(The Root) — Twitter was not happy with Sheryl Underwood on Sunday.
On an “encore presentation” of her CBS show The Talk that aired Aug. 30, Underwood railed against “nappy” “Afro” hair during a discussion about Heidi Klum saving her children’s hair after it had been cut. Klum’s children with ex-husband Seal have “huge Afros,” as she described them.
Upon hearing that Klum saves their hair, Underwood responded, “Why would you save Afro hair?” She went on to imply that nobody wants that type of hair, saying that you never hear of a woman in a hair shop asking for that “curly, nappy, beady” hair.
Co-host Sarah Gilbert chimed in, saying that she, too, sometimes saves her children’s hair, and Underwood interjected, saying that it was “probably some beautiful, long, silky stuff,” implying that that type of hair is desirable and worth saving. The only thing more hurtful than hearing those words was co-host Aisha Tyler’s silence and listening to the enthusiastic laughter of the audience, who, apparently, agreed.
The idea that blackness is bad by virtue of its not being white, that black people are biologically undesirable and unattractive, is nothing new. Underwood’s comments come from the same sentiment that has had black folks bleaching their skin and white folks lightening us for their magazines and advertisements. That Underwood bashed natural hair from beneath a very heavy-looking wig full of the “beautiful, long, silky stuff” she covets so much is telling.
Many on Twitter are asking Underwood who taught her to hate herself, while she insists that those upset are “tripping.” She attempted to defend her comments by saying that she found it odd that any parent would save a child’s hair, completely skirting the issue. Underwood never entertained the notion that what she said could have had much larger implications and never came close to apologizing.
There’s no shame in ignorance. Sometimes you just don’t know things, and that’s fine. It becomes a problem when that ignorance is willful, when you have the opportunity to educate yourself and you choose to save face instead. Here are some folks who were less than impressed with Underwood’s comments and her handling of the situation.
.@sherylunderwood would you love your NATURAL self if you had been ‘blessed’ with silky, straight, ‘good’ hair? Smh. You need to wake up.
— Nurse Jackie-O (@LehsyaR) September 1, 2013
.@sherylunderwood is an all around sad state of affairs.