Raven-Symoné has become one of the biggest and most successful actress/singers working in the entertainment business today. With a record breaking television series and a budding music career, Raven-Symoné is well on her way to becoming a legend at only 25. The 20+ year veteran was born Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman on December 10, 1985 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was named after the first bird released from Noah’s Ark following the flood. By the time she was 16 months old she was already working, appearing in local prints and television ads in Atlanta. By the time Raven was 2, she already knew what she wanted to do in life, and that was be an actress. Her parents (Christopher B. Pearman & Lydia Pearman) were encouraged by Stephanie Seymour, Raven’s then manager, to pursue her career on more of a national level. At age 3, her family moved to Ossining, New York where she attended Park School.
In 1989, Raven-Symoné auditioned for a part in the Bill Cosby movie, Ghost Dad. At three years old she was considered too young for the role, but Bill Cosby admired her so much that he found a part for her on his show, The Cosby Show, as his granddaughter Olivia. Raven-Symoné played the part of Olivia until the show ended in 1992. She then appeared as the younger version of Halle Berry's starring character, a headstrong biracial slave, in the TV movie Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley.
Raven-Symoné began her singing career at the tender age of five, when she signed with MCA Records. She was the youngest artist ever to sign with a major record label. Her debut album Here’s To Knew Dreams was released on June 22, 1993. The album sprawled a hit single “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of.” The single was written and produced by then unknown Missy Elliott. In 1993, Raven landed the role of Nicole Lee in the hit series Hanging With Mr. Cooper. Symoné co-stared on the series until it ended in 1997. During her time on the show, she had her first big screen role in the movie The Little Rascals, playing Stymie's girlfriend.
She was then cast in the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr. Dolittle (1998) and then Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) as Charisse Dolittle, the oldest daughter of Murphy's character. Meanwhile, she also appeared in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999), which was her first production under the Disney umbrella. Soon after, Raven returned to music and recorded her second album Undeniable. The album which was recorded under her own label Ray-Blaze Records was released in May of 1999. That summer Raven spent her time touring with N*Sync as their opening act on their No Strings Attached tour.
In 2001, Raven-Symoné auditioned for a role on an up-coming series for the Disney Channel titled Absolutely Psychic, about a teenager with psychic abilities. She originally auditioned for the role of Chelsea Daniels, but her role was changed to the lead, Raven Baxter and the series name changed to That's So Raven. The series debuted on January 17, 2003, becoming the Disney Channel's highest-rated and longest-running series ever. It spawned a franchise including soundtracks, dolls, episode DVDs, and video games. It is estimated that the “Raven” brand has made over 400 million dollars for the Disney company.
The comedy was the first series to break Disney's 65-episode limit, producing an unmatched 100 episodes. That's So Raven was also nominated for Outstanding Children's Program during the 2005 and 2007 Emmy Awards.
In 2003, she starred as lead singer Galleria Garibaldi in the Disney Channel Original Movie, The Cheetah Girls. The movie centered four city girls who have dreams of becoming superstars. The movie was the channel's first musical and was the basis for another franchise, including dolls, video games, platinum-selling soundtracks and more. During her time on That‘s So Raven, Symoné provided the voice of Danielle in the comedy, Fat Albert. (2004) and also made an appearance in the film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. (2004)
In early 2003, she signed a deal with Hollywood Records, a Disney-owned label. On September 21, 2004, she released her third studio album This Is My Time, which included the single "Backflip", which received heavy rotation on both Disney Channel, as well on BET and MTV. The album debuted and peaked at #51 on the Billboard 200 selling 19,000 copies in its first week of release and becoming her most successful album.
Raven-Symoné also recorded music for That's So Raven's first original television soundtrack. The soundtrack debuted and peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200 and is now certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies.
In 2006, Raven-Symoné reprised her role as Galleria Garibaldi in The Cheetah Girls 2. Raven-Symoné served as executive producer of the film. The film brought in more than 8 million viewers opening night, making it (at the time) Disney Channel's most-watched movie. Also during 2006 Raven lent her voice to the animated-film Everyone’s Hero. She also stared in her first dramatic film Lifetime’s For One Night. The film based on a true story, centered an African American teenager who shook up a small town where high school proms had been racially segregated for decades. Amid the protests of the community and with the help of a newspaper reporter who returns to her hometown to cover the story, the two women are able to reverse decades of racist tradition and make history, at least for one night.
In support of her third studio album and That's So Raven Too! soundtrack, which was the second soundtrack album from the series. Raven-Symoné embarked on her first headlining tour. The This Is My Time Tour kicked off on May 19, 2006 in Richmond, VA and concluded on October 21, 2006 in Columbia, SC.
By 2007, Raven had finished production for That’s So Raven, and began filming her first leading role, feature-film. 2008’s College Road Trip surrounds Melanie Porter a 17-year-old college-bound girl who is eagerly looking forward to her first big step towards independence, when she plans a girls only road trip to check out prospective universities. But when her overbearing police chief father (Martin Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead in hopes to sway her decision, soon finds her dream trip has turned into a nightmare adventure full of comical misfortune and turmoil. In its opening weekend, the film grossed approximately $14,000,000 in 2,706 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking as the #2 film at box office. It went on to gross more than $60 million worldwide.
To coincide with her film College Road Trip, Raven-Symoné released her fourth studio album on April 29, 2008.The self-titled album features production by Sean Garrett, The J.A.M., Knightwritaz, and The Clutch. The only single released was Double Dutch Bus, a remake of Frankie Smith's 1981 funk track.
To promote the album she planned to headline her first all-arena tour The Pajama Party Tour in Spring 2008, but due to what promoters call "unforeseen difficulties" the tour was postponed until further notice. Later on, Raven-Symoné confirmed that the tour would be re-scheduled and would kick off in the Summer of 2008. The tour now dubbed the Raven-Symoné: Live Tour kicked off in July 2008, and continued through 2009.
During 2008 and 2009, Raven-Symoné provided her voice for the light-fairy in the Disney Fairies direct-to-DVD film series, Tinker Bell, and Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. Raven-Symoné is expected to return to the franchise for the films, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods, and Tinker Bell: Race Through the Seasons. Raven also appeared in Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary Good Hair.
In 2010, Raven-Symoné starred in an ABC Family, made-for-TV film, Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Revenge of the Bridesmaids surrounds two childhood friends who attempt to thwart the wedding of a no-good, money hungry ex-friend by going undercover as bridesmaids so that true love can prevail. The film garnered 2.5 million viewers on its premiere, making it the number 1 movie on basic cable in Women 18-34, and ranked among the Top 5 programs in its time period in Total Viewers that week.
Due to the success of the film Raven was tapped by ABC Family to star in an original comedy series titled State of Georgia for the network.
In 2012 Raven-Symoné took center stage in a way she had never before. Symoné made her Broadway debut as Deloris van Cartier in Sister Act: The Musical. A role previously held by Patina Miller (Broadway) and Whoopi Goldberg (Films).
The question remains, Will this girl ever slow down? We fans sure hope not, and as Holly Robinson-Pete stated in Raven’s Ebony Magazine Cover Issue "were all looking forward to watching her bright future with sunglasses on!"