‘The Cosby Show’ child star stuns Oprah: ‘I’m not African-American. I’m American.’

The former child actress who charmed America in “The Cosby Show” for most of the ‘80s shocked megastar Oprah Winfrey during a recent interview when she declared she considers herself “American,” not “African-American.”

The now-grown singer and actress Raven-Symone, who played Bill Cosby’s step-granddaughter Olivia in the long-running series, told Winfrey she is in a loving lesbian relationship and is glad gay marriage is making strides legally, but rejects being called “gay.”

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Actress and singer Rave-Symone, left, and as a child actress on “The Cosby Show.”

“I’m proud to be who I am and what I am,” she said in an interview on the OWN network. “I want to be labeled ‘a human who loves humans.’”

So far so liberal-good for uber-liberal Oprah. But then Raven-Symone got to race.

“I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American,” she said.

Take that, Al and Jesse — and Eric, and Valerie and Barack.

“Oh, girl, don’t set up Twitter on fire,” Winfrey said. “Oh, my lord. What did you just say?”

“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.”

Winfrey wanted more. Could Raven-Symone really mean it?

“What I really mean by that is I’m an American. That’s what I really mean,” Raven-Symone said. “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.”

“You are a melting pot in one body,” Oprah said.

Raven-Symone agreed.

“Isn’t that what America’s supposed to be?”

Check out the interview here, via YouTube. Then check out the Twitter reaction below. Oprah was right about setting it on fire — but be warned, the language is pretty ugly.

However sensible Raven-Simone might have sounded, the response from some blacks on Twitter was blazing.

But she had her defenders.

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Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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