago
Reply to  Ajah

Color doesn’t have a sound, but many prejudiced people (black and white) think if you use proper English and don’t sound “ghetto”, then you sound “white.”

black is black
black is black
5 years ago

I am going to rewatch Dark Girls then watch Light Girls. I feel I will better perspective that way.

OXxo
OXxo
5 years ago

I just hope you don’t have a daughter.

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago

America is the only country that I’ve encountered where many people don’t know, or pretend not to know, that one is legally the race of one’s father. Her father is caucasian, so she is caucasian with dark skin from her mom. This mixed business does not legally, or Biblically, determine a person’s race, although it does often change the way one looks, and gets many people off the hook, when you ask them, in America, what is their race. And so many actors with Caucasian fathers, but colored mothers, are paid very well to play black and spanish roles, but… Read more »

MommieDearest
MommieDearest
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

During slavery, American slave holders instituted a practice that proclaimed a mixed race child takes on the race of the mother. This is because during that time 99.99% of biracial children were the result of the slave master having sex with a slave woman. The race of the child was then considered black, thus the child was still a slave. This gave slave owners a way to justify and rationalize the enslavement and brutalization of THEIR OWN CHILDREN. Many slave masters made a practice of increasing their “stock” by impregnating slave women. Little slaves were lucrative “investments.” :-/

MommieDearest
MommieDearest
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I don’t know what happened to my original comment so I’m trying again.. “America is the only country that I’ve encountered where many people don’t know, or pretend not to know, that one is legally the race of one’s father.” In America, during slavery the slave owners instituted the practice that a biracial child will take on the race of the mother. This was because during that time, 99.99% of biracial children were the product of slave masters having sex with slave women. Because the child was considered black, the child was also still a slave. This allowed slave owners to… Read more »

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  MommieDearest

One can proclaim that 2 plus 2 equals 5. Proclamations do not create truth out of a lie. You are the race of your father. Truth is simple. Lies get complicated.

EllieLo
EllieLo
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I’m sorry.…according to who and/or what law? So far, I just see you spouting non-sense.

Roseanna
Roseanna
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I’ve never heard of that “rule” before, I’m from London, England…I’ve been in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Dubai ect (and have myself travelled extensively throughout the USA…). I assure you that, as far as I know (and I am well versed in legal matters) one is not “legally” tr race of one’s father ????

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Roseanna

More than this fact is hidden. Confusion is so prevalent, that the truth sounds so odd, to so many people, these days. Don’t blame me…blame those that lie to you about this. Anywho, we are all grown, and so it’s our responsibility to ask for the spirit of truth, to know when one hears the truth, or whether one is being lied to. All knees will bow to the truth one day.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I’ve seen her dad. He’s not white.

hope
hope
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

im sorry but this is the dumbest comment ever. lol
Caucasian is a pure race form once u are mixed with something else u cease to be Caucasian or ur original race. u are in fact mixed race unless ofcos u are mixed with black then people would rather call u black except in Africa u are called mulatto/ half-caste.
ur point is only valid when it comes to religion .
u take on ur dads religion not race lol. how can u be white yet ur color is brown

Adía
Adía
5 years ago
Reply to  hope

You can’t “cease to be Caucasian.” That implies that a baby can change races

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  hope

I’m am glad that now you know how race works, whether you hear or forbear, like it or not…you can’t say nobody ever told you. My hands are clean in this matter of how race is determined. Many beliefs and desires are not based on, and are often hostile to, the truth. Many have been murdered for telling inconvenient or politically hidden truths. You are the race of your Father. The Man carries the sperm. Skin color and race are two different matters. Truth will win in the end, whether or not you think truth is dumb..

hehuha
hehuha
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

Her father is not white though.

YeahAboutThatThough
YeahAboutThatThough
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I’m sorry; your theory is absurd. I’m black, my husband is a white German national, and our child is a pink cheeked, tiny nosed, yet deep caramel skinned sweety pie with my full lips, large dark brown eyes and super curly hair. Her father is literally a Nordic type white guy. But I promise you, no one would ever mistake her for a white chick. It would never be her experience. Her experience will be shaped both by how she is perceived by others and how she personally identifies- regardless of the race of her father. No body asks to… Read more »

Edges_N_Paris
5 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Clark

I’m not familiar with the child automatically assuming the race of the father either.

