Do you guys remember That’s So Raven? That’s So Raven, one of the few shows Disney channel did right. That’s So Raven, if you don’t remember starred Raven Symone as Raven Baxter. Let me tell you somethings about Raven Baxter; Raven Baxter wasn’t a thin girl nor did she want to be famous singer like EVERY OTHER CHARACTER ON TELEVISION TODAY. No, Raven was a girl with some extra meat on her bones that wanted to be a fashion designer and model her own work. Remember the episode where a magazine put her head on another model’s body because she didn’t have ‘the look’ and how Raven fought to change it? What happened to episodes like that, Disney Channel? Yes, That’s So Raven, despite being a show about a psychic, was the most real kids show on television. What about the episode dealing with racism when the store manager refused to hire Raven because she’s black? Or the episode dealing with drugs when Raven thought her brother, Cory, was smoking? This was a show that was popular and relatable. It didn’t feature a new song every week, it didn’t need to! The hilarious antics of the costume wearing Raven Baxter, mixed with life lessons we can actually read, made this show the best show Disney Channel came up with ever.
This show was too silly for me at times but I stuck with it for the same reason I’m sticking with The Mindy Project right now — it is a BIG DEAL for someone like me to see someone like me on television. A not-tiny, not-white girl who isn’t relegated to being a sassy sidekick to a more important, whiter, thinner character. Seeing this kind of show tells formerly teenager me and other teenagers like me that we’re important, worth seeing, our stories worth telling. It’s a show about a psychic, sure, which is interesting enough, but the decision to make the psychic a girl who looks like Raven and not another cookie cutter Disney star? I still appreciate that. It’s important for those of us who don’t see ourselves often.
It’s also kind of ridiculous how cool it is to have a show about a black person/black family that is not necessarily “black” show, but instead geared toward a mainstream audience.