Sheryl Underwood: Who Likes Nappy Hair? We Do

by Danielle C. Belton

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Comedian Sheryl Underwood caught some Twitter fire recently when while on the TV show The Talk. She admonished the idea of supermodel Heidi Klum saving the curly hair of her biracial children after she cut it. Underwood said:

“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.

Then, it got worse. Wrote Tracy Clayton at The Root:

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.

Everything about being black in this country we are taught, usually from outsiders but also from those we love, that there is something inherently wrong with us. Our hair, if too curly, is “bad.”  Our skin, if too dark, is “bad.” Our noses, if too broad and lips, if too full, are “bad.” Anything that isn’t closer to the European standard of beauty is “bad.” You, by birth of your blackness, are bad.

The people who told me I was “bad” were not my parents, they were individuals like an old, hateful black elementary school library aide I had while growing up who regularly told us children (all black) how “bad” we were and how nappy our hair was and how that was awful and how the white children she taught at the other schools were much better, nicer, prettier children than us. They were people like some of the men I dated when I was much younger who would tell me they would break up with me if I ever cut my long, chemically straightened hair. My personality didn’t matter, nor were my face or charms. They dating a headful of hair – not me. And the hair had to stay.

Some folks on Twitter have asked who taught Sheryl Underwood to “hate herself.” More than likely she doesn’t see it that way like most people who’ve internalized that certain aspects of blackness are simply “bad.” She’s confused at the response she’s received because she was only stating the status quo, saying what others usually say in private to their daughters who go natural. What’s usually on heard by some grandmothers snickering about how your hair isn’t “good” enough to go natural, as if the 1970s and afros never happened. Mothers worrying about your “looks.” Strangers on the street, classmates and co-workers all passing judgment – does having natural hair make you some kind of radical? A feminist? A socialist? Did you just get dumped? Do YOU hate yourself for not straightening your hair, they imply?

But normally we don’t have to confront this negativity in our daytime talk shows and have one black woman openly express her disdain for something that is distinctly black while being black herself. It’s a pitiful thing, as a black woman with natural hair in America, to still hear comments you only expect to hear from the unconnected, the old and the ignorant. That nappy hair is bad and if your children have nappy hair that’s not worth saving as a keepsake. Because who would want it. Who would want nappy hair? Who would want black hair? Who would want to be black?

That’s the negative implication. But I do. I’m proud of who I am and what my hair consists of. I’m proud of all the different things I can do with it. I’m proud of the diversity in our hair and how no two heads of hair on a black woman is a like when it’s natural – not even if they’re related. How each curl manifests differently and is a staunch individualist. There’s nothing wrong with straight hair. But there’s nothing wrong with curly hair either. Both are equally beautiful in their own ways. And the more accepting of ourselves the more accepting others will be and accepting that some black people like to wear their hair curly is part of that.

After all, how is anyone supposed to love us, if we don’t love ourselves first?

  • IslandgirlDesi

    That heffer needs to kick rocks and then have several seats……..Ms. Underwood needs to go underground.

  • lynn

    Truly cringe-worthy, putting one’s self-hate on display for millions of people to see.

  • [email protected]

    Can we ban ignorant Black people from having access to all media for the rest of 2013?

    For the first time in about 3 years I blow dried my natural hair last night, I was curious to see what it looks like straight. It was boring with no character, so I misted it with water and cream with a quickness to get my soft, curly/kinky hair back. I guess Noxzema, I mean Sheryl, wouldn’t understand that since she thinks all Black women hate themselves the way she does.

  • http://holdmygold.tumblr.com Cat

    Self hate.

  • Chilecheese

    She shouldn’t be talking about nobody’s hair after she revealed whats hiding under that wig…… Ijs

  • JaeBee

    I hear ya, but I think you went a little too far referring to her as “Noxema” (Jackson). That trope speaks negatively about black women’s looks just as much as her ignorant comments about hair.

  • Miss A

    I hope it’s only a matter of time before the execs get rid of this buffoon. She is strictly there for comic relief! I admit she is an intelligent, educated woman but the the words that come out of her mouth sometimes makes me think otherwise. All she does is sit there and joke about how much she likes to eat, have sex, and other off hand remarks. Every once in a while she will make a good comment but not often. I never understood why they got rid of Holly Robinson for her….Aisha is cool but don’t look for her to make a stand and defend anything black….

  • JaeBee

    I wonder if she was tryin to make a joke/statement the same way Chris Rock did in his documentary “Good Hair”. If you remember, he tried to sell an Afro wig to a black hair store and was told that no one wanted to buy that “type” of hair.

  • MommieDearest

    When I first heard about this I was pissed. Then I felt sad. This woman has so many issues… At this point I almost feel sorry for her. *smh*

  • SAA

    I didn’t know who this woman was when all my friends were expressing outrage on social media so before I Googled her I thought to myself “please let her be white”. *Sigh* no such luck then to my surprise, when I saw she was black I shrugged my shoulders and literally said “another day, another asshole”. I know plenty of parents who save their children’s hair after they get haircuts, mostly after their first hair cut to go in the baby book and whether they save it isn’t dependent on it’s texture. I feel sorry for her and those that think like her all the while thanking my lucky stars to not have that pathology and loving every strand on my head.

  • MommieDearest

    ” I never understood why they got rid of Holly Robinson for her…”

    Oh, we all know why. They can’t have the white women “upstaged” by an intelligent black woman who thinks for herself and will not play the role that they want to assign to her.

