Raven Symone had Oprah Winfrey raising eyebrows and nearly falling out of her chair with a statement made during an interview yesterday. Oprah predicted the poised actresses’ words would “set Twitter on fire.” And she was not wrong!
You may remember Raven as Olivia on the “The Cosby Show” or as Raven from the Disney Channel Series, “That’s So Raven.” In questioning the actress on her personal life, Oprah, who has interviewed many guests over the years, literally had to take a few moments to collect herself when the younger woman told her,
“I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American; I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.”
Fanning herself and shaking her head, Oprah laughed and asked her to clarify.
Raven, in a confident, no-nonsense manner, expounded on her controversial statement: “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 an American, and that’s a colorless person, because we’re all people. I have lots of things running through my veins.”
Oprah, taken aback once more by this confident and poised young woman, told the actress she would “get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American.”
The reply was just as calm and poised as the rest of the interview had been:
“I don’t label myself.”
When asked what she really meant by that, Raven’s reply was: “What I really mean by that is that 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.”
Still shaking her head in disbelief, Oprah commented: “You are a melting pot in one body.”
“Aren’t we all? Isn’t that what America’s supposed to be?”