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Raven

Raven

December 10, 1985 Atlanta, Georgia

Actress

Teen actress Raven stars in the hit Disney Channel series That's So Raven. Many fans of her show, however, may not be old enough to recognize Raven from her first television role. In the early 1990s Raven charmed audiences as the youngest member of the Huxtable clan on the last few seasons of the top-rated NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. At the time, she was known by the stage name Raven-Symoné, which she later shortened.

Starred in television commercials

Raven was born Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 10, 1985. Her parents, Christopher and Lydia Pearman, believed their infant daughter had star power at an early age, and she landed a modeling contract before her second birthday. Soon the family relocated to New York City to boost her chances. There the toddler appeared in television commercials for products such as Cool Whip and Ritz Crackers, among others. Her talents led to an audition for a part in a Bill Cosby (1937) film called Ghost Dad, but she did not win the role.

The audition, however, impressed Cosby, a veteran actor and comedian. Since 1984 he had headed the cast of the The Cosby Show, the hit NBC series that was said to have revived the sitcom format. In it, Cosby played Heathcliff Huxtable, a likable physician. "Cliff" was married to a no-nonsense attorney, Clair, played by Phylicia Rashad (1948), and they had five children. The Huxtable kids ranged from college student Sondra, played by Sabrina LeBeauf, to pre-schooler Rudy, played by Keshia Knight Pulliam (1979).

Even at a young age, Raven was familiar with The Cosby Show. As her father told Ebony journalist Douglas C. Lyons, Raven liked to watch little Knight Pulliam's Rudy character, and "would always say, 'I can do that. Why can't I be on The Cosby Show?'" Her chance came in 1989, when the second Huxtable daughter, played by Lisa Bonet (1967), returned to the show. Bonet had left to star in a spin-off, set at college, called A Different World. She left both series for a time, and her return to Cosby came as the newly married Denise Huxtable. Denise's husband was a single parent and Navy officer who was often away at sea, and Denise returned to her parents' Brooklyn brownstone home with her husband's toddler daughter, Olivia Kendall, played by Raven.

"I just want to represent my people well. I'm not going to be ghetto on the show. I don't want people to think that's all we can do."

Found steady work

Raven was an immediate hit as Cosby 's newest cast member. She soon became a celebrity at the young age of five. She recalled being thrilled the first time a fan requested an autograph. "And I signed my whole name right," she boasted to Lyons. She played Olivia for the final three seasons on Cosby, which ended its run in 1992. In 1993 she landed a role in another top sitcom, Hangin'With Mr. Cooper, playing the part of Nicole Lee. She also made her feature film debut in 1994 in a remake of The Little Rascals. A bigger movie role came in 1998 when she appeared as Eddie Murphy (1961)'s daughter in the box office hit Dr. Dolittle, and she also appeared in its 2001 sequel.

The Cosby Phenomenon

The Cosby Show was a major television event of the 1984 season. From its debut, the show's mix of comedy and gentle moral lessons appealed to audiences of all colors. Critics called it the show that helped renew faith in the half-hour situation comedy on network television. The Cosby household included eldest daughter Sondra, who was often away at college; Denise, the fashionably dressed teen rebel; Theo, the sole son and a prankster; drama-queen Vanessa; and Rudy, an adorable kindergartner.

With popular comedian Bill Cosby cast as a New York City obstetrician with an attorney wife, Cosby was said to be the first television series to show a black middle-class family. But their skin color, others noted, was beside the point. The Huxtables' problems were similar to those of any family. Cliff and Clair struggled to make sure their children understood the importance of their education. They dealt with the occasional discipline problem firmly and with a sense of humor. The series, noted Time critic Richard Zoglin, "initiated a healthy new attitude toward race on TV by building a show around an upper-middle-class family that just happened to be black. And it set a standard for wholesome TV families that inspired backlash (Married ... with Children ) as well as imitation (Family Matters )."