    Also, they already had Aisha as the “safe” black woman with acceptable* mainstream beauty. Having Holly, with her acceptable* good looks, would be too much.

    *Please note that I am not knocking Aisha and Holly- they are both beautiful women in their own right. I’m just pointing out that their particular beauty is more “palatable” to the white folks in charge. It is what it is.

  • vintage3000

    That comment was in reference to Sheryl’s looks, not dark skinned Black women collectively. I am dark also, and do not look like Sheryl nor Noxzema. I think Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell are two of the most gorgeous women on the planet, they don’t look like Sheryl/Noxzema either.

    Sometimes a duck is just a duck, and not all Black women are attractive-has nothing to do with race nor “tropes”. Sheryl is one of THOSE women who apparently projects her insecurities and self hatred onto all Black women. In front of White folks. She gets no mercy from me, especially after the Black women bashing Olympics that have been taking place for several years now.

  • tina

    Educated she may be, but she must be hiding the intelligence.

  • Ms. Write

    She obviously hasn’t been to the Beauty Supply store lately. There are so many grades of weaves that are of “kinky” “nappy” texture right along with the Yaki silky straight.

  • Nadell

    Sheryl honey they are not laughing with you but at you! Comedy at its finest — when the comedian speaks ill of themselves.
    That silky long hair sitting on top of your head isn’t yours, Sheryl. Remove all perms, weaves, wigs and your hair is not that ‘long silky stuff’ you speak sooo highly of. You too Aisha.
    And there is nothing nappy about natural hair. It is strong & pure!

  • C. Alfred

    Sheryl continuously does a disservice to herself and others by opening her mouth and being the ignorant one at the table. I thought she had some level of intelligence but I think she leaves that someone to be bafoon at the table for America to see. She is crass and I don’t think she will last on this show. Where is the intelligent woman that I think is hiding somewhere inside her? I saw this show and I was livid. She solidified my opinion of her.

  • cjl

    I never liked her and now I don’t like her even more! Ugh!!

  • http://clutchmagazine opiland

    I prefer wearing my beautiful nappy hair than those atrocious wigs she’s sporting all the time.she’s a pretty woman,but those nasty-looking weaves don’t do her any justice.

  • Belle

    Between this and Sharon Osbourne’s comments about Bieber thinking he is black and all of the big brother nonsense, it is becoming clear to me that CBS really has a problem with race. They need to address it or I will be done with them.

  • Brad

    I am surprise she was or is president of the black sorority Zeta Phi Beta. I mean you literally represent so many black woman for a major national organization. She should know better.

  • Anthony

    The truth is that millions of black women act like they agree with Underwood even if they never say so. It seems as if every women under 35 I see has some incredibly phony looking wig or weave on her head. I see so much horrible fake hair on my young sisters’ heads I get depressed. Whether they wear it natural or straight, I just want to see more young black women who are confident enough to wear their own hair in public. All of these wigs and weaves look bad, and frankly, white women are laughing at black women wearing all of this fakery.

    If Miley Cyrus has enough self confidence to twerk her flat and saggy white ass, I’ll be damned if my sisters can’t walk down the street proudly with the hair their patents gave them!

  • http://changeistheconstant.com jayellemarie007

    self-loathing blacks or maybe a black woman searching for a laugh at the expense of people of color. Either way, she should have thought more about her comments.

  • Anthony

    @Miss A, Holly Robinson was dumped because she is not a clown or suck up like Underwood or Tyler. In their own ways, both Aisha Tyler and Sheryl Underwood epitomize the notion of black inferiority and acquiescence to whiteness.

  • KDJW

    The sad part is it does not surprise me in the least. Some of these women, although now have a platform to do and be more, are just insecure women who don’t know what to say or do.

  • apple

    well terrible thing to say…aloud, but don’t most black women say it everyday with weave and perms? (not that i care what people do with their hair)

  • SayWhat

    The only thing I would change in this article is I’d add coily/kinky to describe afro-textured hair. We have a big problem with naturals doing everything under the sun to change their hair texture from coils to curls, constantly omitting ‘coily’ as a descriptor, adds to that……just my two cents

  • Brad

    Yea, but, as my history professor use to always ask of us. Would you rather a sista with process hair and a natural mind or a sista with a process mind and natural hair?

    Many black woman will wear there hair in a variety of styles over there life time.

  • march pisces

    sucks to be her and feel that way although she is entitled to feel however she wishes. i however, am very happy and proud of my “nappy” hair b/c without it i don’t think my locs would be as beautiful as they are (to me)….

  • diasporauk

    First time you’ve ever said anything I agree with

  • zetamom

    Sadly we are our own worst critics. I never get criticism of my hair from anyone but African American women. Everyone else offers up compliments about the style and versatility. They ask questions to learn about the process. She reminded me we need to start having real conversations with the “Sheryl’s” in our social circles to change this way of thinking about curly hair.

  • ruggie

    This, coming from a woman who has referred to herself as “Wesley Snipes in drag” is not surprising…but sad.

  • DEE

    When I saw this it stung, it was just so casual and then the laughter from the white hosts and audience members got me too. Not that I was surprised but to see Sarah gilbert start laughing when she made the contrast between Heidi Klums child and Gilberts white child, basically saying this is ugly and this is beautiful or this is clean this is dirty. Then to see the laughter from this was a little unsettling.

    I don’t suddenly hate Sheryl Underwood now (I never really noticed her) because it’s been said again and again by many people. I really just wish people with a platform would take the time to realize the implications of their words before speaking instead of just hoping to get a laugh from some people.

  • Missi

    She’s on national tv with bad wigs everyday. Aisha head is always jacked too..I will take my natural nappy hair over what you choose…by the way Sheryl, it still doesn’t help your ugliness..

  • RJ

    And to make matters worse…she is a Republican in this day and age>

  • Jillybean

    Aisha’s silence during that clip speaks just as loudly as Sheryl’s comments.

  • ruggie

    White people don’t criticize our hair, they just hire black folks who will.

  • http://gravatar.com/ruconscious09 ruconscious09

    RUC is now considering the creation of a “Wall of Shame” reserved for the most egregious of “coons.” This week Sheryl Underwood joined the ranks of D.L. Hughely (King/Queen Coonery), thinking that it would be good humor to attack and belittle our (black) children of all people, for the amusement of their white audience. In watching the clip, please note that one of her colleagues immediately followed up Sheryl’s ignorant and disdainful remarks by stating that she also saves her child’s hair clippings. Obviously an attempt to diffuse the racial overtones of the conversation and perhaps sell Underwood a clue to undo her previous remark or at minimum close her mouth to let that conversation end on a less divisive note. Underwood, obviously too dense to recognize the gesture proceeds to take it as an opportunity to admire the “long silkiness” of her colleagues hair type by comparison to the natural hair of black children. Classic self-loathing, “coon shine” behavior.

    Since Hughley’s unprovoked attack on the women Rutgers basketball players (e.g. “… nappy-headed hoes…”), I have vowed to never spend a single red penny on anything associated with Hughley. Now I will attach that honor to Mrs. Underwood as well. To be honest though, it wasn’t as if they were at risk of me supporting their careers with my patronage anyway. Neither of them are funny worth a damn.

    The question that deserves to be asked is when will we take the psychological well-being of our children serious enough to take a similar commitment? Why do we persist in supporting these entertainers (Eddie Murphy, D.L. Hughley, etc.) who have at times belittled the black community or aspects of black culture for the entertainment of their white audience? Do we as consumers not have better sense?

    BTW, is it only me that thinks she looks like an absolute court gesture with that 1970 feathered Farrah Fawcett wig/weave she thinks looks good. No fool like a damn fool!

  • http://gravatar.com/ruconscious09 ruconscious09

    BTW RUC stand for R U Conscious.

  • Treece

    I swear, I don’t even know where to begin. For starters though, I have had beef with this show for a long time. From the beginning I hated how it was just a knock off of The View (even though “creator” Sara Gilbert claimed it was an original idea). Then, there was Ms. Osbourne’s insensitive racial/ethnic comments about ex-hosts Lea Remini and Holly Robinson-Peete. Both said they hated the way Sharon carried the show and that she told them they were both “too ghetto”. Then the addition of Sheryl who I never liked, even as a comedian. She always was loud, obnoxious, and fits many of the stereotypical beliefs white ppl have about black women. I guess Sharon wanted her black cohost to be ignorant and add nothing to the show but “comic relief” b/c if you wanted to describe someone as “ghetto” (which I hate, but use to make a point) it would definitely be Sheryl Underwood. Then Sharon’s comments about Justin Bieber being her idea of “black”…….

    I am definitely disappointed in Aisha Tyler for not chiming in. I thought she had more cohones than that, but I guess I was wrong. And the fact that the audience laughed shows us (again…) how white people as a collective really feel about blackness and black beauty. I’m telling you, that audience had to have been mostly white and here lately white people are showing thier true colors more often in some pretty blatant ways. Here lately the more I notice progression within our race (economic, social, political) the more I also notice how people are trying to hold us back in 1955. Both black (as in Ms. Underwood’s case) and white. If we don’t show respect and love for every part of us, how do we expect white ppl to respect us? I wonder how many ppl in the audience who were offended by the “joke” got up and left in protest (black or white)?

    Sheryl Underwood clearly has issues with colorism and she is someone who I would categories as hating herself for her black features and hair. She talks about these subjects often in her comedy routines. I am not one to say that just b/c a black woman relaxed her hair or wears weaves that she is automatically self-hating. However, any black woman who says things degrading black phenotypes and makes ugly jokes about black hair has issues. Its not funny and I also question anyone who finds what Sheryl said laughable.

  • lw

    So very true.

  • GlowBelle

    Ugh. Not the ‘good hair/bad hair’ thing again…. I really really dislike those terms and this is just disappointing. Sounds to me like Underwood got jealous of Heidi Klum’s bi-racial daughter and wanted to take her child down a peg so she went in for the attack on the girl’s hair. Pathetic. Self-hate is working overtime on Underwood, and while Tyler’s silence doesn’t surprise me and is telling, but maybe she just didn’t want to engage in Underwood’s stupidity and sometimes staying silent is the best way to deal with ignorant self-haters like Underwood. Self-esteem is a hard thing to regain for people esp. when they’ve been taught to think that way all their lives. Underwood will never ‘get it’, even if Tyler had spoken up against it. The damage has already been done with her.

    We should all just go to YouTube and watch the Sesame Street ‘I Love My Hair’ song and dismiss Underwood and the issues that she has with herself.

  • Travis

    I dig your sentiment but could Tyler have really stated any credible objection if she wanted to being that her hair is as straight as “Queen Coon” Underwood? Consider you saw a white woman with a kinky afro wig exclaiming the virtues of being a “proud white women”… Would you really take what she was saying seriously or would you laugh inside to yourself and dismiss her and being “…for entertainment purposes only”? I think the latter. These psychological, schizophrenic games black women play with themselves about loving who that are and being “proud” black women while they have someone hair pasted, sewn, or prompted up on your head is complete and utter nonsense. It’s just that simple
    Can a black man linked in arms with a white women while claiming to love black women expect to be taken seriously?!?!?! I don’t think very many black women if any at all would be inclined to take that brother seriously and would likely call him out as being full of $hit!

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    She tried it and failed. I can’t believe they got rid of the lovely Mrs. Holly Robinson Peete for her and Alisha Tyler (don’t get me wrong I don’t mind Alisha but she needs to speak up because being quite/mute is worst as saying and being present for the offense). As for her comment, I don’t take her or any woman seriously who have distain for natural hair or quick to run their mouth off about it but they haven’t seen their hair in ages, have more wigs/weaves than shoes or their own hair isn’t up to par so she and others can miss me and all the other fellow naturals with their criticism.

  • Lola289

    agreed @ Vintage3000

  • Lola289

    @MD
    Can I “like” this 1000 more times?

  • Lola289

    Yeah…Aisha’s got a white husband, right?
    Think that helped a little.

  • Lola289

    Dude, Hair is hair. Nothing deep it can be changed in a matter of hours.
    Im happy my guy pushed me to keep my ‘fro cuz he knows all of this extra ‘ish (perms,weaves, etc) isn’t necessary. Look on YouTube there are TONS of videos dedicated for natural hair. Our hair isn’t a bad thing.
    I actually LOVE me so much more now.
    Screw what others think…ITS OUR TIME….LUV URSELF!

  • donnadara

    Actually you can buy kinky weave online and in the hair stores. Evidently, she’s not up on what’s current.

  • http://gravatar.com/godivabap godivabap

    Ok, so I finally broke down and watched the clip. I mean, I’m not surprised that she made the comments. Sheryl is a faithful weave/wig wearer. I can only speak for myself when I say I have gone to the beauty supply store several times, when getting ready to do kinky twists or some elaborate style that requires adding hair, asking for tightly curled, kinky hair. They always just look at me as if I am crazy and politely tell me “no, we don’t have anything like that here” and it usually takes a serious hunt.

    I love nappy hair, on myself and other people. The more we celebrate our natural selves, the more attitudes will change. I don’t expect Aisha Tyler to try and contradict the statement, giving her consistent choice of bone-straight style as well.

  • donnadara

    Actually relaxer sales have been down 30% since 2009. I don’t know if most is accurate.

  • June

    We are so —->here<—- on this. I agree with everything you said, but especially this:

    "I guess Sharon wanted her black cohost to be ignorant and add nothing to the show but “comic relief” b/c if you wanted to describe someone as “ghetto” (which I hate, but use to make a point) it would definitely be Sheryl Underwood."

    I have always seen Sheryl Underwood as being brought in to, excuse the French, coon it up in a way that served the purposes of the show. They had to have a black woman because this is post-racial America and everybody gets a seat at the table, but Holly Robinson Peete was most assuredly not the type of black woman they wanted. The differences between her and Underwood are clear as crystal.

    I have a conflicted relationship with Aisha Tyler because I do think she is really funny, but I really don't like the way she has basically built her brand as "the black woman who's just one of the (white) guys." She's a liberal, but her politics on race seem very non-confrontational. So I didn't expect her to chime in during this conversation because that's not who she is, but I still find it disappointing.

  • Beautiful Mic

    Note: Shekhinah is a Hebrew (Jewish) name. Okay?

  • Jello

    That’s not true at all tho. I have natural hair but at the moment I’m wearing a straight weave.
    I love my beautifu kinky coiling nappy bushy African hair. My naps are beautiful. But at the moment I feuded Togo with a new look of longer hair(my Afro is little but I’m hoping to serve foxy brown realness in the future). So just because I’m wearing straight hair for the movement doesn’t mean I hate my beautiful hair underneath my weave. I wear locs,I wear braids,dye r black dye it blonde dye it hot pink,put it in an aqua Afro. I love to experiment with my look.
    Not only that I dot have to do y hair for two months and jus let my naturl hair grow and grow!

    So it thinks its pretty jacked up to insinuate that a black woman can’t be proud of her blackness if she’s wearing a weave or a different hair color etc. that’s not entirely acute ate for everyone and when it comes to this issue,no one should generalize

  • Pepper

    Preach Travis…..Preach!

  • BeanBean

    You know it’s bad when a white woman values black hair, more than a black woman! When is this going to end? Yes I understand whites set the standard of beauty in this country. That’s a privilege of being the majority, financially and population-wise. That does not excuse black women in 2013 for having this sad 19th century mindset!! I just don’t understand how someone could degrade their own natural features! I guess some of us walked off the plantation, but left our brains in the cotton field.

  • Pepper

    Does anyone on this thread realize that Sheryl is FIRST and FOREMOST a comedian? And whether we think she’s funny, or not….a comedian strives to tell jokes, and make people laugh. Sometimes an intended joke falls flat (and for this particular joke it fail flat for SOME black women). I’m not condoning Sheryl’s comments about hair one way, or the other because generally speaking Sheryl has never been funny to me. Personally I’m secure within myself, and I don’t care what Sheryl, or anyone else says about my hair. I was born with kinky hair, and still have kinky hair.

  • Pepper

    binks: I was also disappointed when they let Holly go. But we don’t (really) know what went on behind closed doors. After it happened I saw Holly give several interviews, and she was in the dark as to what happened. As for Aisha….Aisha is a comedian as well as Sheryl, and agree with her, or not Aisha could relate to Sheryl trying to make a joke, and would be empathetic. Plus anyone that follows comedians know that they are very seldom politically correct on any issue.

  • vintage3000

    Then why not joke about straight hair? Isn’t it a coincidence how these Black “comedians only make disparaging comments about their own race, and which other races of people do you see doing this?

  • Pepper

    Treece you mentioned “white” people 5, or 6 times. I’m curious as to why you are so concerned about what white people think? Seriously. Are they a litmus test? My bigger point is I don’t really spend a lot of time concerning myself with what white people say, or think about black people. However I am often concerned with the millions of dollars that black women spend on hair, and hair care products. Making every one else wealthy in the process. i.e., Chinese, Indians, Asians, etc. That’s really what we should be concerned about

  • Pepper

    vintage: Speaking of “Olympics”….remember when lots of Black women criticized Gabby Douglas’ hair? And this young lady was flipping, dipping, and flying across bars. Double standard when it comes to criticizing black women’s hair. Personally I think too many black women trip on their hair. Like hair is the end all/be all to their lives

  • thecuspgoddess

    Yes her comment was ignorant, but what’s really sad is that there are millions of other Black people who think and feel this way. Even sadder is the fact that perhaps no one’s ever edified Sheryl Underwood’s natural beauty. WE HAVE TO LOVE OURSELVES.

  • Pepper

    Mommie: I’m somewhat confused by your comment regarding Aisha, and Holly. Holly was there first……she left, and then Aisha was added. Or perhaps you are suggesting that maybe they should have kept Holly, and added Aisha. I think that would have been a great mix. Something went down behind stage to make them get rid of Holly, and Leann. What happened is still a mystery. In my opinion Sheryl is the worse addition to the show…..for many many reasons; including but not limited to the fact that she’s not funny

  • Pepper

    Miss: I hate to see anyone lose their job, but hopefully they will get rid of Sheryl soon. Even before this incident I was thinking that Sheryl is not a good fit for the show. She is not representative of the kind of Black women in 2013 that views a show like ‘The Talk.’ I would think that the casting people would have figured that out by now. Bottom line is that they probably don’t have a black person on the casting team that could pull their coat tail, and make them recognize the real deal.

  • Nyala

    This is embarrassing…to have her make such a low-end joke like that.

    But I wonder, was Aisha Tyler stricken with silence because of the comment or just pretended not to care of the backlash? Or otherwise?

  • Pepper

    Anthony: Let me first say that I wasn’t a fan of Sheryl’s even before this happened (and I’m still not a fan of Sheryl’s). But how do you know that Sheryl, and Aisha suck up? They are paid to do their job, and intelligent people do their job,and keep it moving so they can get paid. Most working people do that. Just my opinion….but I don’t think Aisha epitomizes the notion of black inferiority, or acquiescence to whiteness. Is Aisha a Jenny from the block….. I think not….but I enjoy her on the show. We need to remember that black people are not monolithic, and come from all kinds of backgrounds.

  • joe

    Maybe Aisha agreed with Sheryl’s comments but was smart enough not to say something so ignorant.

  • Sunny

    Our hair, if too curly, is “bad.” Our skin, if too dark, is “bad.” Our noses, if too broad and lips, if too full, are “bad.” Anything that isn’t closer to the European standard of beauty is “bad.” You, by birth of your blackness, are bad.

    All these comments describe Sheryl Underwood. She probably spent a lifetime being told everything about her appearance was bad. It’s not surprising but totally sad.

  • Pepper

    Lola: What does Aisha’s white husband have to do with anything? Do you have a husband?

  • Pepper

    “Black comedians only make disparaging comments about their own race” That’s not remotely true. Black comedians make disparaging remarks about blacks, whites, and latinos

  • http://gravatar.com/ruconscious09 ruconscious09

    Jello, you totally missed my point in trying to defend the behavior which if you look at it void of context, is rather bizarre at minimum. I am not speaking about any one single person’s behavior. I am speaking about a behavior in mass, specifically the behavior or taking an organic growth off of someone else’s body and attaching it onto your own as an adornment. I say it this way because to some people the practice is really just that foreign or even disgusting. From a purely objective perspective, I would think a person would no more want to attach someone else’s hair to their head than they would glue someone else’s clipped toenails over their own. The behavior is no different AT ALL. Now I do understand that people to purchase synthetic hair but in many cases it is because the “real human hair” is too expensive. The fact that one purchases synthetic hair does not negate the symbolism.

    Now, are you attempting to say that because you enjoy the versatility of you hair (e.g. straightened, curled, kinked, etc.) that ALL black women who relax, weave, or wig their heads as you do are secure as you are? That would be a huge fallacy in logic. (Because ONE is true, ALL things similar must be true… flawed thinking) None the less, my original point still stands, one cannot expect to be taken seriously on any matter when their behavior demonstrates or exemplifies the opposite of what they profess. Humans are innately wired to recognize discrepancies in behavior sometimes especially when those discrepancies are strong enough to be identified as “hypocritical.” For decades we took note of white folks perceived insecurity in wanting to be like us through the efforts of tanning. Now we (Black folk) want to pretend as if the comparable behavior hair straightening isn’t conversely and equally symbolic.

    You may represent some social anomaly in that you’re secure enough in yourself so that wearing straightened hair is nothing more than a whimsical behavior. History proves otherwise in that hair style in contemporary US history has and will always likely be a political and social statement from the African braids, twists, and coils, to the hair konks, weaves, and wigs, to the fros, naturals and locs. Styling one’s hair is much like spending money in that even when you have no intention on it being social or political in nature, its very essence remains a social and political act. That’s why in the black community growing up, it was understood that you seldom just let anyone on you head. There were spiritual ramifications to that type of carelessness.

  • Leo

    I’m not offended by her ignorance, I feel sorry for her utter stupidity.

    She’s one of those celebrities that I’ve never supported anyway and as comedians, I’ve never found her and neither her co-host, Aisha Tyler to be funny.

    I care less about her education, because she is on a platform to elevate and she does the complete opposite. I don’t share solidarity with folks like that just because she happens to be a black woman. She’s the worst kind.

    I hope all of you see it’s not white people who really have a problem with the African aesthetic, it’s self-hating black people who suffer from internalized racism who do.

  • Ash

    She’s crazy. I love natural hair. I’m respectful to everyone hair choices but truthfully that weave she’s wearing anit working for her. It makes her look very masculine.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    She looks like Wesley Snipes….I cant take her seriously.

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    because she doesn’t have to deal with said black hair. to white people, black hair is nice to look at and is “cool”, but i bet you anything they’d cry if they had to deal with having our hair.

  • tyshell

    Well it is quite unfortunate Sheryl Underwood feels that way about this specific hair texture. I am fortunate enough to have become a proud, single, black mother who just rightfully so saved her sons Afro hair lockets in his keepsake treasure album. So there, how does like those apples…..?

  • RaiseTheBar

    That video was extremely PAINFUL to watch. Hair is the tip of the iceberg to much deeper issues. If it wasn’t the superficiality of “hair” it would have been something just as ridiculous.

    The wife of a former co-worker attended a taping of, “The View” and said the responses to the hot topics were scripted; “The Talk” (probably the same), so although the words came out of Sheryl’s mouth, others are just as responsible (guilty), if not more so, as Sheryl.

    The topic was a mother’s sentimental attachment to her children’s hair the same way mothers save their children’s teeth, bronze their children’s shoes, etc.

    Giving Sheryl the benefit of the doubt, I feel sorry for her that she didn’t have the WISDOM and/or the COURAGE not to allow those words to come from her mouth.

    And to Answer the question, “Who wants Afro Hair?” I do, I do. I wish I knew Randy (MOSS) personally ‘cauze when he cut his hair I would have gotten him to give his locks to me. I would have braided his longer, stronger hair into mine and bagged the rest as a memento (not in a creepy, stalker kinda way), but in a crushin’ on him like a 15yr old schoolgirl, I would luv to take him to Brunch=MY bucket list way. Luv Ya Randy!

  • http://twitter.com/cbmts cbmts (@cbmts)

    while it’s fair to judge Sheryl Underwood harshly for her statements, there are many people who will never say what Sheryl said about themselves yet they demonstrate that everyday. they’ll say things like weaves/wigs are just a choice and they’re not their hair, yet it seems weaves/wigs are their only choice and their natural hair never sees a day of light. how are such people any different?

  • WhatIThink

    She’s always cooning on that show.

  • Moiiiii

    Geez Louise! What is this?! The year to bash Black women. I’ve had enough. It’s a shame buffoons like Sheryl are allowed to frequent the media and spew their insecurities and nonsense.

  • Candice

    I for one have definitely bought some nappy ass weave to blend with my nappy as hair!

  • Cooningforratings

    She is just another overweight black woman the white media has used for comic relief. She doesn’t even know she is the butt of the joke. Next. Not attractive inside and out this woman.

  • Cooningforratings

    You could say, on the other hand, they don’t want Holly not because she is “safe” but because she is threatening. What is safe for white people are overweight, dark black women. They love that!

  • Cooningforratings

    What natural beauty. She is ugly inside and out. That is her issue right there. Being ugly makes her bitter.

  • Cooningforratings

    Wow. She is ugly inside and out. That is her issue right there. Being ugly makes her bitter.

  • Nic

    Yeah, sad but it happens a lot. I mean, plenty of non-black people mock our looks but many don’t know the stuff we do to each other and just kind of make a judgement call based on their own opinion.
    So I disliked the scene in “Good Hair” where Chris Rock had the Korean beauty supply owners saying no one wanted black hair, b/c when I’ve been in those stores, they always gush over my natural hair (and in general I’ve found a LOT of Asians do).

  • Nic

    Probably appropriate since she seems to respect black women about as much as he does.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    At the beginning, they didn’t want her either as president.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    Every time I hear her, she makes me cringe because of her ignorance and this is a prime example of it.

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    She is one of the most annoying female comedian to me. I swear everytime I hear her voice I cringe.

  • CSV

    This explains those awful, synthetic wigs Sheryl wears.

  • Gayl Elliot

    I didn’t find Sheryl’s comments offensive because she’s a comedian, and many comedian cross the line for a joke. I thought she was just being funny. If we want to get upset about something, let’s get upset about our black men who are not raising their children, and our youth killing each other, and these “reality” shows with black females cussing each other out. That’s what I call self hate. I was fortunate to have both parents in the home, and my father and mother both made me feel beautiful and special. I got my self esteem from two parents at home who loved me.

  • http://twitter.com/cummbubble1 The Thirst is Real (@cummbubble1)

    And still weave will fly off the shelves, at a higher rate even.

  • MiddleM

    Gayl, if you failed to find Sheryl’s comments offensive it only means two things might’ve occurred in your life: You weren’t born Black, or your parents–both of them–actually did a pi**-poor job of raining you!

  • lizzie

    I guess I’ve never understood the idea of keeping a lock of hair, of any kind. My mom did and I thought it was creepy. But, to each their own.

    That said… I’m a white/latina mom with half-black daughters (they call themselves Native Gerblaxican) and find the comments incredibly hurtful. On my Mexican side, the comparison was about how dark someone’s hair was – the darker the better. But comparisons always hurt someone (I have lighter hair, so, mine wasn’t really up to standards – but I like my hair – so keep your comparisons to yourself). My girls have entirely different hair textures and colors – and it’s awful to think that someone would only want to save one type of hair. They’re both beautiful inside and out, in their own unique ways. Isn’t that part of what makes people beautiful? Their individuality?

    I heard once that blaming someone for acting out their oppression is, in itself, an act of oppression. To an extent, that may be right. So, maybe what some comments have said is right, she’s acting out her own internalized oppression. But that doesn’t give someone license to stigmatize the looks of whole groups of people.

    But grown folks have GOT to be more careful with the messages we send to our children. And it can’t just be the black woman on the panel that should speak up – every woman (and man) has an obligation to make it better for the next generation. Our children, especially our daughters, have enough to deal with, without adding on misguided dislike of their own bodies and faces and hair taught to them by adults.

    I get that she’s a comedian…but can’t we come to some kind of understanding that keeps children out of the punchlines?

  • Kathy

    When I viewed the tape of Sheryl Underwoods comments about natural hair made on national tv I felt like a kid at the playground whose best friend was being called names by a bully while everyone else around laughed and pointed and I stood still feeling helpless that I could not defend my friend against a gang of bullies. As Sheryl, along with The Talk’s hosts ,including, Aisha Tyler a black woman, plus hundreds of audience members laughed, I felt they were laughing at me. Sheryl was it that important for you to get a laugh that you had to add to the already hundreds of negative stereotypes out there about black people? The other day while on line at Target a young white child pointed to the O magazine cover with Oprahs exaggerated Afro and she kept laughing and pointing at it saying mommy look at her hair. After saying it one too many times her parents shushed her. I did not like Oprahs magazine cover because it was kind of silly and mocking. I’ve always loved my hair and love it even more since I’ve gone natural. All the strides that natural hair bloggers and vloggers have made in helping naturals to love their hair have been pushed back a few steps by Sheryl’s stupid comments and possibly oprahs ridiculous magazine cover (she could have found a better way to represent her natural afro) Naturals of course will always love our hair but we’d prefer not to have people looking at us differently because we choose to keep it that way. I’m not going to lose sleep over it but I’m also not giving Ms Underwood a pass on this because she can apologize but she can’t erase the noise of hundreds of people laughing at our nasty hair.
    As an aside Ms Underwood is not especially attractive-and this is not something I’m saying-its by her own admission that’s why she’s always making jokes about her looks. But just because she does that to herself does not give her permission to speak for hundreds of thousands of natural haired women who happen to love themselves and their hair.

  • http://gravatar.com/emthe Emthe

    You may possibly be right. I don’t have black hair and I’ve never had to deal with it. But here’s the deal… I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. The beautiful braids and the fabulous twists- I’m truly jealous. I’ve never understood why people disrespect natural hair.If I could switch, I would. (Granted, because I’ve never had to deal with its upkeep I believe you, Chanela17, that I would be in tears. But hopefully with some practice my hair would love me as much as I love it.)

  • http://ajoyner.tumblr.com April

    I actually love Oprah’s Afro wig on that cover. Some people don’t care for certain hairstyles–that’s fine–but I wonder if that little girl would laugh and point at a cover with a white celebrity with neon hair (which, IMO, is just as outré). Somehow I doubt it. The child’s reaction had nothing to do with Oprah’s hair being so outrageous–it’s from the attitudes she’s picked up from other people. I agree with 99% of your comment, but I’m a bit wary of naturals attempting to police other naturals on what an “acceptable” representation of natural hair should be.

  • Acocoprncess

    Well said….

  • Acocoprncess

    The points you make about absentee fathers and several other things that plague our communities are valid but that doesn’t take away from Sheryl’s offensive comments and the audience to which she delivered the punch line to. Self hate is a mother f&*ker but what’s worse is when you push your own insecurities on others and have a world wide platform to do so. You were blessed to have two parents to bolster your self esteem. Lets stand up for those little black boys and girls who aren’t able to say the same. Lets be the ones to tell them that they are beautiful and that they matter. Sheryl was out of line and I for one will not make an excuse for her.

  • Acocoprncess

    What Sheryl said is definitely out of line but lets not stoop to calling her “ugly”. Even if the words that came out of her mouth were ugly. She’s still a sister and bashing her physical features isn’t nice. Believe me I’m not trying to preach to you cause I thought the same thing but I had to remind myself that tearing her down is not the way either. It’s obvious she suffers from self hate. I wonder if it’s because she’s been told all of her life that she was “ugly”?

