Last week, the National Enquirer — not exactly the standard of quality reporting — decided to get all up in actress Raven-Symoné’s business. The tabloid alleged that the child star (The Cosby Show) turned millionaire entertainment mogul has a girlfriend.
I couldn’t be bothered so much to care. One, I don’t freak out about folks not being straight; and two, admittedly, I have a soft spot for Olivia — I mean, Raven, who is currently starring in Sister Act on Broadway (and receiving rave reviews). I watched her grow up on TV and I’ve always respected her hustle in front of and, more importantly, behind the camera. She’s a young shot-caller. And in an age when reality stars have become celebrities by selling the most salacious aspects of their lives and young women clamor for the spotlight by any means necessary, Raven’s managed to keep it old-school in the best way possible: displaying talent instead of sex.
I actually didn’t expect her to respond to the allegations. She’s always been as tight-lipped about her personal life as the consistently closed-lip smile she sports on red carpets. But maybe she was feeling feisty when she took to Twitter to set the record straight.
“I’m living my personal life the way I’m happiest,” wrote Raven. “I’m not one, in my 25 year career to disclose who I’m dating. And I shall not start now. My sexual orientation is mine, and the person I’m dating to know. I’m not one for a public display of my life… My career is the only thing I would like to put on display, not my personal life. Kisses!”
Many who read her response dissected it for what it may have really meant since she didn’t declare whether she was straight, lesbian or otherwise. But they overlooked, perhaps willingly, the whole point.
Somewhere along the way, many of us picked up the idea that we have a right to know everything about the private lives of celebrities — from where they shop to what — and apparently even who — they do. I’ve heard Beyoncé, notoriously private, get called out for not leaking pictures of her exposed pregnant belly, or not uncovering baby Blue when she’s being carried in public. I’ve read an article about Jay-Z’s so-called obligation to reveal pictures of him doting on his new daughter to send a message to young Black men about the importance of fatherhood. Tyra caught hell for not speaking about her then-boyfriend of three years and the Smiths — Will and Jada — still catch heat for not doing more to dispel rumors that their marriage is intact.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a lil’ celeb juice as much as the next bored-at-work woman. But what I’d like to know and what celebs are obligated to expose are two different things. Their private lives deserve to remain, well, private. The job of an entertainer is to entertain with their talent, not with the juicy details of what goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors.