Sheryl Underwood wants the world to know that she and George Lopez are friends and that he is not racist. Also, she wants us all to know that if a woman had flipped her off during her comedy show, she would have called her a “bitch,” too.
As previously reported by The Root, George Lopez is in the middle of a social media storm after making the following joke during a comedy show in Phoenix on Sunday night:
“There’s still two rules in the fucking Latino family,” Lopez said. “Don’t marry somebody black, and don’t park in front of our house.”
Reactions to the joke itself have been mixed, with some people finding it flat-out racist. Others pointed out that anti-blackness in some corners of the Latinx community is very real, thus making the joke an indictment against that racism and not a joke made at the expense of black people.
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Maybe if it had stopped there, we wouldn’t be at this point, but here we are. In response to the joke, a black woman in the audience reportedly threw her middle finger up at Lopez, causing him to call her a “bitch,” whip the crowd into a frenzy against her, curse her out, then throw her out.
The backlash against Lopez has been swift.
Enter Underwood, caped up and to the rescue.
“I have great affection for George Lopez,” Underwood said to loud applause from The Talk audience during a discussion about the incident.
Co-host Aisha Tyler agreed with her, saying, “As do I; he’s been very kind to both of us in our careers. He’s helped us both and he’s a good friend.”
Underwood continued, “I am a black woman, and I want to tell y’all something. I’ve been there where ... see, that’s why we don’t want to be recorded inside of the venue. Because if you just look at it from the outside in, you think, ‘Oh, he’s attacking this black woman.’
“Once you throw up the bird twice and you’re in the first few rows, you have now inserted yourself into the show, and it depends on the mood of the comic of how they handle it,” she continued.
Underwood then went on to say that the joke was not anti-black.
“He didn’t say that he wouldn’t marry a black woman, ’cause I’m still in the running to be a Lopez,” she said to wild applause and laughter. “Jokes seem to be more racial, more sexist, but when you come into the venue, you have to expect what happens in the house, and he who holds the mic, or she who holds the mic, runs the house.”
More audience applause.
“I am pro-black female, but if you put yourself into it, you gon’ get lit up,” she continued. “I would have said, ‘Bitch, that’s why ain’t noboby gon’ marry you because you talking in my show.”
Personally, I found Underwood’s “Look, I’m not an angry black woman; I get it! Look, see? I’m in the club, too!” moment as strikingly pathetic as her hatred for “nappy” hair.
Perhaps, though, the applause from the audience made it all worth it for her.
The woman reportedly at the center of the controversy called in to the Tino Cochino Radio show to tell her side of the story. The woman, who is black and Mexican, said that she was not really angry when she stood up during the show, but she was responding to the idea that black and Latinx people are discouraged from marrying each other.
Still, she said that Lopez immediately went off the rails.
Despite that, she told the radio hosts that she would attend another Lopez show and say and do exactly the same thing.