Raven-Symoné Reflects on 2014 'I'm Not an African-American' Comment: 'There's a Difference Between Being Black and African'

Author: Editors Desk, Jaelani Turner-Williams, Freelance News Writer Source: Complex
April 5, 2024 at 11:04
Unique Nicole / Getty Images
Unique Nicole / Getty Images

The clip, where Raven-Symoné was being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, has circulated on social media thanks to Bill Maher.

Raven-Symoné is reliving the nightmare of a controversial statement she made in 2014. On a new episode of her podcast, Tea Time with Raven-Symoné & Miranda, the actress clarified what she meant.

The segment began with the That's So Raven star explaining that a clip from a 2014 interview Raven-Symoné had with Oprah Winfrey circulated after Bill Maher brought it up on his talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher. For context, the host and satirical comedian was discussing a 2023 statement made by actor Idris Elba, who at the time said he didn't view himself as "a Black actor."

The clip then cut to the aforementioned sitdown with Winfrey, where Raven-Symoné said that she was "tired of being labeled" in relation to her sexual orientation.

I don’t want to be labeled gay,” Raven-Symoné said. “I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I'm tired of being labeled. I’m an American; I’m not an African-American. I’m an American."

Clearly haunted by the video's reemergence, Raven-Symoné broke down what she was trying to convey.

"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," she told her wife, Miranda Pearman-Maday.

On the "I'm an American; I'm not an African-American comment," Raven-Symoné added, "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."

"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."

Although Raven-Symoné claimed that she understands her lineage, 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.'"

Explaining that she felt "attacked," "judged," and "not heard," Raven-Symoné doubled down on the comment she made 10 years ago. "I am an American; I am not a first- or second-generation African-American. Stop mislabeling us."

Denying that Winfrey set her up, Raven-Symoné said that the pause during the interview caused "people to scrutinize more." "If she just said, 'OK, yeah, you're an American, cool beans, next question,' I don't think people would have sparked such a big ordeal," she said.



While earnest, Raven-Symoné's reflection might set off another internet fire.


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