Raven-Symoné Addresses Previous Remarks About Not Being African American [Video]

Raven Symoné is addressing her 2014 controversial statement about not identifying as African American during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Nearly a decade later, Raven felt the need to clarify her intentions during an episode of her podcast with her wife Miranda Maday, “Tea Time With Raven and Miranda,” following a viewing of a race discussion on Real Time With Bill Maher.

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” Symoné said before playing the portion of the Oprah interview. “I don’t want to be labeled gay. I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I’m tired of being labeled.”

She said, “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. I identify as straight American. I’m an American, not an African American,” she explained.

Symoné asserts that people “threw my name in the garbage” following her remarks.

“When that aired, I felt like the entire internet exploded,” she said. “There was so much backlash from my community and others that misunderstood, slash didn’t hear the exact words that I said.”

During the episode, she explained that she wasn’t denying her Black heritage but was pointing out how the label overlooks Black descendant Americans and lumps them with African Americans who migrated.

“I’m an American. I’m not first, second, generation African American. Stop mislabeling us.”

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

While clarifying her remarks, she also talked about the difficulties of being a Black American overseas and how the label doesn’t always apply.

“I also know that when I’m in another country, they don’t say, ‘Hey look at that African American over there.’ They say that’s an American, plain and simple.”

In the end, Symoné said that despite facing much criticism for her words, she’s hopeful that younger generations will speak up for being labeled.

“In 2014, I felt attacked, I felt judged and not heard,” she said. “Now it feels like society has grown. There are more people that understand the root of what I’m talking about. And I think that the younger generation is starting to break down those barriers of labeling.”

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