At 28 years old, Raven-Symoné has a very clear sense of who she is -- and isn't. The former "Cosby Show" actress and star of "That's So Raven" recently sat down with Oprah and opened up about her strong sense of self, including her sexuality.
Raven has been relatively quiet about her personal life, but last year, when the Supreme Court ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Raven tweeted a status that many saw as her way of coming out:
When Oprah asks if this was her way of saying she is gay, Raven gives a careful answer.
"That was my way of saying I'm proud of the country," she says. "But, I will say that I'm in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner. A woman."
Raven's reluctance to open up about her private life is something she has practiced since her early days as a young star, under her parents' guidance. "People in my family, they've taught me to keep my personal life to myself as much as possible. So, I try my best to hold the fence where I can," Raven says. "But I am proud to be who I am and what I am."
The actress says she has known who she is before she was even a teenager. "In that topic of dating... I knew when I was, like, 12," she tells Oprah. "I was looking at everything."
Still, the Louisiana native never felt the need to define her sexuality and doesn't want anyone else to do it for her.
"I don't want to be labeled 'gay,'" Raven says. "I want to be labeled 'a human who loves humans.'"
In fact, Raven tells Oprah that she rejects the notion of labels completely in all areas of her life. "I'm tired of being labeled," she says. "I'm an American. I'm not an African-American; I'm an American."
The remark seems to catch Oprah off guard. "Oh, girl," Oprah says, shifting in her chair. "Don't set up the Twitter on fire... Oh, my lord. What did you just say?"
"I mean, I don't know where my roots go to," Raven explains. "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."
"You're going to get a lot of flak for saying you're not African-American. You know that, right?" Oprah asks.
Raven puts her hands up. "I don't label myself," she reiterates. "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 says.
"Aren't we all?" Raven asks. "Isn't that what America's supposed to be?"
For more from "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", visit wherearetheynow.buzz.