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Raven-SymonĂ© clarifies past “I’m not African American” remarks

Written by on 04/04/2024

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Raven-Symoné is addressing a comment she made in 2014 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she said has haunted her ever since.

At the time, Winfrey was asking Raven-SymonĂ© about her journey with sexuality, to which 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 — I’m an American, I’m not an African American. I’m an American.”

In response to her answer, Winfrey said, “Oh, girl, don’t set Twitter on fire.”

In Tuesday’s episode of the Tea Time With Raven and Miranda podcast with her wife, Miranda Maday, Raven-SymonĂ© reflected on the controversial comment.

“When that aired, I felt like the entire internet exploded and threw my name in the garbage,” the former Disney Channel star said. “There was so much backlash from my community and others that misunderstood/ 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.'”

“A lot of people on the internet thought I said that I wasn’t Black, and I never said that. There’s a difference between being Black and African,” she said.

When Maday asked her to clarify, she continued, “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 — and that’s what I’m saying. The pure logistics of it,” she explained.

Raven-Symoné also addressed critics who questioned her knowledge of her ancestry.

“I understand my history. I understand where my ancestors come from,” she said. “I also understand how much blood, sweat and tears they soaked into this earth in order to create the America that I live in today — free, happy, tax-paying American citizen.”

She added, “When I am in another country, they don’t say, ‘Hey, look at that African American over there,’ they say, ‘That’s an American,’ plain and simple.”

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