Raven-Symoné ignited a Twitter backlash Monday after telling Oprah Winfrey during a “Where Are They Now” special that she did not want to be called “African-American” or “gay.” The star, who is dating fashion model AzMarie Livingston, explained she didn’t like labels. Soon after, the term “new black” began to trend on the social media site, with many criticizing her statement.
“I'm tired of being labeled," she said. "I'm an American. I'm not an African-American; I'm an American."
"Oh, girl," a shocked Winfrey said. "Don't set up Twitter on fire. Oh, my lord. What did you just say?"
"I mean, I don't know where my roots go to," Raven explained. "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."
Winfrey cautioned, "You're going to get a lot of flak for saying you're not African-American. You know that, right?"
But the child star put her hand up and restated, "I don't label myself. 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."
As the veteran television host predicted, Twitter soon was abuzz with Raven-Symoné's comments. Some people scorned her “new black” attitude, which is a notion that was also mentioned by musician Pharrell Williams. He used the term while also talking to Winfrey.
"The New Black doesn't blame other races for our issues," Williams said in April, according to the Guardian. "The New Black dreams and realizes that it's not pigmentation: it's a mentality and it's either going to work for you or it's going to work against you. And you've got to pick the side you're going to be on."
Even though there was a largely negative feedback, Raven-Symoné simply retweeted a post from celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who praised the interview.
@MissRavenSymone I am so happy you are happy, boo boo! Your girlfriend is one lucky lady!!! xoxo
— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) October 6, 2014
But many disagreed. Some of their comments have been posted below:
Raven Symone is a New Black....I was rooting for her. I really was. *sigh*
— Thotniss Everdeen (@The_JonnyBrown) October 6, 2014
so Raven Symone went new black on us?
— Toruk Makto (@watersdry) October 6, 2014
I just want y'all to remember that Beyonce is French, Pharrell is new black, and Raven Symone is not-African American. #ThatIsAll
— Jessica Ann Mitchell (@TweetingJam) October 6, 2014
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