*Two years ago, “The Talk” co-host Sheryl Underwood disparaged natural hair while trying to joke about Heidi Klum saving her biracial children’s “afro hair” – and promptly got dragged on social media, including being labeled an “Uncle Tom” and a “coon.”
“I was [called] all kinds of different things,” the comedian said, addressing the backlash this week on The Talk. “[But] I can understand that kind of language being used because people were hurt. I made a big mistake.”
She said the whole experience prompted her to take a year to reevaluate her view.
“I cut my hair off. I cut the perm out,” she revealed to the audience. “I still wear wigs because I like variety, but what I really wanted to do was engage women.”
“I think that if you hide behind something then you are a coward,” she continued.
“And I wanted to show that I was strong enough to take the truth about what people were saying.”
Within days of her 2013 remarks, Underwood used her slot on The Steve Harvey Morning Show to issue a formal apology. This week, she apologized again – on live television.
“I made some statements that were not only wrong, they hurt our community,” she said earlier this week on The Talk. “In my comments and trying to explain, [which] was juxtaposed against statements that were very, very hurtful—and to come out of the mouth of a very proud black woman—I was wrong, and I wanted to take the time to apologize, especially in the forum that this discussion occurred.”
Underwood said she decided to write a letter to help her better focus her apology, which co-host Julie Chen read aloud.
“I want to apologize for my recent attempt at humor that missed the target and hit my people squarely in the heart,” Chen read to the audience. “To all of you, I say I’m very sorry for my failed attempt at humor surrounding something that is very sensitive to us: our hair.”
Underwood added, “There is a responsibility to being on TV. There’s a cultural responsibility. The way we got images out there—there’s no need for me to do something that causes more damage to us.”
Therefore, she concludes, “In this network and in this chair, I wanted to say that I am so sorry to my community and my people for hurting you and I’m asking you for forgiveness and I will work hard to make it better.”
And to prove it, she adds, “I’m gonna wear my hair like this for the rest of the show.”