Is It Harder for Black Celebrities to Come Out of the Closet?

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Raven Symone came out as a lesbian earlier this week on her Twitter account. There had been much speculation regarding her sexuality since last year when National Enquirer reports began to surface that she was dating another woman. Symone did not confirm or deny the publication’s claims, instead she simply asked for privacy in the matter.

Many Black celebrities find it difficult to disclose their relationships to the public when they are same sex or interracial. According to Donald Bogle, a black film historian and a NYU film professor, “Interracial relationships and sex-same relationships are still subjects most famous people of color won’t discuss. The response from the black audience is still so unknown that it’s a risk that most really fear taking—and that’s understandable.”

Many believe that Symone is a welcome addition to the short list of Black lesbian entertainers that includes Wanda Sykes and Sheryl Swoopes.  There are also scores of other black female celebrities who have long been rumored to be involved in lesbian relationships, but they have yet to confirm them.  Symone’s candid announcement may give them courage to speak out.

There is a large part of the Black population that still is not accepting to same sex relationships, especially older Black people, and these deeply instilled conservative beliefs have a significant effect on who is and isn’t supported by the Black community in Hollywood.

Bogle states, “With those attitudes there is just no way to tell how revealing your sexual preferences will impact your career from the fan side or the business side. As a black performer struggling to work, you cannot afford to take that chance.”

It is not easy for Black actresses to gain opportunities, especially in the entertainment industry where they are often paid less and have a harder time climbing the ladder to success.

A well-known Black director that wished to have their identity withheld stated, “Raven is fearless for coming out, and I’m proud of her. But let’s face it, most black women in this business don’t have the clout or the money in the bank to risk it all. Look at how long it took Jodie Foster to come out, and she is a Hollywood institution. Raven has had a solid career that most black women don’t have and that affords her a certain amount of freedom.”

The director then went on to say, “What Raven did will no doubt help plenty of kids being bullied because they’re gay feel better about themselves.”

What do you think? Should an actor or actress’s sexuality have such major consequences on their career? Should it be major news that someone is homosexual in this day and age?


  1. virginia simmons

    August 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Raven has a right to live her life as she chooses. GOD gave HER this life and she’s done excellent in it.if her heart is with another woman WHO CARES live,love, and keep on being the successful woman you are. MUCH LOVE TO YOU RAVEN. i’m a fan always.

  2. Agetha Broussard

    August 8, 2013 at 12:23 am

    First & foremost, NO ONE has the right to dictate another’s sexual preference. If that’s what makes her happy, NO ONE should be able to deny her that right.
    What it all balls down to is that people are just looking for something to talk about. People need to GROW UP & MIND THEIR BUSINESS!!!!!
    Get a life!!!!!

  3. fed

    August 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Contrary to what the media want us to believe, most Black folks do not agree with the gay life style.

    • Kennedy

      August 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Where has the media indicated this. It’s pretty well known that blacks are considored super homophobic.

      • BigWill

        August 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm

        Damn Rt, and don’t you forget it.

  4. barbara

    August 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    If gay rumors of Tyler Perry, Queen Latifa, Robin Roberts are true, they should come out of the closet too. That will make it easier for others who feel they must hide who they are. It doesn’t change how I feel about them at all; I still love them.

    • Patrice

      August 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

      It’s not their responsibility to make anything easier for anyone. Why do we expect all these celebrities to make all these political and ethical stands against things? They are rich and famous; that does not equal positive influence. They are visible but that’s it. They are trying to live their lives the same way that everyone else is. They shouldn’t have to make their lives harder to make it easy for someone else. And before people start ranting–I know that many people before us have done great things and endured horrible hardships to pave the way for generations to come, but that was a choice that they made and the direction that they took in their lives. If people just want to be known for their talent in front of a camera, then so be it. Leave activism to the ones that want to be activists. Forcing someone to get behind a cause that they are not passionate about just causes more problems. This is just my personal opinion

  5. Oneplus one

    August 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    The life style is repugnant to me!

    Just close your eyes for a moment and invision to people of the same gender having sxx.

    Now tell all of us, do you believe that is normal behavior!

    I’m not hating, I’m just saying.

    • coast cooker

      August 9, 2013 at 9:16 am

      You talk about repugnant close your eyes and Invision a man and a woman having oral sxx.. Do you believe that’s normal behavior?

  6. EJ

    August 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm


    • Sherry

      August 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      She made it everyone’s business…on the world wide web! Nasty, nasty, nasty. Animals don’t do it with their own kind. What makes you think that it is ok to do it with your own kind. Human want to do themselves, animals, and even their own kind. PA-LEAZZZZ. I love all man kind, that’s what I suppose to do but I DON’T have to agree with their actions. Who you “do it” with does NOT make you an ethnicity. STOPPIT!!!! Who you are “doing in your bedroom” is YOUR business. You have mankind, human rights because you are a man or a woman NOT which one you are “doing”. YOU are what you “wash” everyday…what was “washed” when you can in the world…I don’t care what you cut off, inject, alter, or grow! And I expect to get RIPPED UP because society doesn’t care about anything else. not poverty, not Black on Black crime, not mental illness, not cancer, not even the killing of our Black youth….Just dog fighting and Who “turned” gay today. Not even in that order. It’s a sad season on earth. #JustMyOpinion

  7. shooshoo

    August 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Maybe it’s because their already out of the closet and they are showing their real selves and their real selves just aint gay. maybe blackclebrities are being totally honet and clear and just aint gay, how about that or is it the world just thinks people are gay nowadays or just wants people to be gay cus their sick.

  8. Reprobates Perish

    August 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

    This writer must be gay. This notion that homosexuality it’s the norm and it’s no one’s business is getting old. This generation is filled with immortality. Everyone thinks is ok to deny God and do as they please. You will reap what you sew. All the unwed women having bastard kids, drugs, alcohol, sexual deviants..your day is coming and you will pay. You will pay dearly!

    • Patrice

      August 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

      And I’m sure that you have done nothing wrong or immoral ever in your life. Your day is coming as well

  9. Sasha

    August 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I guess I just will never understand why it is our business as to what goes on in the personal life of a celebrity when it comes to their romances. I guess it doesn’t make or break my life’s journey or matters when it comes to whether I like them or their work. LIVE AND LET LIVE!!


    August 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    good for coming out & joining the ranks of other black celebrites to are not afraid anymore of coming out.. we will be celebrating 3 gay people here in miami, http://www.rainbowladiesourspace.org. on nov. 2nd.sat 2013 @ 7:00pm the caleb center for all thier community works, regardless of them being ” gay”…chairwomen concerned citizens committee inc. miami,fla. liberty city

  11. marcus davis

    August 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Who cares about all that crap! All I care about is whether these celebs produce good work be it tv show,movies,music etc .

  12. Jah Larry Dread

    August 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    “There are also scores of other black female celebrities who have long been rumored to be involved in lesbian relationships, but they have yet to confirm them”…Confirm them? Why is it anyone’s business? I only have a problem with those who molest young children.

  13. Aaron Steinberg

    September 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I wish Smiley and Cornell would come out, I’m not hating, they’re just jealous because our President Obama is very good looking and has that unmistakable “swagger”! Those two look like a Tapir and Squirrel monkey.

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