We have all had to deal with people who might smile in our faces but talk trash about us behind our backs. It’s hard to confront these people because it’s rare that you actually have any evidence of them talking badly about you. But what if you did? What if you knew they had laughed about you? Dismissed you like you weren’t worthy or deserving? How would you respond and react? Sheryl Underwood, co-host of The Talk on CBS shared a powerful story this week during their “Talk Secrets” segment.
Underwood began the story by describing how she was offered the job to fill Mo’Nique’s spot in the next The Queens Of Comedy, comedy concert. The producers had chosen Underwood to join the returning comediennes Sommore, Adele Givens and Laura Hayes.
Underwood said there was planned conference call with the cast to discuss the project. Underwood thought she was dialing in early, but to her surprise found the other comediennes already on the call and evidently they had no clue she had joined. Underwood explained, “I hear Sommore, Adele Givens and Laura Hayes talking about me on the call. I hear discussions about my appearance, about my ability, ‘why is she going to be a part?” Underwood admitted that she was shocked and hurt, too shocked to even unmute the phone and let them know she could hear them. Underwood used some special, choice words though to describe her initial reaction.
Underwood stayed on the call with her phone on mute because, “rarely would we hear someone talking about us and saying what they truly feel about us.” Instead of stopping the women, she took notes on what they had to say. “After hearing this, I was bruised, but I wasn’t broken,” Underwood called the producer and said, “I don’t think this is going to be a great fit for me, but I hope these women will go on and do great things.”
Underwood said until the moment she revealed the secret on air, the other women never knew she was on the call; and that years after the call occurred she worked with the two of the comediennes (Givens and Hayes) and saw Sommore at public events. Underwood said she decided instead of being angry and vengeful to take the truth of what they said to make herself an even better person. She concluded with, “I know you’re probably thinking, why am I saying this now… because I’m right where I belong.” Of course tears flowed, co-host Aisha Tyler got up to give Underwood a hug, and Underwood thanked the comediennes because their honesty not only made her better, but took her to a better place.
Listen here – that is a run around the church house, shout worthy testimony. Watching the video will give you chills and you might get the urge to shed a thug tear or two.
Now admittedly, I’ve never been an Underwood fan. I often find her to be too loud, too brash, too much. But I have always respected her hustle and that she has taken the aspects of herself that people have probably teased her about her whole life, turned it upside and inside out until she could use it to her advantage, and then let it propel her to stardom.
I can only imagine the pain Underwood must have felt hearing women who may not have been her friends, but were her professional contemporaries, tearing her apart and breaking her down. The fact that she was able to remain silent in that situation speaks volumes. The fact that Underwood could even tell the producer that she wished great things for the other women means that she could see beyond that moment and that she was looking at a bigger picture.
Underwood handled that situation with a grace that is both commendable and enviable. I can’t say I wouldn’t have unmuted that phone and been like (Biggie Smalls voice), “who y’all talkin to?!” My spirit says, I would have cussed all of them out and ended with, “I didn’t want to be part of y’all little funky show anyway.” However, Underwood truly demonstrated the strength it takes to rise above it all, to take the higher road, and trust that things will work out for your good in the end.
Kudos and much respect to Underwood because her story and the way she walked it out was the epitome of letting your haters be your motivators.
Watch the full video below.
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.