Actress Raven-Symoné sparked a fresh round of controversy when she defended former Univision anchor Rodner Figueroa for a racially charged joke he made about first lady Michelle Obama. On Monday, the 29-year-old appeared as a guest host on the syndicated talk show “The View,” where she stated that Figueroa’s comments were much ado about nothing.
During a segment on “El Gordo Y la Flaca,” Figueroa quipped that Obama looks like a cast member of Planet of the Apes. To which Symoné replied: “I don’t think he was saying it to be racist,” Symoné told her fellow panelists. “Not Michelle Obama. Michelle, don’t fire me from this right now, but some people do look like animals,” she added.
“Is that rude? I look like a bird … so can I be mad at somebody that calls me Toucan Sam?” Symoné joked.
In contrast to Symoné, fellow co-host Rosie Perez was fired up when it came to voicing her opinion regarding Figueroa’s blatant racism. “That’s like saying, ‘I’m not a racist, I have black friends,’ ” Perez said. “A lot of Latin people recognize the fact that we do have African blood in us. A lot of them do not want to recognize that fact, and that’s where this stems from. There is a secret in the Latin community, specifically the Caribbean, South American, Central American, Latin community, that they are very racist — they never want to be in the same group as black people. And it’s sad. It’s very, very sad. And he did say Michelle Obama looks like a cast member of the Planet of the Apes.”
This isn’t the first time the former “Cosby Show” actress has made racial remarks that have rubbed viewers the wrong way. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Symoné’ triggered considerable controversy when she rejected cultural labels like “gay” or “African American.”
“I don’t want to be labeled ‘gay.’ I want to be labeled a human who loves human. I’m tired of being labeled. I’m an American! I’m not an African-American. I’m an American,” Raven said.
“I will say this: I don’t know where my roots go to. I don’t know how far back they go. I can’t go on … you know … I don’t know how far back and 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 — because we are all people. I have lots of things running through my veins,” she added.
Later, Symoné issued a response to explain her controversial African American comment saying, “I never said I wasn’t Black.”