Comedian Sheryl Underwood apologized Wednesday for comments she made a day earlier calling African American hair "nappy."
Underwood, who is black, got herself into trouble on CBS's "The Talk" where she was remarking on the fact that model Heidi Klum saves her sons' hair after she shaves their Afros.
"Why would you save Afro hair?" Underwood said on the daytime talk show. "You can't weave Afro hair. You don't never see us at the hair place going: 'Look here, what I need is, I need this curly, nappy, beady hair.' That just seems nasty."
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Co-host Sarah Gilbert then admitted to saving her own children's' hair as well.
"[That] was probably some beautiful, long silky stuff," Underwood responded.
Her comments stirred up a firestorm of backlash online among bloggers, activists, and even civil rights leaders who felt her remarks were racist.
"Underwood essentially spit in the face of every African American who wears their hair naturally," Najee Ali, the director of Project Islamic Hope, said in a statement. "She unfortunately is obviously filled with self hate. Beauty comes in all shades and hair textures. Our coalition isn't going to allow Underwood or anyone to mock and ridicule African Americans who choose to wear their hair naturally. We're demanding a public apology from Underwood to those that were offended by her disparaging remarks."
"Underwood's comments were in poor taste. It's difficult enough giving encouragement to African American women who choose to wear their hair naturally, but Underwood's comments, which were broadcast nationally, were very painful and hurtful to listen to," Paulette Simpson Gibson, president of the NAACP of Compton, Calif., said in a statement.
On Steve Harvey's morning radio show Wednesday, Underwood apologized for her comments.
"I want to apologize for my recent attempt at humor that missed the target and hit my people squarely in the heart," she said. "To all of you I say, I'm very sorry for my failed attempt at humor surrounding something that's very sensitive to us: our hair."
In a separate interview with online hair guru Curly Nikki, Underwood said she fully embraces her "blackness" and meant no offense by the "nappy" remark.
"[It was] a bad juxtaposition of words to imply that our hair is not good
. I made a mistake. I will own up to that mistake. I’m going to talk to God and change the way I articulate things and be more cognizant," she said. "I'm not perfect and I bet if you put a camera on someone all day, they’d eventually say something they’d regret too. I am asking you to forgive me for the statement I made, which to me, is a power only God has, really."
Listen to Underwood's apology below:
Here is a clip of Underwood's original remarks:
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