Raven-Symoné is speaking out for the first time after her highly publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey on Where Are They Now?
The 28-year-old former Disney star made headlines over the weekend after telling Oprah that she’s “tired of being labeled,” and more specifically, she does not wish to be categorized as “an African-American.”
“I’m tired of being labeled,” Symoné said. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.”
Symoné told Oprah she wasn’t sure “what country in Africa” she was from but that she did know her family’s roots are in “Louisiana.”
Symoné later clarified her statement telling Oprah, “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.”
Symoné’s comments to Oprah sparked outrage from critics on social media and the blogosphere. In an exclusive statement to theGrio.com, Symoné addresses the criticism she’s received since her interview with Oprah and wants to make one thing clear; she’s still “black.”
“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.”
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.