Raven-Symoné Clarifies 'African American' Comments From 2014

Raven-Symoné is clarifying a headline-making comment she made in 2014.

On Tuesday, the former Disney Channel star shared a new episode of her podcast Tea Time With Raven and Miranda, in which she recalled receiving hate a decade ago for telling Oprah Winfrey that she doesn’t consider herself to be “African American.”

“A lot of people on the internet thought I said that I wasn’t Black, and I never said that,” the former child star told her co-host and wife, Miranda Maday.

When asked by Maday what she meant, the That’s So Raven alum said, “When I say that ‘African-American’ doesn’t 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.”

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.”

The Cosby Show alum then noted, “I also know that when I visit another country, people don’t say like, ‘Hey, look at that African American over there!’ They say, ‘That’s an American.’”

Maday agreed with her wife’s point of view, saying, “I think it makes so much sense, because I don’t go around introducing myself as a Welsh American or as an Italian American. My mom was born here, so I’m an American, for all intents and purposes.”

Raven-Symoné said she was revisiting her words after the clip recently resurfaced on an episode of Real Time With Bill Maher during a discussion about race. She said the comment “has haunted me since 2014.”

During her 2014 chat with Winfrey, the actress addressed her dislike for having to label herself, both in terms of race and sexuality. “I’m tired of being labeled,” she said. “I’m an American, not an African American.”

Winfrey warned her that she would receive flack for her wording, saying, “Oh girl, don’t go set Twitter on fire.”

At the time, the Cheetah Girls star explained why she didn’t identify as an African American. “I don’t know where my roots go,” she said. “I don’t know how far back [they go] and I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana.”

She added, “I’m an American. That’s a colorless person, because we are all people. I have lots of things running through my veins.”

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