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Raven-Symoné Says She's 'Haunted' By Telling Oprah 'I'm Not An African American' In 2014

The actor reflected on the backlash she got after saying 'I’m an American, I'm not an African American' in a 2014 interview with Oprah, and clarified what she actually meant.

Raven-Symoné on podcast; Raven-Symoné on Oprah in 2014
Raven & Miranda/YouTube; OWN

Raven-Symoné made a comment during a 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey that has been "haunting" her for the past decade.

On a recent episode of her podcast Tea Time With Raven & Miranda with her wife and cohost Miranda Pearman-Maday, the actor reflected on the controversial moment.

In 2014, the Cheetah Girls star was discussing labels with Winfrey and made the statement:

"I'm an American, I’m not an African American.”

Immediately, Raven-Symoné received backlash from people online claiming she was "negating her Blackness."

On Thursday's episode of Tea Time, she addressed that moment:

“I wanna talk about something that has haunted me since 2014."
“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.”

She continued, emphasizing what she actually said during the interview.

“And the exact words that I said is that ‘I’m an American, not an African American.'"
“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.”

Prompted to clarify by Pearman-Maday, Raven-Symoné responded:

“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.”
"I understand where I came 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.”

She added that when she's in other countries, she's referred to as "American."

“'There’s an American,' plain and simple and not, 'Look at that African American over there.'"

The Cheetah Girls star also reflected on the backlash following the interview, saying she felt "attacked."

“I felt judged and not heard."
“Stop mislabeling us."

You can watch below.

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While viewers of the podcast appreciated Raven-Symoné's clarification, many expressed they understood the message she was trying to convey in 2014.

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Raven & Miranda/YouTube

Later in the episode, Raven-Symoné acknowledged that people now are “starting to break down those barriers of labeling," but she certainly didn't feel that sort of acceptance in the studio.

The actor shared that her mother felt Winfrey had set her up for the online frenzy because of the way she reacted to the comment. She added that she felt ashamed after the interview like “[I] said something that’s bad, which contradicts who I am as a human.”

Raven-Symoné also said that the interview was supposed to be about her coming out, which is where the discussion of labels originated.

In the interview, the actor told Winfrey that she didn't want to be labeled as "gay," just as a "human who loves humans."

That's when she added:

"[I'm] tired of being labeled.”

She revealed in the podcast that's when things took a turn.

“I said, ‘Don’t label me’ and it turned into that instead of my coming out."

Raven-Symoné finished:

"Thank you to all those who have reached out and heard and understand you get to label yourself and put yourself in the box that feels best as every one of us has the right to do."