Brown Girl
Brown Girl
5 years ago
Reply to  Edges_N_Paris

yeah that comment is strange and confusing…it almost seems like it was meant to spark some conversation

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Brown Girl

There’s lots of strange and confusing fruit going around. But truth will win.

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Edges_N_Paris

So much info. in the world, but so little truth. Truth is surrounded by a bodyguard of lies, but truth will prevail in the end.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

My uncle used to tan because people would tease and say he looked white. it always faded and he went back to looking the same so he gave up.

Kgomotso Ramushu
Kgomotso Ramushu
5 years ago

Reading the comments here brought home the realisation that black people in Africa and the diaspora have a LOOOONG way to go. We’re out here debating a social construct that has been systematically used and held up to ensure large scale dispossession like it fell from heaven.Toni Morrison rightly said that “The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t… Read more »

Naima Major Berry
Naima Major Berry
5 years ago

Thanks! I was waiting for this comment. Took the words right out of my mouth and so eloquently stated, and with such literary authority. Love that!

Cat Solomon
Cat Solomon
5 years ago

It was sad to hear that she didn’t think she was pretty because she felt she was too light. I am not sure if it was really relegated to her race though. I know many white people who tan. How many white Hollywood stars looked bronze on the Golden Globes? However I think for people of color its not just an aesthetic but ingrained systematic belief that a certain color deserves or gets more privileges than another. It seems silly to still hold on to these beliefs but we just can’t let it go because the media won’t. All skintones… Read more »

Shaniqua L.
Shaniqua L.
5 years ago

“Additionally, if she is saying that she doesn’t know where her roots come from couldn’t one infer that she is denying her race?” Not necessarily. People bearing “African” features were all over the planet before the start of European colonialism. A black person in America could have largely non African ancestors if you’re simply speaking in geographic terms. If you want to make the argument that all life can be traced back to African roots if you look far enough (not saying that you did, just giving an example) then one can argue that a Caucasian is just as African as… Read more »

India
India
5 years ago

Anyone is free to tan or lighten their skin, it’s the same as people with straight hair who curl it and people with curly hair straightening it. We are free to change our looks as we please, it’s what makes everyone unique, the problem is a social level. As a light skinned black girl I have always felt some prejudice within the black community. I grew up hearing insensitive comments about my skintone, and I just wanted to be darker to fit in. I do not nor have I ever criticized anyone for their skintone, maybe because I was a… Read more »

Brown Girl
Brown Girl
5 years ago

ummmm yeah ok hun

YeahAboutThatThough
YeahAboutThatThough
5 years ago

Troll much?

Janet Holmes
Janet Holmes
5 years ago

Omg„,please stop while u can as u sound like a complete lunatic. …b tw,just so you know. You lost me when u claim that Raven dad was white when clearly he isn’t

girlbye
girlbye
5 years ago

Ummm why do we care? So unimportant.

I Miss The Boondocks
I Miss The Boondocks
5 years ago

I understand! I am light skinned and I use darker makeup to make my skin appear darker. I know that darker skin is beautiful and I want to get it! It’s funny to see celebs going darker, instead of bleaching.

HairAnomaly
HairAnomaly
5 years ago

I need to take time to do some real soul searching to figure out why I chuckled when I read this. (1…2…3…) Ok, I am finished.

I would watch this, but I will be busy engaging in activities that will actually help me to improve my mind, body, and soul. Or, I will just be watching my fingernails grow.

kitso
kitso
5 years ago

I really find it shallow when light skinned people, whether white or black tan themselves brown just as much as i find it shallow for dark skinned people to bleach their skin light.

Amie
Amie
5 years ago

It’s interesting how easily we dismiss some peoples experiences and anecdotes, while insisting that only one version of suffering is the important one, especially when the rejected experience is a half-privilege, seeing as we are still black and women, even if we are lighter-skinned. I’m light-skinned, and I think the other side needs to be told as well. Dark-skinned women are not the only ones who experience pain, insecurity, feel they don’t measure up to a beauty ideal, etc. As far as Raven goes, well, I appreciate her sharing that. I’m not surprised. I suspect something similar with Beyonce at… Read more »

crystal colon
crystal colon
4 years ago
Reply to  Amie

beyonce is not high yellow. raven is. the media loves to make beyonce look so light and she is brown skinned not light skinned.

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