Raven-Symoné held nothing back in the season premiere of Oprah: Where Are They Now. It's been a year since the notoriously private star shocked her fans when she came out via Twitter. "I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you," she wrote at the time.
Symoné had yet to address the tweet publicly — until Winfrey asked her about it on Sunday's episode. "So was that your way of coming out?" the host asked. "Saying you were gay?"
"That was my way of saying I'm proud of the country," Symoné replied.
While the former child star did acknowledge that she's in a committed relationship with a woman (model AzMarie Livingston), she told Winfrey that she prefers not having her sexuality pigeonholed. "I don't want to be labeled gay," Symoné said. "I want to be labeled a human who loves humans. I'm tired of being labeled."
Symoné then took her anti-label stance once step further when she told Winfrey that she doesn't identify as African American, either. "I’m not African-American — I’m American,” she told the stunned host. "You're going to get a lot of flack for saying that you're not African American, you know that," Winfrey shot back.
“I’m American, and that’s a colorless person,” Symoné said.
Symoné is hardly the first celebrity to shy away from labels surrounding one's own sexuality. The perception in Hollywood is that to be gay is to be less employable, which is why many actors choose not to discuss their sexuality in public. While some members of the gay community might be offended by Symoné's anti-label stance — and view it as a way to protect her career — it's ultimately her decision on how much of herself she'd like to reveal to the public.
Her stance on her racial identity is a touch stranger since the color of her skin and her privacy in no way intersect, but we're going to chalk that up to her obvious desire to be progressive. That's so Raven. (People Magazine)
Photo: REX USA/Everett Collection.
Update: After setting social media ablaze with the above comments, Raven-Symoné has issued a statement to website theGrio.com:
"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.”