The Cosby Show held the number-one spot in television ratings for four years in the late 1980s. It was the most successful sitcom of the decade, and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Raven joined the show as it was nearing the end of its run. She debuted on it in 1989 as Olivia Kendall, stepdaughter to a newly married Denise. She seemed cast to fill the "cute" slot occupied earlier by Keshia Knight Pulliam's Rudy, and she did so admirably for the final three seasons, trading lines with Cosby's Cliff Huxtable and winning some of the biggest laughs in each episode. But as the other Huxtable children grew into their teens and adulthood, the show's writers struggled to keep its plots fresh. It began losing ratings to a new series from the Fox Network, The Simpsons, and its final episode aired in the spring of 1992.

Raven's little Olivia lives on in reruns of The Cosby Show. She occasionally catches glimpses of herself as a scene-stealing five-year-old, but finds it to be a strange experience. "It's funny, when I watch the show I don't think of Olivia as being me," Raven told WWD writer Julee Greenberg. "I sort of think of her as someone else, since I was too young to remember so much of it."

During the 1990s Raven divided her time between school and show business. Child labor laws required her to have a tutor if her television and movie parts were being shot during the months when school was in session. She also went into the recording studio, and her debut album, Here's To New Dreams, was released in 1993, the same year she turned eight. She had reportedly been the youngest solo artist ever signed to the MCA label. She was a teenager by the time her second album of pop and R&B tunes, Undeniable, appeared in 1999.

Raven was hired by Disney as she neared the end of her high school years at Atlanta's North Springs High. She was originally cast in a supporting role on a new show called Absolutely Psychic, but executives were impressed by her talent and decided to rework the script with her in the lead. That's So Raven debuted on the Disney Channel in January of 2003, and from the start proved to be a hit with viewers in the nine-to-fourteen age group. Raven plays Raven Baxter, a San Francisco high school student who struggles with her psychic abilities. Only her two best friends and her parents know about her secret gift. Raven's character is a likable, normal teenager who is a bit of a klutz, but "her visions give her a real mysteriousness," the actress told Suzanne MacNeille in an article in the New York Times. Raven explained, "They are the one thing that makes her humble." She added that her character tries to keep her special talent from intruding on her normal teenage life. "Raven doesn't want just anyone to know about her visions," she told MacNeille. "She's afraid people will think she's a freak."

Newest "tween" star

Though the veteran teen actress no longer had to make a special effort to spell her entire name correctly for autographs, she was in turn amused by her young fans. "Little kids are coming up to me asking me 'What's my future?'" she told Jet "'I'm not really psychic,'" she explained to them, as she told the magazine. "And they are like, 'No, what's my future?'And I am like, 'OK, you are going to have a good future.'"

Raven was hailed as a member of the new "tween" actor category, and as the Disney Channel's next big star. There were many comparisons to Lizzie McGuire, the Disney hit that propelled Hilary Duff (1987) to fame. Nicholas Fonseca in Entertainment Weekly declared that Raven's "quick rise may herald a new era at the network, one with a curvy, sassy black girl as its poster child." Like Duff, Raven also began appearing in other Disney projects. She was cast in the lead in The Cheetah Girls, a cable movie that aired in the summer of 2003. It won the highest rating for a cable show that week, with more than six million viewers tuning in. The Cheetah Girls was based on a series of young adult novels, and Raven starred as Galleria Garibaldi, an ambitious New York City high school student who leads a singing group of three friends. In the movie the girls head for stardom in the midst of drama, excitement, and a lot of animal-print fashion. Laura Fries, writing in Daily Variety, gave the show a mixed review: "Ironically, 'Cheetah Girls' supposedly denounces manufactured pop music and marketing over artistry, yet it plays like a two-hour fashion commercial and culminates in a ridiculous lip-synching extravaganza."Yet Fries also noted that the cable movie "does have a few things going for it, namely Raven, an appealing and versatile young actress who has charm and skill."

