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Raven-Symoné responds to backlash by saying “I never said I wasn’t black”

Does Raven Symone actually want to be black?  That issue was up for debate after she made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show, “Where are they Now?”  Symone, saying that she was tired of being labeled, came off as a spoiled, out-of-touch celebrity when she said that she wasn’t an African American.

Clarifying her words, the former star of “The Cosby Show” seems to be claiming that she didn’t actually say that she wasn’t black.  However, the quote “I’m not an African-American.  I’m an American” suggests that she was saying that she isn’t African American.  But maybe in her mind, she sees “black” as being different from being African-American, which it can be….if you’re from Jamaica, Ghana or someplace other than the United States.

“I’m tired of being labeled,” Symoné said on the show. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.”

Oprah immediately let the young superstar know that she wasn’t going to get a favorable reaction for her words, but Symone stuck to her guns.   She says that her family’s roots are in Louisiana, which seems to mean that she is African-American, whether she wants to be or not.   But maybe there is additional clarification needed.  She might need to go check her DNA to explain exactly what she means.

“What I really mean by that is I’m an American. That’s what I really mean. I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with Black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture,” she said on the same show.

Here’s what Symone was REALLY trying to say:

“I never said I wasn’t black… I want to make that very clear.  I said, I am not African-American.  I never expected my personal beliefs and comments to spark such emotion in people.  I think it is only positive when we can openly discuss race and being labeled in America.”

It’s hard to see where Symone is going with this.  Maybe it’s best to just leave some comments in the past and move on with your life.  The damage has been done, and it’s hard to come back from this one.  Maybe when you’ve got millions of dollars in the bank, you don’t have to be black anymore, you can be whatever you want.

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43 thoughts on “Raven-Symoné responds to backlash by saying “I never said I wasn’t black”

  1. Dee Dee

    I am ok with her having her own beliefs, but she needs to consider this before she makes her comments. When I went shopping with my young niece years ago (and for gifts for other young African-American girls)… I can’t tell you how many times my niece begged for something that said Hanna-Montana or Witches of Waverly Place but I insisted that I purchase a “That’s so Raven” item. She may not consider herself African-American but my dollars supported her because she was.

    Miley and Selena are American as well, but I wanted my niece to be proud of herself and see that she could rise up to whatever she wanted while still being African-American. I thought purchasing items that had a child with a similar likeness would help build that pride. I’m sure other older African-American women felt the same and supported her products for the same reason. She should be proud of what she brought to other African-Americans… But now she wants to not identify with that. She can go and leave the African-American community, but maybe she should think about giving that money back so we can use it to support our heritage and pride which is how she got it in the first place.

    Reply
    • David

      Most Black Americans are many, many generations from their African roots, and many Africans that are in this country will remind you that you are not true Africans. I consider myself a an American of African descent. After 400 years of contributions to this country we are Americans, if a child wants a doll of a different hue, maybe we should have a lot more influence on the education of this child, reminding them that Black, Brown, what ever your shade, is beautiful. If you travel outside our birders, we are called American. As an older Black with a love/hate relation with the country of my birth, I still am proud to be an American, although ashamed of our politics. Under stand I am as proud of my African roots also, but for at least 200 years they are on this continent.

      Reply
    • Karen

      I applaud you because you are so right! I an African American mother ONLY purchase/have purchased BLACK dolls for myself,daughter and for gifts! I Totally Concur with you! I Mostly purchased Barbie products because they hold More Value-investment wise, but I purchased a few of her things as well because My Daughters name is Rayven as well.
      “Our”people tend to lose themselves along with who/what got them their fame and fortune once they “make it”! She is NOT the Only one, she was just Ignorant for speaking it

      Reply
    • Rick Harris

      DeeDee: you really put it where the goats can get it. Symbolism is important and it is important for us to be fiercely proud of our ancestry. Blessings upon you and your niece. I only hope that she grows up to be as wise and conscious as her aunt.

      Reply
    • The Who's Who

      This child is loss..she doesn’t know who she is..(smh)

      Anyway, @ Dee Dee.. nice commentary..

      Your comment reminds me of the experiment involving a young African American child who would play with dolls. There were a series of questions asked of the little girl..that would reflect pointing to that doll(black or white) as the answer tot he questions asked. Questions per example, which is the prettiest doll? The child pointed to the white doll. Which doll is not the so pretty doll? The child points to the black doll.. which doll is the good doll? the child points to the white Doll, Then asked which doll is the bad doll? Then the Child points to the black doll.. then here’s the question that told it all.. which doll look mostly looked like her? And the Child point to the black doll..

      folks, I rest my case .. Black is a color .. and in the dictionary the definition of the word BLACK is very negative descripted up against the word ” White” which is descripted as positive…

      Reply
    • kay

      I understand what shes saying, they call us African-Americans but they dont call white people European-Americans. Remember their people wasnt born here either.

