Raven-Symoné clears up comment about not being ‘African American’

That’s So Raven actress Raven-Symoné has cleared up comments she said to Oprah Winfrey in 2014 about not being “African American”. 

In October 2014, Raven-Symoné spoke to Oprah about her sexuality and why she refuses to accept being labelled in all aspects of her life. 

She said at the time: “I don’t want to be labeled gay. I want to be labelled a human who loves humans.

“I’m tired of being labelled — I’m an American, I’m not an African American. I’m an American.”

A decade on from the conversation, the Cheetah Girls actress has clarified what she meant, after feeling her comment was taken out of context. 

On Tuesday (2 April), Raven-Symoné took to YouTube to post a Tea Time With Raven and Miranda podcast, which she hosts with her wife Miranda Maday, titled “We need to talk…”. 

The seven-and-a-half minute episode opens with Raven-Symoné explaining that she never said she wasn’t Black. 

Raven-Symoné. (Getty)

She said she had decided to address the decade-old comments after they began to be reshared in the wake of US talk show Real Time with Bill Maher referencing past comments by actor Idris Elba that people “are obsessed with race”.

Maher compared Elba’s views to the comment Raven-Symoné made to Oprah in 2014. 

The Disney star said her statement had been misunderstood by many and had “haunted” her ever since.

She explained: “Now, when that aired, I felt like the entire internet exploded and threw my name in the garbage. There was so much backlash from my community and others that misunderstood slash didn’t hear the exact words that I said. 

“And the exact words that I said is that, ‘I’m an American, not an African American.’”

She added: “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. 

”It means I am from this country. I was born here. My mom, my dad, my great-great-great-great-great — that’s what I’m saying. The pure logistics of it.” 

Raven-Symoné said she understands her history and appreciates her heritage, but that following the interview she was made to feel “attacked, judged and not heard”. 

The 38-year-old said she felt reassurance in discovering many others in the industry felt similar to her, including soul singer Smokey Robinson who wrote the poem “A Black American”, and in 2022 said he hates being labeled “African American.”

During an appearance on The View, Robinson explained: “I resent being called African American because Black people have contributed so much to the development of the United States of America.” 

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