The Cheetah Girls seemed good preparation for Raven to appear as the lead in upcoming Hollywood movies. She was cast in Sparkle, a remake of a 1976 musical film about three sisters who form a girl group. The original starred a young Irene Cara (1959), who later appeared in the hit movie Fame. Raven would take the Cara role as the youngest Sparkle sister. It was a part once planned for Aaliyah (19792001), before her untimely death in a plane crash. Raven was also slated to star in All-American Girl, a 2004 movie based on a book by Meg Cabot (1967), the author of The Princess Diaries. In it, she is cast as a teenager who inadvertently saves the U.S. president's life. There is also a third pop album in the works.

"I'm not your normal girl"

Raven has always remembered the advice that veteran actor Bill Cosby gave her: "'Stay professional and always stay sweet,'" she recalled to an interviewer for Jet. She had a difficult time in one scene during her first season of That's So Raven, she told the New York Times. The script called for her to let a boa constrictor snake be wrapped around her neck. She was so frightened of the reptile that she began crying, and "the sick faces I'm making are for real," she confessed to MacNeille.

Raven eventually moved out of her parents' home to share a place with another tween star, Lindsay Lohan (1986). They live in Los Angeles, where Raven's Disney series is taped. A food lover, she has said that she would like to attend culinary school some day, if her schedule permits. She admits that her figure is curvier than normal for actresses on television and in films. "I'm not your normal girl that you see on television," she told Palm Beach Post writer Kevin D. Thompson. "I'm not 95 pounds.... But when you look at the movies and you look at all the girls who are hot now, I wonder if I could've been in those movies if I was skinny." She also discussed her figure in an interview with WWD 's Julee Greenberg. Raven said she has considered offers to launch her own makeup or apparel line, but "if I was to do my own clothing line, I would do it for girls who are built like me," she told Greenberg. "When I shop for myself it's very hard to find clothes. I'm curvy and there should be more clothes out there for curvy girls."

For More Information

Periodicals

Fleming, Michael. "Raven Flocks to Pic: Young Thesp to 'Sparkle' in Thrush Tale Redo." Daily Variety (August 18, 2003): p. 5.

Fonseca, Nicholas. "The New Tween Queen: Former Cosby Show-Stealer and Current Disney Channel Icon Raven is So Not Lizzie McGuire." Entertainment Weekly (October 17, 2003): p. 42.

Fries, Laura. "The Cheetah Girls. (Movie Review.)" Daily Variety (August 15, 2003): p. 8.

Greenberg, Julee. "Quotes From Raven; With 'The Cosby Show' Behind Her Raven Prepares to Be a Cheetah Girl." WWD (August 7, 2003): p. 12.

Lipton, Michael A. "Cos and Effect: All Grown Up, the Cosby Show Kids Recall the Landmark Show That Celebrated a New Kind of TV Family." People (May 20, 2002): p. 140.

Lyons, Douglas C. "Show Biz Kids: Pre-Teen Stars Find That Success in the Spotlight Is Not All Fun and Child's Play." Ebony (May 1990): p. 106.

MacNeille, Suzanne. "Visions of Peril Dance in Her Head (But It's a Secret)." New York Times (January 12, 2003): p. 59.

Moses, Michael. "Raven." Teen People (February 1, 2004): p. 93.

"Raven Cute 'Cosby' Kid Turns Sassy TV Starlet at 17." Jet (September 8, 2003): p. 60.

"Raven-Symone Releases Her Debut Pop Album." Jet (July 5, 1993): p. 61.

Thompson, Kevin D. "Raven Wonders If 'Thicky-Thick' a Liability." Palm Beach Post (July 13, 2003): p. 5J.

Wright, Heather Keets. "Raven Wins Raves: This Former Cosby Show Cutie Is Now a Disney Diva with Her Own Sitcom!" Essence (October 2003): p. 148.

Zoglin, Richard. "The Cosby Show." Time (May 4, 1992): p. 76.

