Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Problem I Have With Sheryl Underwood

By now, I'm sure most women within the natural hair community have heard about Sheryl Underwood's comments on The Talk where she referred to black hair as nasty and not worth saving while the panel discussed Heidi Klum's decision to keep her biracial children's hair after they get a haircut.

I know other bloggers have touched on the issue of self hate because she clearly thinks natural black hair isn't beautiful which may explain the wig on her head, but the issue I have is the fact that she made these comments with a mostly white panel in front of a mostly white audience. 

Would she have made those comments if there were three other black women and one white woman? Would she have made those comments in front of a mostly black audience?

This kind of reminds me of when Mike Epps recently said that his older, dark skinned kids were jealous of the children he has with his new wife, because they are cuter and have good hair. When we hear this kind of hate by our own family members and those within our community, how can we expect mainstream America to portray more positive, beautiful black women on TV, movies and magazines?

It was clear the women found her comments somewhat amusing because they laughed, along with the audience, but it was also clear Aisha Tyler felt uncomfortable. It would have been nice for her to say something in defense of natural, black hair but since she wears her hair in a straightened state, I can't say if she would truly understand how offensive Sheryl's comments were. She also may have wondered if she would have been coming off overly sensitive in front of her mostly white audience by changing the tone of the discussion. 

Long story short, we need to not sell out to be accepted by mainstream America and their standard of beauty. We don't need to make our skin lighter, hair straight, wear wigs and weaves to look like something we are not. We also don't need people like Sheryl Underwood and Mike Epps to degrade our culture and offend our children in an attempt to make jokes.