“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’s very sensitive to us: our hair.”
In what could be considered to be a Paula Deen moment for Underwood, the fallout from this classic, stereotyped Uncle Tom, black inferiority, white, European, superior standards of beauty kind of ideology is usually swift and inevitable, and this occasion was no different as social media has been illuminated with the chatter of blowback against Underwood’s alleged attempt at humor.
And one of the main reasons for such fierce opposition to Underwood’s comments can be found in her apology, when she said that she was sorry for joking about something as “sensitive to us” as “our hair.”
Whether Underwood knows it or not, within her apology she just admitted that she, as a black woman, fully understands the seriousness of hair value in the black community in regard to black women, which suggest that she knew all along that her comments could easily miss the comedic mark—leaving a bitter, betrayed taste in the mouths of many in the black community, which leaves many to wonder if she was being funny or honest.
For example, Director of Project Islamic Hope, Najee Ali, along with many other black activists, called for an immediate apology from Underwood and quickly responded to her statements saying:
“Underwood essentially spit in the face of every African American who wears their hair naturally. She unfortunately is obviously filled with self-hate. Beauty comes in all shades and hair texture.”
“Our coalition isn’t going to allow Underwood or anyone to mock and ridicule African Americans who choose to wear their hair naturally. Were demanding a public apology from Underwood to those that were offended by her disparaging remarks.”
Underwood got into trouble during a discussion about why Heidi Klum chooses to save her children’s hair whenever she shaves down their Afros.
“Why would you save Afro hair? You can’t weave in 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!"
Then co-host Sarah Gilbert (a white woman) admitted that she saves her children’s hair as well, when Underwood immediately interrupted her by saying that it (Gilbert's children's hair) was “probably some beautiful, long silky stuff,” as the other co-hosts and the audience laughed with glee, which is basically just as appalling as Underwood’s degrading comments about natural, nappy, African-American hair.
And what about Underwood’s African-American co-host Aisha Tyler, who simply sat back in a sheepish silence with some “go along to get along” smile of appeasement plastered on her face?
And on the opposite side of Underwood’s claim that blacks want no part of nappy, Afro hair sits a hair weave/good hair industry that is rumored to be around $9 billion a year, and that is almost exclusively engulfed in black, female money.
In fact, madamenoire.com estimates that “black women spend half of a trillion dollars on hair care and weaves.”
So actually, Underwood is correct in her assessment of the value of black hair in this country, but she was forced to apologize for saying it, because the way that she espoused it brazenly admitted to the world that African-American women in general are willing to pay whatever price is necessary so they can purchase the good hair (straight, Caucasian-like hair) that white, Caucasian women in general acquire naturally from God or from DNA depending on one's religious faith.
Now has there ever been a more unnerving case made in favor of white supremacy?