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raven

raven, common name for the largest members of the family Corvidae (crow family), ranging throughout the arctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The common raven, Corvus corax, is a glossy black scavenging bird about 26 in. (66 cm) long, with a call resembling a guttural croak. Long the subject of superstition and legend, the raven can be tamed and taught to mimic human speech. Ravens are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Corvidae.

See studies by B. Heinrich (repr. 1991; 1999).

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raven

raven the raven is traditionally regarded as a bird of ill-omen, and one that as a carrion-bird feeds on corpses, especially of those who have been killed in battle or hanged. Danish vikings had the symbol of a raven on their flag. In Scandinavian mythology, Odin has two ravens, Hugin and Munin, who are his messengers.

A raven is the emblem of St Benedict and St Oswald; ravens are also said to have brought bread to the prophet Elijah when he was living east of the Jordan (1 Kings 17:6), and during the Flood a raven was sent out of the ark by Noah.

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raven

rav·en1 / ˈrāvən/ • n. a large heavily built crow, esp. the all-black common raven (Corvus corax), feeding chiefly on carrion. • adj. (esp. of hair) of a glossy black color. rav·en2 / ˈravən/ • v. [intr.] archaic (of a ferocious wild animal) hunt for prey. ∎  [tr.] devour voraciously.

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raven

raven Large bird of the crow family found in deserts, forests and mountainous areas of the Northern Hemisphere. It has a long, conical bill, shaggy throat feathers, a wedge-shaped tail and black plumage with a purple sheen. It eats carrion or any other animal food. Length: to 68cm (27in). Family Corvidae.

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raven

raven2 †take by force, divide as spoil XV; devour voraciously (also intr.). XVI. — (O)F. raviner rush, ravage, (now) hollow out, furrow:- Rom. *rapīnāre, f. L. rapīna RAPINE.
So ravenous XV. — OF. ravineux.

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raven

raven1 large black bird with raucous voice. OE. hræfn = OS. -hraban, MLG., MDu. rāven (Du. raāf), OHG. (h)raban, ON. hrafn :- Gmc. *χrabnaz; of imit. orig.

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raven

raven •Melanchthon •lengthen, strengthen •Nathan •Elizabethan, Ethan •Phaethon • python • leviathan •Jonathan • marathon • earthen •Carmarthen • leathern • heathen •northern • southern • burthen •Avon, Cavan, cavern, raven, tavern •Caernarfon, Dungarvan, Javan •Wilhelmshaven • Tórshavn •Bevan, Devon, eleven, Evan, heaven, leaven, Pleven, seven, Severn •Hesvan •craven, graven, haven, maven, shaven, Stratford-upon-Avon •even, Sivan, Steven •driven, forgiven, given, misgiven, Niven, riven, shriven, thriven •silvern, sylvan •Godgiven • Sullivan •enliven, Ivan, liven •cloven, interwoven, woven •Beethoven • Eindhoven • proven •coven, govern, misgovern, oven, sloven •cordovan • Donovan • Quechuan •Bronwen • Iowan

