Rae Dawn and Oprah Winfrey
Actress Rae Dawn Chong (L) launched a verbal attack against Oprah during a radio interview.

The father of actress Rae Dawn Chong has claimed she was just being honest when she described talk show host Oprah Winfrey as a 'field n****r'.

Chong, who co-starred with Winfrey in The Color Purple, sparked controversy when she said the media mogul was less-than-friendly to her in the months after they worked together, and described her as "power-hungry".

In a clip published by TMZ.com, the 52-year-old Canadian actress also criticised Winfrey's weight and claimed that if she had lived before the emancipation of slaves she would be working in the field, because she was not beautiful enough to be a house slave.

"If you look at the way [Winfrey] looks, she looks like 60 years ago she would have been a house keeper luckily. She would have not been a house n**ger she would have been a field n**ger," Rae said during her appearance on internet radio show Matty P's Radio Happy Hour.

She went on to say that Winfrey became jealous of her when she got a part on Arnold Schwarzenegger's action flick "Commando."

"That's when she was a total bitch," Chong said. "I starred in Commando. And she just wasn't having me. She's competitive. She didn't like me."

Despite accusing the star of "brown-nosing" her way to the top, Rae concludes her rant by offering Winfrey praise for her success.

"This woman is a miracle and I respect her and I say kudos to you, and I don't give two cents about the other parts of it.

"She shifted the DNA in terms of our thinking of a woman of a certain size and a certain shade. I love her for that."

Chong's father Tommy attempted to justify his daughter's comments by saying: "If you think of what [Rae] said, she said back in the day Oprah would be working in the field because shes not that beautiful  ... whereas if you're beautiful, you're part of the master's bedroom.

"Knowing Oprah, she would probably read [Rae's comments] and just chuckle and probably agree with Rae Dawn ... she probably would be working in the field."

However Tommy Chong also said that Winfrey would have used her "charm and intelligence" to escape the field and become a "house lady."

In the wake of the backlash Rae Dawn issued an apology of sorts to Winfrey, stating that her remarks were taken out of context.

"In context, I was actually complimenting Oprah," Dawn said in a video statement to TMZ. "Do I have issues with Oprah? Yes. Am I perfect? No. Do I take back everything I said? No. Am I in pain that it's caused pain to me, to her? Yes."