      Reply
  2. Micheal Owens

    From the time that the race of color, meaning African -American now was named, The race has been labeled from the “N” word, to Negro, to Black and now African-American. I can understand in someway what
    Raven is talking about. In my opinion, it is labeling.

    Reply
  3. Chrissy J

    She and Pharrell are on the same BS. Remember he sais something to theeffect of race not nattering. These celebrities are stupid as f@$#! Pls. tell that crap to Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, etc…..

    Reply
    • Gwhiz

      I agree with you whole heartedly. I see him as just another put up splinter in the white man’s splinter group. Divided we fall. And divided us he has done since the beginning. “Christians” buying other human beings; oh yeah, we’re only about two thirds of a “true” human being. That’s why Congress < i believe, still has the power to vote on whether or not "African Americans" can vote in elections. Since that won't go over too well at this time, they just make the supreme effort to disenfranchise some select sectors of voters by shortening the number of days people may go to the polls and exercise their Constitutional rights. No one is going to disparage the "stars" that make the money for the capitalists; they just can't have that. Unless you don't heed their irresponsible methodology for chastising your children so that they that they can do whatever they want to get attention (shoot up people in schools and malls and movie theaters)? But that"s OK unless enough of them get their families turned upside down through their empirically authorized method of raising children. Like the sixteen year old that got away with under age drinking and driving that led to the deaths of some of his passengers sitting in the back of his or his family''s pick up truck. I think the judge said he suffered from "Affluenza". Even my editor for this rant doesn't recognize this term. Where did it come from? But that was the judge"s reasoning for not putting the BOY in a detention center. Obviously he was not a bad enough fellow to get remanded to adult anything. THE BOY WENT HOME TO HIS PARENTS. But Adrian Peterson has to go to court and defend himself for chastising his son with a switch and putting a few welts on him that will in all reality probably go away at some point in his life. Will those that died in the "Affluenza" case ever heal? It seems all too normal for people of color, once they have made a name for themselves by making money for the CAPITALISTS to want to stand out as what? A shining example of the opportunity for all that Amerikkka boasts of providing? For all if it's members of this great society? Folks, we need to wake up and smell the kordite like they used in Philly to blow up a street of low income, African Amerikkkan home dwellers. Back in the day this happened. And through other means it's still happening today.

      Reply
  4. Jennifer jones

    Poor thing maybe she dont know or really understand…because she is rich dont means nothing I know poor people out here that said the same thing,growing up so fast with no sense of knowledge you have to see with her.

    Reply
  5. Lisa

    Why is everyone upset that she doesn’t want to be called African American. There are more important things to be. Concerned about than labels. I don’t want to called African American either. And that’s my right to feel that way.

    Reply
  6. elizabeth

    It’s an issue because when people look at us they say that’s a black woman or black man. They don’t say oh, there’s a fellow.American. They see color before they see anything else. Same with Latinos, Asians, Africans, Caucasians, etc. Race, Religion, and Politics will be an ongoing issue in America until the end of time.

    Reply
  7. Jacquelyn Redmond

    I feel the same way that Raven does about the labels. Why do we have to be African American? I don’t hear any other race calling themselves Irish American or Asian American or Mexican American….the list could go on and on. If we face the fact that we are all just citizens of the United States of America, then racism would be less likely to exist as it does today. We are all Americans with equal rights and privileges supposedly. The only reason that statement would not be true is that some races feel a sense of entitlement. If we all started acting like we are Americans with the same rights and privileges, we would not have a need for additional labels.

    Reply
  8. Jean

    Let’s really look at the problem for what it really is, society feels that people of color should accept the labels placed on them, & leave it at that. Hell, I say it all the time. I am NOT and African American because I was not born in Africa,my aancestors were, I’m not denying my heritage, I am an American whose skin is brown, scrutinized by people not of color from generation to generation. So everybody don’t panic, as long as she knows who she is, at this point it really don’t matter what other people say or label who You should be. I’m with Raven on this. The way I’m looking at it is according to these “labels ” if your ancestors were criminals, then you’re a criminal as well, I don’t think so!!!! Whatever happen to freedom of speech/, this is America, the home of the free & the brave……….Yeah right!! :

    Reply
    • B-Lo

      I agree with you Jean. In that case we are all African American, because that is the motherland for all races. Besides, there were dark skinned brothers here before Columbus came. There were dark skinned indian tribes here who were either destroyed or enslaved. There was just recently the remains of a pyramid found in Georgia as well as one in the midwest. African American means that we have a home in Africa. That means that we are over here living on another mans land. It’s ALL our land. ALL of it. From Asia to the Americas baby, it’s ALL US. Without us, this world would not be as civilized as it is today. We’re losing our identities trying to keep up with labels that they make up for us. How did we become a society of black and white. It’s more like brown and tan. Keep it moving.