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Raven

RAVEN

RAVEN (Heb. בֵרֹוע), bird. Mentioned in the Pentateuch among the unclean birds is "every raven after its kind" (Lev. 11:15). The reference is to the genus Corvus of which four species are found in Israel, three black (cf. Song 5:11) and one, very prevalent near inhabited areas, the hooded crow, Corvus corone, which has a gray back and belly and a black head and wings. It is commonly found in Jerusalem where it nests in high trees. Metal spikes were placed on the roof of the Temple to prevent ravens, undoubtedly attracted by the remains of sacrifices, from sitting on these (Mid. 4:6) and disturbing the Temple service with their raucous cries. These sounds are particularly strident during hot spells at the beginning of summer, when the "youngravens" leave the nest. Although already grown, the young are incapable of finding food, and since they have a voracious appetite, their parents fly to and fro in search of food for them, the air being filled with their cries, and hence the description: "He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry" (Ps. 147:9). These young ravens cry, as it were, to God to satisfy their hunger, as it says in Job (38:41): "Who provideth for the raven his prey, when his young ones cry unto God…?" The hooded crow is found in flocks which with great devotion defend their companions and especially the young, and hence the saying: "Three love one another, proselytes, slaves, and ravens" (Pes. 113b). The black raven, Corvus corax, preys on small animals and feeds on carcasses and corpses (cf. Prov. 30:17). Although folklore represents the raven as presaging evil (cf. Isa. 34:11), it is once mentioned in a favorable context, ravens having fed *Elijah when he hid in the brook *Cherith (i Kings 17:2–6). The raven is endowed with a highly developed sense of orientation, and in eastern countries mariners took with them ravens to direct them to dry land; the story of the raven in the ark (Gen. 8:7) is reminiscent of this.

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 172–5, nos. 205–8; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 57; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 88. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 258.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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Raven

Raven ★½ 1997 (R)

Covert mercenary team codenamed Raven is after a Soviet satellite decoder. They're doublecrossed by renegade CIA agents and their leader Reynolds decides to get his own brand of justice. 93m/C VHS, DVD . Burt Reynolds, Krista Allen, Matt Battaglia, David Ackroyd, Richard Gant; D: Russell Solberg; W: Jacobsen Hart; C: John Dirlam; M: Harry Manfredini.

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Raven

Raven

Actress and singer

Born Raven-Symone Christina Pearman, December 10, 1985, in Atlanta, GA; daughter of Christoper (a manager) and Lydia (Gaulden) Pearman.

Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1934.

Career

Model, 1986-89; appeared in television commercials for Cool Whip, Ritz Crackers, and other products, 1986-89. Recording artist, 1993—. Television appearances include: The Cosby Show, 1989-1992; A Different World, 1989; The Muppets at Walt Disney World (movie), 1990; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 1992; Queen (miniseries; uncredited) 1993; Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, 1993-97; Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (voice), 1995; Space Ghost Coast to Coast, 1997; Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (movie), 1999; My Wife and Kids, 2001; The Proud Family (voice), 2001; Kim Possible (voice), 2002; That's So Raven, 2002—; The Cheetah Girls (movie), 2003; Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (movie; voice), 2003; Zenon: Z3 (movie), 2004. Film appearances include: Little Rascals, 1994; Doctor Dolittle, 1998; Dr. Dolittle 2, 2001; Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, 2004; Fat Albert (voice), 2004.

Awards: Young Artists Award for Exceptional Performance by a Young Artist Under Nine, for The Cosby Show, 1991; Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program, for That's So Raven, 2004.

Sidelights

Although most child stars fade in popularity as they get older, Raven is one of the few whose fame has grown through the years. She began her career as a three year old on the hit television sitcom The Cosby Show, continued to act on the show Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, and since has branched out into film roles and recording contracts, largely with Disney, which considers her to be its next big star.

Born Raven-Symone Christina Pearman in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985, Raven is the daughter of Christopher Pearman, who continues to work as her manager, and his wife, Lydia. Her parents signed her up to model before she was two years old, and she was so successful at it that they decided to move to New York City, the hub of modeling and television commercial work. Raven was soon acting in commercials. Although she was young, she had a quick mind and the ability to memorize lines. She and her parents liked to watch The Cosby Show, starring Bill Cosby and featuring an educated, middle-class African-American family, the Huxtables, living in Brooklyn. Raven observed the girl playing the youngest daughter, Rudy, and as her father told Douglas C. Lyons in Ebony, often said, "I can do that. Why can't I be on The Cosby Show?"

