Self hate is real…
Sheryl Underwood, stand-up comedy star, actress, and co-host of CBS’ totally-not-a-ripoff-of-The View gabfest The Talk, has spent the better part of the Labor Day weekend fending off blistering criticism on Twitter over remarks she made on the show about natural black hair. Discussing supermodel Heidi Klum’s revelation that she saves all of her sons’ shorn hair, Underwood asked “Why would you save afro hair?” and in questioning the utility of the saved hair, observed that “You can’t weave afro hair,” and that “You 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.” The clip first aired about two weeks ago, but when the show re-ran on Friday, Twitter took notice, and hasn’t let up. The Root’s Tracy Clayton collected some of the reactions, and explained the criticism this way:
Upon hearing that Klum saves their hair, Underwood responded, “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.
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.
The idea that blackness is bad by virtue of its not being white, that black people are biologically undesirable and unattractive, is nothing new. Underwood’s comments come from the same sentiment that has had black folks bleaching their skin and white folks lightening us for their magazines and advertisements. That Underwood bashed natural hair from beneath a very heavy-looking wig full of the “beautiful, long, silky stuff” she covets so much is telling.