Amanda McKnight | Staff Writer 

Comedian Sheryl Underwood recently came under fire for comments she made vilifying natural “afro” hair. On the show The Talk, on which Underwood is one of five hosts, there was a conversation about how Heidi Klum, supermodel and TV host, saves her children’s hair. Klum was famously married to singer Seal for a number of years, and their children have long, naturally curly hair.

The topic was unusual things people save, but Underwood stopped the conversation with “I’m sorry, but why would you save a afro?” Her question was met with raucous laughter by the audience and other co-hosts.

“You never see us at the hair place saying, ‘Listen what I need is this curly, nappy beady hair,’” Underwood continued. “That just seems nasty.”

As the conversation continued, co-host Sarah Gilbert said that she, too, has saved her children’s hair, but Underwood interrupted.

“ [That hair] is probably some long, beautiful, long, silky stuff,” Underwood replied. “That’s not what a afro is.”

Since the airing of the show on Aug. 30, Underwood has been blasted, especially on social media. Most of the tweets criticized Underwood for degrading “afro” hair in front of her mostly white audience. The outraged Twitter users pointed out that because she is the former Grand Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and also has worn her hair in natural hairstyles, she should be more sensitive.

After the intense backlash, Underwood has been making media rounds, trying to appease people with interviews on radio stations and with journalists.

Underwood was interviewed by natural-hair guru and licensed psychotherapist Curly Nikki and was very candid, apologizing for her comments that may have offended those within the Black community. On Sept. 4, Underwood was interviewed on The Steve Harvey Morning Show. “I apologize for my recent attempt at humor that missed the target and stabbed my people in the heart,” she said.

Not a week after Underwood’s comments, FOX 23 in Tulsa Oklahoma reported that Tiana Parker recently changed schools due to her school’s policy against “fad” hairstyles. Parker is a 7-year-old who attended Deborah Brown Community School, and according to the school’s dress code, “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” Again, outrage over this policy at a school founded and run by a board of African-American  educators came under fire in the media and news outlets.

Afros and dreadlocks have been a part of the Black experience for hundreds of years, so calling them “faddish” have many up in arms. The story has made it to news outlets such as The Huffington Post and CNN, as well as overseas in the Daily Mail. On Sept. 7, on her MSNBC news show, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry wrote an open letter to Parker, “…your beauty and choices are limitless, dear Tiana. So your old school might want to revamp its policy, because instead of enforcing a uniform policy for students, it reinforces stereotypes and undermines a student’s sense of self.”

Terrance Parker, Tiana’s father and a barber in the Tulsa area, told FOX 23, “I take pride in my kids looking nice.”  Parker has since started classes at her new school.

Deborah Brown Community School has not responded to interview requests for this story.

Watch Sheryl Underwood’s comments on natural hair below: 

View Tiana Parker’s story below: