Opinion: Sheryl Underwood Needs to Shush

Updated:  Looks like Sheryl Underwood is owning up to her remarks.  I can certainly respect that and hope we can all learn from this situation.


It’s very sad that we just spent about a week roasting Miley Cyrus for demeaning Black women on national television with her sorry excuse for twerking and thirsting over a back-up dancer’s ample assets.

And now, we have to face the fact that an African American woman has just served to do the same damn thing with out-of-pocket, and frankly, outrageous remarks about “nasty,” “beady,” Afro hair.

Yes, ladies and gents, Sheryl Underwood, comic and co-host of The Talk, where she supposedly adds the Black female perspective to the panel, went to the shallowest part of her self esteem during a recent segment when the topic of saving hair for mementos came up.

When discussing Heidi Klum’s tendency to hoard her bi-racial children’s hair after haircuts, Underwood launched into an odd self-hating rant about the foolishness of preserving “Afro hair.”  She further solidified her ever-emerging Uncle Ruckus status by saying it makes sense for co-host Sara Gilbert to save her son’s presumably silky, straight beautiful locks before reiterating that there is no reason to save the same if your child’s hair is coarse.

So, does Underwood think that Black hair needs to be placed in a Haz Mat container and shipped to a landfill?

Watch the embarrassment in action, complete with the audience’s raucous laughter, right here:

A moment of silence for the tragic death of Underwood’s common sense, knowledge of self and understanding of history. **bows head, counts to 10.**

Full disclosure: I personally have chosen to wear my hair the way it grows out of my scalp in recent months.  I am relishing saving money and time in hair salons and ducking from rain like Jason Bourne from the CIA.

This does not, however, give me any sense of being superior to anyone else.  I deeply respect everyone’s individual choice about their style, whether it’s Beyonce’s fleeting pixie cut, Janelle Monae’s pompadour perfection, or Esperanza Spalding’s kinky curls.  I’m also a huge fan of Wanda Syke’s auburn skyward style and stan (via Pinterest)  Rihanna’s hair, particularly when it’s asymmetrical.

What I don’t and will never respect is a Black woman, provided a national platform, who uses it to shun not only the natural state of her hair, but also to make it sound like it’s outright insane for others to embrace their texture unless it’s fried, dyed and laid to the side.

Underwood, who has shown little to no remorse for her ignorant remarks, would do well to keep her beak sealed, lest she come off like the second coming of Don Imus.  Her insistence on delivering a message of self-hate as an audience laughed on in seeming agreement is absolutely unacceptable.

Black women are beautiful in all shades, across hair textures and features.  It’s regrettable that in 2013, we still have to defend our God-given attributes, starting with what grows out of our heads.

But it’s even worse when that defense has to be raised against someone who looks just like us.