Raven-Symoné clarifies her ‘not an African American’ 2014 remark: Still ‘haunts’ me

Raven-Symon
Raven-Symon
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Raven-Symoné didn’t see this one coming.

The former Disney Channel actress, 38, is clarifying comments she made regarding her race in a 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

At the time, the “That’s So Raven” alum told the talk show host, 70, that she is “an American, [but] not an African American.”

Raven got candid about her 2014 comments on a new episode of her podcast. Raven & Miranda/YouTube
Raven got candid about her 2014 comments on a new episode of her podcast. Raven & Miranda/YouTube

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” she said during an episode of the podcast that she hosts with her wife, Miranda Maday, “Tea Time With Raven & Miranda.”

“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.”

The “Cheetah Girls” star 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.”

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” she said. OWN
“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014,” she said. OWN

Raven-Symoné explained: “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 went on to note that the Winfrey sit-down was meant to be her coming out interview. One year earlier, she revealed she is part of the LGBTQ community and had married Maday in June 2020.

The interview turned into being more about labels than her sexuality.

The Disney Channel alum told Winfrey in 2014 that she is “an American, [but] not an African American.” OWN
The Disney Channel alum told Winfrey in 2014 that she is “an American, [but] not an African American.” OWN

“I want to be labeled a human who loves humans,” the actress told Winfrey at the time.

“In 2014, I felt attacked, I felt judged and not heard,” she added on her podcast. “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.”

Raven-Symoné’s mom initially believed that the “Butler” actress was setting up her daughter for disaster and controversy. Although Raven-Symoné disagrees, she did think Winfrey shined a light on what she said for “people to scrutinize more.”

When she walked away from Winfrey, she felt she “said something that’s bad, which contradicts who I am as a human.”