Raven did audition for a role in the Bill Cosby film Ghost Dad, but instead, he offered her a role on the show. She began appearing on the show during its sixth season in 1989, playing a toddler named Olivia, the stepchild of the second Huxtable daughter, Denise, who had married Martin, a naval officer. Raven was a hit with viewers, and did so well in this role that she stayed until the show's final episode in 1992. She told CNN.com's David Haffenreffer that because she was so young when she did the show, the details of her work there are "fading very slowly. The one thing I do remember is working with the people and how wonderful they were to me and I was very fortunate to go onto a set at such a young age with so many veterans in such a wonderful atmosphere. It was something good to start the business off at."

Raven told Jessica Shevlin and Katie Nappi in the Houston Chronicle that she still sometimes sees reruns of The Cosby Show. "It's kind of cool seeing yourself that young. I'm not able to remember much of it, so it's kind of like looking at someone else." She commented to Michael A. Lipton in People, "I'll always be known as a Cosby kid. And it doesn't bother me. I get to keep that fan base."

In addition to her acting aspirations, Raven also wanted a singing career. She told her father about her dream, and he began looking for a deal for her. Eventually he found one, and when she was five years old, Raven signed with MCA, the youngest artist ever to join the label. She released her debut single, "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of," in 1993 as part of the LP Here's to New Dreams, which featured a medley of R&B, pop, and dance tunes. In Jet, a reviewer commented that the album was "getting a lot of airplay."

During the early 1990s, Raven made appearances in various television shows, including The Muppets at Walt Disney World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Queen, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 1993 Raven won a part on the sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, playing Nicole, the daughter of Cooper's cousin. At the time, the seven-year-old Raven told a Jet inter-viewer, "I love this show. It was the second show that I saw and wanted to be on." She added, "There are a lot of great writers and producers on this show." She also said that her character was different from the one she played on Cosby: "For one, I'm a lot older here. Olivia was a lot younger. Olivia has grown into Nicole. I'm in a new city and trying to learn new things."

In 1994, Raven made her debut on film in a remake of the 1930s series Little Rascals, playing Stymie's girlfriend. She continued to work in the latter half of the 1990s, providing her voice for the role of Goldilocks in the animated television series Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child in 1995. In 1998 she appeared in the film Dr. Dolittle, which starred Eddie Murphy playing a vet who can talk to animals; she played one of his daughters. She appeared in the same role in the film's sequel in 2001.

When Raven released her second LP, Undeniable, in 1999, it did well enough to earn her an opening spot for the teen pop band N'Sync's tour. However, while she was on tour, she still had to complete her schoolwork. As she explained in a Jet interview, her parents warned her, "You can be in the business all you want but you better graduate with honors." She continued to juggle acting and schoolwork when she landed a role on the animated series Kim Possible, providing the voice of Monique. When she got this role, she dropped "Symone" from her name, using only "Raven."

In 2002, she landed a major role when Disney chose her to star in her own sitcom, That's So Raven. The series featured Raven as a psychic teenager who can see a few seconds into the future, but no farther, an ability that gets her into various wacky situations. Raven told CNN.com's Haffenreffer, "It has a lot of physical comedy." The series soon had 1.9 million viewers each week, and Raven was considered to be Disney's next famous face, according to Disney Channel entertainment president Rich Ross, who told Nicholas Fonseca in Entertainment Weekly, "We expect her to be a big star for this company." Fans of the show, many of whom were children, believed wholeheartedly in the show's premise that she was psychic, and as she told a Jet interviewer, "Little kids are coming up to me asking me, ' What's my future?' I [tell them], 'I'm not really psychic.' And they are like, 'No, what's my future?' And I am like, 'OK, you are going to have a good future.'"

In addition to working on the television show, Raven also appeared in a Disney television movie in 2003: The Cheetah Girls. The film told the story of an all-female pop group that hoped to make it big by winning their high-school talent contest. In Daily Variety, Laura Fries wrote that the film "aspires to be a culturally diverse morality lesson disguised as musical fantasy. Instead, it's a diva training film." She also panned the movie's unmemorable plot, noting, "The pic is all about the hair, the look, the attitude. And like hungry cheetahs on the prowl, teen audiences will probably eat it up." However, she noted that the film "does have a few things going for it, namely Raven, an appealing and versatile young actress who has charm and skill."

