Raven-Symoné Defends Saying She’s ‘American Not An African American’ + Shares Her Mom Believes Oprah Winfrey’s Reaction Added Fuel To Public Backlash

Raven-Symoné, Oprah Winfrey

Raven-Symoné Defends Saying She’s ‘American Not An African American’ + Shares Her Mom Believes Oprah Winfrey’s Reaction Added Fuel To Public Backlash

Multi-talented entertainer Raven-Symoné’s mother seems to think Oprah Winfrey had a hand in the Disney star being canceled years ago.
The actress spoke about previously being criticized by the world for rejecting the label of African American, expressing that she felt many misunderstood her perspective.

Raven Symoné

Raven-Symoné reflected on the topic while speaking to her wife Miranda Pearman-Maday on their podcast Raven & Miranda. The celebrity stated that she wanted to share her refreshed thoughts about the situation as it was recently brought up on Bill Mahers talk show. The TV personality was reporting on actor Idris Elba criticizing the world for being hung up on race, and claiming to no longer refer to himself as a Black actor.

Maher compared Elba’s remarks to similar comments Raven made during a 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey. If you recall, the TV and movie star vehemently told Oprah Winfrey that she didn’t want to be referred to as a lesbian or an African American but just as an American. The media mogul surmised that Raven’s comments would “set Twitter on fire,” which turned out to be true.

Thinking back on the outpour of criticism she faced at the time, which ultimately prompted her to issue an apology in a subsequent interview, Raven stated:

“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, 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.”

She continued:

“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…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 …that’s what I’m saying the pure logistics of it. 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, taxpaying American citizen. 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 then shared the intense emotions she went through amid the backlash, adding that she believes more people now can relate to what she said back then. She added:
“In 2014 I felt attacked, I felt, judged and not heard…But I also, in the quiet of my own home, knew that there were other people in my position that have spoken out about it….[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 people.”
Further into the discussion, Miranda asked Raven if she felt Oprah set her up for the fiery moment. The actress claimed she didn’t think she was set up, but acknowledged feeling that if Oprah reacted more subtly, there’s a chance things might not have blown up the way they did. According to Raven her mother Lydia Gaulden, however, was convinced that Oprah intentionally exploited the situation.

Do you agree with Raven Symoné’s stance on not being an African American? Tell us in the comments below!

Authored by: Kay Johnson