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Raven-Symoné remembers the backlash she faced in 2014 after saying she didn’t want to be labeled as “African American.” During the latest episode of her and wife Miranda Maday‘s “Tea Time With Raven and Miranda podcast,” the Raven’s Home star, 38, recalled how the “Internet exploded” at her.

“When that aired, I felt like the entire Internet exploded and threw my name in the garbage,” she said. “There was so much backlash from my community and others that misunderstood [or] didn’t hear the exact words that I said. And the exact words that I said is that, ‘I’m an American, not an African American.’ A lot of people thought I said that I wasn’t Black, and I never said that. … I felt judged and not heard.”

The That’s So Raven alum elaborated what she meant at the time, clarifying that she wasn’t “negating [her] Blackness.”

“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 — that’s what I’m saying. The pure logistics of it.”

The Disney Channel actress pointed out that she understands the significance of her ancestry, acknowledging “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.”

Raven, however, noted that whenever she visits another country, she notices that people say, “There’s an American, plain and simple” instead of specifically saying, “Look at that African American over there.”

After seeing the uproar her comments caused in 2014, Raven noted to her wife that she “felt attacked” by everyone.

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The comment in question was from Raven’s 2014 conversation with Oprah Winfrey. At the time, the Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century star was trying to come out to the world, but the interview ended up focusing on labels.

“I don’t want to be labeled gay,” Raven said at the time. “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.”

In response, Oprah said, “Oh girl, don’t set Twitter on fire.”

“I will say this,” Raven continued in her conversation with Oprah. “I don’t know where my roots go to. I don’t know how far back they go. … I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m American. And that’s a colorless person.”


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