LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sheryl Underwood dons a bevy of wigs on “The Talk,” but she ditched her wig during Monday’s premiere episode and revealed her natural hair, before launching into an apology for comments she made on the talk show in 2013 disparaging “Afro hair.”
“In Sept. 2013, we had a topic where we talked about Heidi Klum saving her children’s hair, they’re biracial, and saving in a plastic bag,” Underwood told the audience. “I made some statements that were not only wrong, they hurt our community – and when I saw our community, black people are very sensitive about a discussion about our hair.”
She discussed how people reacted to her comments that day and the online backlash – “people said I was an Uncle Tom” – and said she understood that “people were hurt.”
“To come out of the mouth of a very proud black woman — I was wrong. I wanted to take the time to apologize, especially in the forum that this discussion occurred,” she explained of her previous statements.
Julie Chen went on to read a statement from Sheryl, “I want to apologize for my recent attempt at humor that missed the target and hit my people squarely in the heart. 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 said the incident made her fully aware that being a black woman on TV was a cultural responsibility. That inspired Monday’s apology and her own journey towards self-discovery that included talks with influential women in the black community.
“I think that if you hide behind something then you are a coward,” she concluded. “And I wanted to show that I was strong enough to take the truth about what people were saying and, in this network, and in this chair, I wanted to say that I am so sorry to my community and for my people for hurting you and I’m asking you for forgiveness.”
Underwood says she wears wigs because she “likes variety,” but wanted to show her natural hair to send a message during the show.
The apology was featured in the hosts’ “Secret Revealed” series. In the past, Julie Chen has opened up about having plastic surgery to make her eyes appear larger, Sara Gilbert talked about the difficulty of openly addressing her sexuality, Aisha Tyler has revealed her infertility struggles and Sharon Osbourne has admitted to cutting her wrist in what she deemed a “stupid” attempt at proving her love to Ozzy before they were married.
Watch the full clip of Sheryl Underwood’s apology here.