Raven also sang on the film's soundtrack—which eventually went platinum despite the critics' comments about the film. She was thinking about enrolling in culinary school after she graduated from high school, but she also had more film roles in her future. She was slated to appear in a remake of a 1976 film, Sparkle, about a singing group that resembled the Supremes. It was originally supposed to star singer Aaliyah, but was temporarily shelved when that singer was killed in a plane crash. Raven was cast as the youngest in the three-sister group, which would undergo conflict and tragedy in their pursuit of success. She planned to watch the original version only once, she told Entertainment Weekly's Fonseca, "Just to make sure I'm on the right track. I don't want to follow in anybody else's footsteps." She would do all her own singing in the film.

Disney also planned to have Raven star in All American Girl, a feature film about a girl who inadvertently rescues the president of the United States. In the film, she would play a part that was originally written for a white girl; the script would be adapted to reflect an African-American sensibility. The film was slated to be released in 2005. Raven also planned to release another album, with the aid of a variety of producers, which would feature hip-hop, alternative, and neo-soul tracks. She told Entertainment Weekly's Fonseca that she was influenced by a wide range of performers: "I listen to everything from Jay-Z to Bjork to Avril Lavigne to Mary J. Blige."

In addition to her onscreen film roles, Raven found work providing voices for animated productions. Having worked on the television show Kim Possible, she provided the voice of Monique for the television movies Kim Possible: The Secret Files and Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time. She also provided the voice of Danielle in Fat Albert, released in 2004.

In 2004, Raven graduated from high school, but she was immediately bored by the lack of work to do and the abundance of free time. Nevertheless, she told CNN.com's Haffenreffer that she was "still having fun. I just turned 18 in December. So I'm having a wonderful time being a teenager. I'm just sitting back and enjoying it all." In addition to her acting, she contributed to the CD Disney Mania 2. She told Haffenreffer that the success of the Disney CDs came from the public's "familiarity with the songs and the people singing the songs." On September 21, 2004, Raven released the album This Is My Time, which included a mix of pop and R&B songs. She co-wrote five of the songs.

Raven is still thinking about going to culinary school, but only when her busy schedule subsides. "I don't want to worry about skipping spaghetti class because I have to make a movie," she told Michael Moses in Teen People. She has also thought about moving into the fashion world, with her own line of clothing. She told Julee Greenberg in WWD, "I would do it for girls who are built like me. When I shop for myself it's very hard to find clothes. I'm curvy and there should be more clothes out there for curvy girls." For now, Raven plans to concentrate on acting and singing. She told Entertainment Weekly's Fonseca, "I'm very comfortable with what I do. I like entertaining people and making them laugh."

Selected discography

Here's to New Dreams, MCA, 1993.

Undeniable, Crash, 1999.

(Contributor) Disney Mania 2, Disney, 2004.

This Is My Time, Hollywood, 2004.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 44, Gale Group, 2004.

Periodicals

Daily Variety, August 15, 2003, p. 8; August 18, 2003, p. 5.

Ebony, May 1990, p. 106.

Entertainment Weekly, October 17, 2003, pp. 42-43.

Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2003, p. 2.

Jet, July 5, 1993, p. 61; November 8, 1993, p. 58; September 8, 2003, p. 60.

People, May 20, 2002, p. 140; October 18, 2004, p. 46.

Teen People, February 1, 2004, p. 93.

WWD, August 7, 2003, p. 12.

Online

"Getting the Scoop on Disney TV's Raven," CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com (August 30, 2004).

"Raven," Internet Movie Database, http://www.imbd.com/name/nm0712368/ (August 30, 2004).

"That's So Raven," TV Tome, http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/serlet/ShowMainServlet/showed-8257/ (August 30, 2004).

—Kelly Winters

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