  • http://gravatar.com/islandista Islandista

    “How each curl manifests differently and is a staunch individualist.”
    This!
    Between Sheryl Underwood’s comments and the Hampton U Business school and that black charter school in Tulsa trying to break that little girl’s spirit, I am so tired and fed up with the self-hatred right now.

    Why are we still here? Why? Why? In 2013?

    There was nothing funny about her comments. They were hurtful, they were cruel and they implied…no said outright that “curly, nappy, beady” hair is somehow lesser than the “beautiful, long, “silky stuff.”

  • mochachick10

    “Deal with” black hair? See therein lies the problem. “Deal with” has such negative connotations as if we have to cope with something less than.

    I absolutely LOVE my hair. I can be tame curly or wild curly/frizzy, twisted, braided or even straight (although I haven’t straightened in well over a year)/ These different styles can be obtained all within the span of a week. I LOVE the versatility and never “deal with” my hair, but instead revel in its awesomeness.

  • Helen

    Well I suppose all unpopular posts are censored and deleted?

  • Me27

    She sounds like uncle ruckus

  • JiaZi

    Wow, Underwood’s comments seriously weren’t funny. I’m white and I’ve never styled black hair, but I see nothing less valuable or attractive about it. Beauty comes in many different forms. I’d love to see more images of African-American beauty on magazine covers and in Hollywood, including natural black hair, not just straightened black hair. Our American beauty standard is way too limited and excludes too many of us.

    Shame on Gilbert and all those in the audience for laughing. I see all women as my sisters and that’s not cool to be dissing some of them.

  • http://fitblackchic.blogspot.com Lynaya

    Why do black people keep acting as if Jim Crow wasn’t effective? When a people is mentally enslaved…the consequences are far reaching! I think Sheryl was wrong but she was definitely saying what MANY black people feel. I wasn’t surprised. My real surprise was Aisha Tyler’s uncomfortable smirk. She knew it was wrong yet she cosigned. Let’s have THAT conversation….

  • Malian

    Aunt Jemima. Yessah Boss, We love yo hair, And we hates our own. Funny thing. Here real GENETIC hair… Is Nappy.
    Racism is ROOTED deep in her worthless psyche

  • http://gravatar.com/dginki Kim

    Why are you so worried about why someone mentioned anything about Aisha’s husband? Some of you have deep issues that actually kill the community. SMDH. Death to the Spirit and death to the Soul.

  • http://gravatar.com/dginki Kim

    @Anthony, why would we care if White woman are laughing at us. White woman are not really that important to us. They may be to you, but not us. Stop with the nonsense. If you want to make a point to Black woman, leave everyone else out of it. Who is laughing at Black men?

  • A.M. Dixon

    THANK YOU!!! It’s looks like she stole her hair from a busted Barbie doll…she get’s too close to heat and that thing is going to melt to her head like a football helmet.

  • Gayla Cold

    Yet you still came out gay…………………

  • Gayla Cold

    She’s ugly! Straight up. Her month looks like a separate entity.

  • http://gravatar.com/asbaruti asbaruti

    worthless is giving her too much credit.

  • Fig

    Who cares? Some lady I don’t know doesn’t like nappy hair. Don’t watch the damn show. But the junior psychologists are out in full force about how much she hates herself. Maybe she doesn’t. She has the right to be who she is, and we must give her that freedom. Unless Black people stop demanding we all think alike, we will be stuck talking the same shit, different day.

    And what was Aisha supposed to do, throw down with her on network time?

    Really we need to stop crying about this hair shit. I can bring you 15 white women I know right now who color and/or straighten their hair. Do they hate themselves because they change what comes out of their head?

    My Black pride is based on other things.

  • Lee

    What was Aisha supposed to do, throw down with her in the middle of the show?On airtime that costs millions of dollars? Most of yall are brain dead, and have no idea what business is like if you think that should have happened.

    You are fixated on hair and believe that what a person does with it is indicative of whether or not they hate themselves. As my sister friend who works in a high-end Madison Ave Salon says, “If only Black women knew the shit white woman do to their hair.”

    Boo hoo, some stupid comedian doesn’t like my hair it affects mu self-esteem cause she ain’t on the natural train! That’s psychotic. Let’s worry about how the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate affects our self-esteem first. Screw hair.

  • Patricia

    FINALLY!! I am so sick and tired of hearing black women (by the way I too am a black woman) define themselves by their hair. I have heard women have hours of conversation on the subject! I have had friends who have gone natural sit and talk about this decision and how life changing it was and how it has impacted their lives. Keep in mind couple of them were dating married men, had their lives in all manner of chaos, their children had all manner of issues etc….but their hair was natural so all was right with the world! Are you kidding me?? I am NOT my hair! My hair is like an accessory to me just like an outfit or a piece of jewelry etc…I cannot for the life of me understand how so much emphasis can be place on having “natural” hair all the while making life altering decisions that negatively impact their lives and the lives of their children. That is not to say this is the case with ALL women I’m just saying that in 2013 in these trying times that something so superficial as hair styling is becoming such a speaking point. Wow!

  • MrsBey

    This comment will only hurt the ones who hear it but don’t really understand it, they will remember it and pass it on to others, some will be hurt, Others will not care, Some of us will have to mend the structure that hase been built, that’s being built. Words have Power!

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