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Raven-Symoné Confronts 2014 ‘African American’ Remarks Amid Lingering Backlash | Video

*During a recent episode of Raven-Symoné’s “Tea Time With Raven & Miranda,” podcast, the actress addressed her prior statement to Oprah Winfrey about being “an American, not an African American.” 

The former child star stated that her controversial comments were misunderstood, the Daily Beast reports.

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” Symoné said on the podcast before playing video of her conversation with Oprah in which she said, “I don’t want to be labeled gay. I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I’m tired of being labeled.”

Symoné said people “threw my name in the garbage” after she made those remarks.

Raven Symone and Miranda Pearman-Maday (Filmmagic-Getty)
Raven Symone and wife Miranda Pearman-Maday (Filmmagic-Getty)

“A lot of people on the internet thought I said that I wasn’t Black, and I never said that,” she said on the podcast she co-hosts with her wife, Miranda. “There’s a difference between being Black and African. I identify as straight American. I’m an American, not an African American.”

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

Symoné clarified that instead of denying her Black heritage, she aimed to highlight how the label erases the distinct identities of Black descendants in America, merging them with African Americans who migrated.

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

Raven also noted that she understands “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,” she continued.

“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.”

Raven-Symoné acknowledged that she “felt attacked” after comments during the Oprah interview, but now admits that “society has grown,” she said on the podcast. 

“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.”

READ MORE: Don’t Call Raven-Symone ‘African-American’ or ‘Gay’

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