      Reply
  9. Sheri

    There was a time when you saw NO blacks on TV. When she was on, she was representative of the pride that went along with that change. She, and others, were representatives of persons who looked like us. Raven is of a different generation. She either failed to understand it or just doesn’t see it. I don’t think it’s due to a lack of pride. I think it’s a generational difference. She hasn’t experienced what a lot of blacks went through to accomplish what they’ve accomplished. So identifying with black or African American may not have the same meaning for her. Many blacks, under 30, lack that sense of caring. They take a lot of things for granted. Most black over 40 care very much and want others to identify and never forget. I think that that’s what we’re running into. It’s not that they don’t think it’s important. They just don’t place the same kind of importance on it that blacks, who have experienced more, do. Whatever you call yourself, do you fight against injustice? Do you believe in supporting black businesses, excellence and history? Do you stand up for those who are about to lose their voting rights? Do you stand up to those who belittle your race? Do you know about and support programs that aid the forward progress of your people? Whether you do it publically or privately,that’s what counts. After all, Clarence Thomas considers himself a black man, yet does the bidding of the Koch brothers who have influenced some of the most suppressive legislation (towards blacks) in this country. And who are sons of a member of the John Britch society (advocates of white superiority) So let’s not put all of the attention on the label. It’s the type of person behind the label we should care about.

    Reply
  10. Virgie

    I understand the thoughts behind Raven’s declaration. It is my belief that racist words, actions and negatively toward African – Americans will not change in the United States of America until the racial category on Census forms and other forms is listed as AMERICAN. I believe this will eventually happen when this now mixed-racial community come of age to make a difference to this race issue. Citizens of the United States of America are AMERICAN, period!

    Reply
  11. Cindy

    I’m a very dark skinned female from Arkansas and I refuse to be called African American, I only refer to myself as being Black… Sorry, I thought that is where she was going with the comment but thru the years we have been labeled… Negro, Colored, Black, African American and some not so nice labels… I was born here, therefore, everybody knows I’m an American.. Who proudly and with much appreciation happen to be born Black… Smooches

    Reply
  12. Jay Diggity

    If she wasn’t black she wouldn’t be on TV saying “I’m not black”. The correct term for who we are is Hebrew. This is what I identify with. I also claim African American, Black, Negro or Colored. I don’t mind when my brothers or sisters call me “nigga” because I know what it means between us. I have no shame in who & what I am. I see white people copying my brothers & sisters every day. I get it. Everybody wishes they were us on the low. We are the most envied of all tribes. I’m Black & I’m proud.

    Reply
  13. t_99

    I get that Raven does not want to be labelled. With her money, she can be insulated from a lot and can call herself what she wants, but for me and my house, we are Americans of African descent. Sure, I don’t know from which specific African country my ancestors came from. Sure, over the years, we’ve likely mixed with others I don’t know either, but the roots underneath my North Carolina roots, go back to Africa.

    Reply
  14. Joss

    You got a lot of nerve judging her based on what YOU think being Black is. Jamaica, Ghana, or anywhere outside the United States? You sound so ignorant. First of all, I don’t know why African-American is so associated with Black people when the Dutch that settled in South Africa or the Indians and Arabs that were born on the African continent are more African-American than anyone Black in the U.S. You are African if you were born and raised on the continent of Africa, and when you come to the States, you may or may not adopt the American nationality…making you African-American. Raven-Symone was not born in Africa, nor was she raised there, she was born and raised on American soil. So why the heck do self-righteous, easily offended, oppressed Black people have a problem with her not considering herself African-American? It’s petty and it gives Black folks something else to fight each other on. Good job AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

    Reply
  15. LAWAZIZ

    “RAVEN IS AN ANOMALY. THERE ARE NATIVE AMERICANS.AFRICAN AMERICANS,ENGLISH AMERICANS,HISPANIC AMERICANS,IRISH AMERICANS,ITALIAN AMERICANS, GERMAN AMERICANS, FRENCH AMERICANS ETC. MANY DO NOT SPEAK OR HAVE NEVER BEEN TO THEIR CULTURAL LANDS. THERE IS/ARE NO-NO-NO PLAIN AMERICANS! THERE IS ONLY YOU. I UNDERSTAND YOUR STATUS/POSITION. NOW MISS THING, YOU CAN RETURN ALL THE MONEY YOU HAVE & MADE AS AN IMPOSTER /IMPERSONATOR OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSON. YOU DON’T/WON’T HAVE TO MASQUERADE OR HIDE WHAT YOU REALLY ARE ANYMORE , AN ODD MUTATION.” TO THY OWNSELF BE TRUE, BE TRUE TO YOURSELF”(OT/NT) !

