‘That’s So Raven’ Star Anneliese Van Der Pol Says Raven-Symoné Was Initially Cast As ‘The Sidekick’ Due To Racism: ‘They Couldn’t Really See A Black Girl Leading A Show’
Seems like we almost had an entirely different version of the hit Disney series “That’s So Raven.”
Recently, actress Anneliese van der Pol sat down with fellow former Disney child star Christy Carlson Romano, 39, — who was on “Even Stevens” — and revealed Raven-Symoné, 37, was initially set to play a side character on “That’s So Raven.”
Anneliese van der Pol recalled:
“When I went in to audition, the show was called ‘Absolutely Psychic.’ It wasn’t called ‘That’s So Raven’ at all.”
Anneliese, 38, continued and shared that the original version of the show didn’t revolve around Raven Baxter, played by Raven-Symoné.
“At the time Raven wasn’t the lead. She was the sidekick.”
However, producers seemingly couldn’t ignore Raven-Symoné’s comedic talent and had no choice but to give her the leading role. Anneliese explained:
“When they filmed they realized that Raven was the funniest one.”
“I think that was kind of like, racism. They couldn’t really see a Black girl leading a show. They saw her as a sidekick.”
As you may know, “That’s So Raven” is a sitcom that aired on Disney Channel for four seasons from January 2003 to November 2007. The series centers around the fictional Raven Baxter (Raven-Symoné) as she goes through life as a teenager living with a secret psychic ability. The only people aware of her special talent are her best friends Eddie (Orlando Brown) and Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol), and her family — brother Cory (Kyle Massey) and parents Tanya (T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh) and Victor (Rondell Sheridan).
A series spin-off, “Cory in the House” starring Massey and Sheridan aired for two seasons from 2007 – 2008. “Raven’s Home” — a “That’s So Raven” reboot — kicked off its sixth season this month.
What are your thoughts? Tell us below!