Twenty eight year-old, Raven-Symoné has displayed quite a strong sense of self during her “Where Are They Now?” interview with Oprah Winfrey recently, and may have given us something to pause and think about.
Raven, when asked about her alleged ‘coming out’ tweet (“I can finally get married! Yaygovernment! So proud of you”) last August following the Supreme Court rule that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, replied “that was my way of saying I’m proud of the country. But, I will say that I’m in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner. A woman.”
Symoné went on to add “I don’t want to be labeled ‘gay’. I want to be labeled ‘a human who loves humans’.”
Going even further, Raven stated quite pointedly that she does not want to be labeled in any aspect of her life. “I’m tired of being labeled,” said the former Cosby star. “I’m an American. I’m not an African American; I’m an American.”
This statement seemed to have caught Oprah off guard as she shifted in her chair and lightly cautioned – “Oh, girl, don’t set up the Twitter on fire… Oh, my lord. What did you just say?”
Winfrey’s twitter predictions were right on the money, though there was no fire. Raven-Symone is currently trending on twitter, with many taking to the social media site to say their piece on the audacity of Symoné’s lack of interest in self-identification and labels.
However, looking at the point that one may assume Raven is trying to make – she is not denouncing these aspects of herself, “I am proud to be who I am and what I am.” It’s that she does not want to be labelled or identified as just a particular aspect of her persona.
And while some people may have an issue with Symoné’s views, does she not make an interesting point?
After being asked to expound on why she does not want to be labeled an African-American, Raven added – “I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to. I don’t know how far back they go…I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m an American. And that’s a colorless person.”
Upon Winfrey’s light warning that Symoné is “going to get a lot of flak” for not identifying herself with the sub-group, the young entrepreneur simply raised her hands and reiterated defiantly.
“I don’t label myself.” Adding, “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with Black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture.”
“You are a melting pot in one body,” Oprah concluded.
“Aren’t we all?” Symoné asked. “Isn’t that what America’s supposed to be?”
Raven makes a thought-provoking point that America is a melting pot of different cultures and identities – so why label and focus on separatism? Does that not, in itself, further separate cultures and sub-groups, and add to the growing fire of inequality? We have seen over and over what labels do, they separate us as human beings – causing distrust and division, and even fuelling hate.
America is filled with immigrants of years past, and present – and in truth, most people’s ancestors can be traced back to some other country somewhere in the world. Therefore, why should it be odd or offensive that Symoné wishes to be identified as an American rather than a particular sub-group?
With that said, Raven’s strong sense of self has no doubt played a role in her consistent success from childhood to adulthood. And even the talk show queen was impressed, as she took to twitter after her sit down with Symoné and wrote, “She’s so self-aware and comfortable in her own skin. Love that!”
It seems the identity of one of history’s most notorious serial killers has been solved – at least according to British businessman and author, Russell Edwards, of Naming Jack The Ripper.From what started as a hobby, Edwards found himself set on a path to uncover the mystery surrounding the gruesome murders of Jack the Ripper.
This mystery, of course, has produced countless theories – in addition to books, movies and other works of fiction. The suspects had also been quite diverse, and included: a Jewish shoemaker; Prince Albert Victor; the Duke of Clarence; Walter Sickert, the post-impressionist painter; and William Gladstone, the former Liberal Prime Minister.
During the autumn of 1888, Jack the Ripper, terrorised the impoverished streets of Whitechapel in East London with his horrific serial killing of at least five women. And until now, there has been no proof in identifying the murderer behind the butchery.
DNA evidence currently reveals that one of the key suspects, who was actually kept under police surveillance until his entry into an insane asylum, was the killer. This evidence came from a shawl – said to be found by a police (Acting Sergeant Amos Simpson) at the scene of Catherine Eddowes’ murder. The shawl was later taken to Amos’ home and passed down in his family for generations. The shawl eventually reached descendant David Melville-Hayes, who, in 1991, gave it to Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum. They, however, kept it in storage due to doubts of its provenance until 2001 when David reclaimed the shawl and had it exhibited at the annual Jack the Ripper Conference.
The Shawl ultimately ended up with Edwards, who purchased it at an auction and later enlisted the help of Dr Jari Louhelainen, a Finnish senior lecturer in Molecular Biology at Liverpool John Moores University. He is also a world-renowned expert in analysing genetic evidence from historical crime scenes.
With the aid of recent cutting-edge techniques, Dr Louhelainen uncovered that the shawl contained DNA from both the victim and the murderer. He was also able to extract the 126-year-old DNA from the shawl and compare it to descendants of, not only the victim, but also the suspect – and both verified a perfect match.
According to Dr Louhelainen – the scientific techniques for examining DNA samples had only recently progressed to a level capable of solving the mystery – stating that “only now, in the last ten years, would this have been possible.”
The killer is revealed to be Jewish Polish immigrant, Aaron Kosminski, a hairdresser who lived in Whitechapel at the time of the murders. He would have been 23 at the time, and had arrived with his family in 1881 England – fleeing persecution from Russian authorities. He later died in Leavesden Asylum from gangrene at the age of 53.