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HomeEntertainmentRaven-Symoné Clears Up Controversial “I’m Not an African American” Comment to Oprah...

Raven-Symoné Clears Up Controversial “I’m Not an African American” Comment to Oprah Winfrey

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Raven-Symoné is clearing up a controversial comment she made in 2014 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The talented actress and singer noted that the comment has “haunted” her ever since. In a new episode of “Tea Time With Raven & Miranda,” with Miranda, her wife, Raven-Symoné recounted the interview.

A picture of Raven-Symoné

At the time, Winfrey asked Raven-Symoné about her journey with sexuality. The “That’s So Raven” alum replied, “I don’t want to be labeled gay.” “I want to be labeled a human who loves humans,” she said. “I’m tired of being labeled.” She added, “I’m an American. I’m not an African American. I’m an American.”

In response to her answer at the time, Winfrey said, “Oh, girl, don’t set Twitter on fire.” Nearly a decade later, the actress decided to address the controversial comments. The “Cheetah Girls” star said that people misunderstood and didn’t hear what she said clearly.

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” she began. “When that aired, I felt like the entire internet exploded and threw my name in the garbage.” She added, “There was so much backlash from my community and others that misunderstood the exact words I said.”

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“And the exact words that I said is that ‘I’m an American, not an African American,” she continued. “A lot of people on the internet thought I said that I wasn’t Black, and I never said that.” Raven-Symoné doubled down on her stance, saying, “There’s a difference between being Black and African.”

During the podcast, Raven-Symoné’s wife, Miranda Pearman-Maday, asked her to clarify what she meant. “When I say that African American does not align with me, that label, it doesn’t mean that I’m negating my Blackness or I’m not Black,” she explained. “It means I am from this country.”

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“I was born here,” she added. “My mom, my dad, my great-great-great, and that’s what I’m saying—the pure logistics of it.” The actress also addressed critics who questioned her understanding of her ancestry, saying she understands her history and ancestry. 

“I understand my history and where my ancestors come from,” she said. “I also understand how much blood, sweat, and tears they soaked into this earth to create the America that I live in today.” Raven-Symoné continued justifying her comment by citing her experience in other countries.

“When I am in another country, they don’t say, ‘Hey, look at that African American over there,'” she said. “They say, ‘that’s an American,’ plain and simple.” She added, “Stop mislabeling us.” Raven-Symoné noted that nowadays, she thinks the younger generation is “starting to break down those barriers of labeling.”

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While recounting the 2014 interview, the star said that her mom thought Winfrey set her up for backlash. She pointed out that Winfrey reacted to her comments right away instead of letting her continue. Therefore, she felt she had said something terrible when she walked off stage.

Raven-Symoné doesn’t think Winfrey set her up. However, she believes the host highlighted what she said to “make people scrutinize more.” Furthermore, the actress revealed that the interview with Winfrey was to be her coming-out interview. Instead, it became a conversation about labels.

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