I don’t do many post like this, but I should.
Early this week I peeped this Mediaite.com article about comedienne, actress and cohost of The Talk, Sheryl Underwood, making jokes about the extreme lack of desirability of “afro hair”. The topic was supermodel Heidi Klum‘s confession that she saves her son’s “big afro” hair after it’s cut off, to which Underwood questions “Why would you save afro hair?”. She goes on to make deprecating jokes about afro textured hair, including mentioning that you can’t weave afro hair and you’ll “never see us at the hair place going ‘Look, here, what I need here is, I need those curly, nappy beads…That just seems nasty.”
Well, here you go:
Oh Sheryl Sheryl … ugh … oh boy. I’m not sure what’s harder to stomach, Sheryl’s comments or the palpable discomfort of cohost Aisha Tyler sitting at the table staring darts through Sheryl as she shucks and jives all over her own self worth. BIG OLE SIGH.
Apparently Sheryl done got her a** handed to her by the social media lynch mob so that’s not the route I’m gonna take. What I will say is when I first saw this video a couple days ago I initially felt annoyed by her ignorance, then thought “I would go ask for afro hair weaved in before I asked for straight hair, what does she know?” and ultimately I just felt sorry for her and the obvious and oblivious self-hate.
Since then, many articles have been written about this topic.
Here is Patrice of Afrobella.com’s take on it: How Do You Reach Someone Like Sheryl Underwood?
Here is Nikki of CurlyNikki’com’s interview with Sheryl: On the Couch with Sheryl Underwood – She Explains Natural Hair Remarks
My thing is this: what she said was dumb indeed, and she’s learning a valuable lesson right now unfortunately in a really big ole public way. We all say unfortunate things at times, so in that way I have extreme compassion for her current experience being burned by the FIYA. However, even with my miniature public platform I realize there is responsibility with influence, and I hope she learns to clarify her thoughts and detangle the kinks in her beliefs (see what I did there?). What she represented that day was a black woman who loathed, mocked, and demeaned who she is and perpetuated a social construct that natural hair bloggers and vloggers like myself are striving so hard to deconstruct. Ugh man.
In closing I will say this: Sheryl, if you happen to read this, I would go to the salon and ask them to weave in “afro hair” and need the “curly, nappy” but probably wouldn’t call them “beads” like you did. I also still have hair from my black son’s first haircut in a zip lock bag in his hospital folder from the NICU. You see, they were about to do brain surgery 4 days after he was born so when they shaved his head I kept his “afro hair”.
What are your thoughts on Sheryl’s comments and this whole thing? Let me know below.
p.s. Do you think Sheryl should apologize on the show she made the comment on, The Talk?