T.I. sat down with Larry King for an interview this week discussing various topics, including his Paperwork album, and hot topics like Raven Symoné wanting to be called "American" vs. "African-American."
Symone’s comments were made during an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are They Now, where the former child star explained why “African-American” and “gay” were both labels she’s not interested in wearing.
Even though the word “American” is an adjective and could therefore be considered a category or a label, T.I. understands Symoné's perspective.
“I think she has an incredible point,” he told King. “We are all American. I think we need to find more reasons to unify rather than to divide each other and separate from one another. Everybody isn’t meant to be the same. The same race, the same religion, the same ideologies of life… we have to accept and respect one another’s differences.”
T.I. slides into different categories himself. He’s a rapper, father, entrepreneur, aspiring fashion designer, budding actor, and more, yet labels of the kind don’t mean much to him. “Words to me don’t have much power unless you give them power,” he said. “African-American to me is what I was taught to call myself. I consider myself African-American, Black, and American. Ultimately I think they’re all categories that we place ourselves in where we seek comfort in words.”
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(Photos from left: Aaron Davidson/WireImage, Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for NYLON)