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Disney Channel Star Claims The Network Didn’t See Raven-Symoné As A Lead Because She Was Black

If you were a kid growing up in the early-to-mid 2000s, chances are, you watched a lot of Disney Channel. It was the golden era for the cable network, featuring shows like The Suite life of Zack and Cody, Phil of the Future, Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire, and of course, That’s So Raven.

The hit series premiered back in 2003 and ran until 2007. It was the first program on the channel to reach the 100 episode mark, and it only ended because the stars of the show became too old for the target demographic.

As some of you know, the show starred Raven-Symoné as a teenager named Raven Baxter, who lived a fairly normal life, except sometimes she’d get visions of the future. In addition to Raven, the show co-starred Orlando Brown and Anneliese van der Pol.

And during a recent appearance on the ‘Vulnerable‘ podcast, Anneliese revealed that Disney Channel wasn’t even considering Raven for the lead at first. In fact, the name of the show was Absolutely Psychic, and they were auditioning white girls for the main character, who was named Molly.

At the time, Raven wasn’t the lead. She was the sidekick. They were looking for a lead and I came in to audition for the lead. I think the character’s name was Molly.

But when they started doing filming, Raven took over. She was the funniest person on set, and the producers realized they had to make her the star.

When they filmed, they realized Raven was the funniest one and had a following, and so they bumped her up to first position, and then they started auditioning people again. I think that was kind of, like, racism at a low level — I guess if that’s even a possibility. They couldn’t really see a black girl leading a show. They only saw her as a sidekick.

I suppose I get what she’s saying. At that time, Disney wasn’t really considering black actors for leads, but it does say something that they were open to changing it.

Also, the network debuted The Proud Family two years before That’s So Raven came out, so it’s not like they were totally against the idea.

But still, it’s interesting to hear how Raven’s massive talent forced them to change everything.