Do Labels define us or force us into stereotypes? Raven Symone Says She’s NOT gay nor African-American

by Teniola Shobowale


Who are you or What are you?

That’s a question we all get asked at some point in our lives and how we answer it can have a whole lot of consequences that goes beyond just answering a simple question- A lesson Disney child star Raven Symone is now learning the hard way….sort of.

The former that’s so Raven and The Crosby Show star became a victim of a liberal statement gone completely wrong when in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on OWN, she dug a very critical hole for herself.

In August 2013, the actress tweeted her support for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defence of Marriage Act, which banned same-sex marriage. This after many social speculation was regarded as the star’s way of opening up about her sexuality.

When Oprah asked her about her tweet she replied “I don’t need language, I don’t need a categorizing statement for it… I don’t want to be labelled gay,”

The whole discussion seemed rather confusing as the actress didn’t seem to want to be identified as something she’d just admitted to being. Developing more in the discussion, she adds that “I want to be labelled as a human who loves humans… I’m tired of being labelled. I’m an American, not an African-American. I’m an American.”

At a taken aback Oprah, she goes on further explaining what she meant about the last part of her statement

“I mean, 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. 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,” the actress says.
She stands by her statement even when a surprised Oprah warns her about the backlash that was sure to happen as a result of her outburst.

“You realize you’re going to get a lot of flack for saying you’re not African-American, don’t you?” asked Opera who predicted the torrent that would come on twitter afterwards and she was right- with heavy criticism from the US African- American community who see it as her denouncing her roots.

In a way you can understand where the star is coming from. She’s tired of being branded as  a specific label and wants to be liberated from a title. This really might just be a sad case of misuse of words or is it? Are we defined by labels or can we just be human?


What are your thoughts?

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