    Reply
  16. Ernestine

    So I think she is just saying that because SHE is not from Africa she is not African-American. I agree with her logic, if you think about it Blacks are the only race that are so called from two totally different continents (Africa and America). You must keep in mind not all blacks came off those slave ships, we were in other parts of the world as well and a lot of the free blacks were taken by whites that thought all blacks needed to be slaves so she has a point her ancestors my not have come to America on a slave ship which in turn will not make her and African-American.

    Reply
  17. The Who's Who

    Know the difference between your nationality and your heritage DNA bloodline.. we are the only RACE of PPL in America who don’t know who we are.. Germans, Spaniards, Italians, Asians, etc., who are generations in america will NEVER deny their heritage and will state they are German American, Asian American, Italian american to honor their heritage.., BUT US?.. being African American doesn’t mean your ancestors came off slave shops? I know for a fact that my ancestors were not enslaved and were free noting back to the 1700.. yet I’m still African American REGARDLESS.. my nationality is American and my DNA heritage bloodline is more of African descent than any other mixture(European white-Spanish-Creole)-. that in my DNA…

    Reply
  18. I Know What You're Thinking

    I absolutely co-sign with Rayven Symone. I too do not consider myself to be so-called “African American” though I am “Black” and consider myself as a human. Why must we be labeled as black, white, latino, etc anyway? The reason that I do not agree with the term “African American” is because it is confusing to say the least. They are alluding to the fact that we as black people are decendants of Africa. Since we are citizens here now we are termed to be “African American”. But what about the countless Caucasian people who were born in Africa and come to the US to live as a citizen? Are they termed “African American?” We all know the answer to that. . I can bet that even though they were born in Africa, in that country they are probably not known as African. They probably use another term to separate themselves from the true African People.

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  19. Just Me

    We are the only group that doesn’t want to remember where we came from. We are the only group that will boast other ethnicity to make ourselves sound better than the common black.

    If you call a person of Mexican descent, whose family has been in the country for generations, a Mexican American, they won’t have a problem with it. They celebrate their heritage every chance they get. You may find some that don’t actually celebrate, but they won’t deny it either. They embrace the beauty and culture of Mexico.

    The Irish, Italian, Poles, Germans are always boasting of their grandparents or great grandparents coming for the “Old Country”. They embrace what they are and make no excuses for it. You can call them Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans or German Americans. They don’t usually do it; they just call themselves WHITE. But, you can call them those names without them taking offence. You’ll never hear a Naive American with an African in the geological line; say “You know I have some black in me.” If I remember correctly, one Naive American group even told us to stop saying that we were part Indian.

    Some of us want to be everything but what we are. I remember seeing a L’Oreal or some other makeup commercial, that a very lovely black spokes model named three or four different ethnicity of what made her, her. Jennifer Lopez, same company; her commercial had the words 100% Puerto Rican. I was really blown away by that.

    So, Raven, Tiger, Zoe and any of the others can say they are color blind and don’t see color. And, that they aren’t black or African American, “just American” all they want. If something in the world happens and someone one like Hitler rises up again and wins. They will see what they are, for real.

    Reply
  20. Gerda Belfor

    She do not want to call African American,but she can’t be someone else and if you can be some else then you are a nobody…Ignorance is why she don’t know who she really is

    Reply
  21. deacon

    Some of these post are hilarious. People pretend that just because our people were brought here so long ago changes the fact that they were from Africa. culturally we are Americans but as far as ancestry and ethnic groups are concerned we are Africans. Which is why there’s a term called African American. It’s not a cultural term it’s a term which describes which ethnic group you belong to. It’s like saying all the fish of the sea are the same types of fish completely ignoring and appreciating the different types. Blacks or African Americans are the only group of people who seem to have a problem with there ancestry but that’s because American society has convinced us the our history began at slavery and we having no knowledge of self don’t realize that the entire American way of life from the judicial system all the way to our religious beliefs all began in Africa created by Africans. If we had knowledge of self we would be proud of who we are and not so quick to separate ourselves from our own heritage and birthright. I don’t blame Raven I blame African America itself for not embracing the leaders who came before and I’m not speaking of Dr Martin Luther King Jr only I’m referring to Dr yosef Ben Jochanaan, Dr John Henry Clark, Dr Amos Wilson, the names they don’t teach about because this kind of knowledge would wake an entire race of people up and empower them to live up to the standards of life that were set thousands of years before Columbus ever discovered an already discovered land and people.

    Reply

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