In what The Talk‘s Sheryl Underwood promised would be an episode of the CBS talk show “unlike any other,” the co-host spoke candidly about the March 10 on-air discussion about racism with Sharon Osbourne that led to Osbourne’s departure from the show.
Underwood said that during the heated debate last month, she feared being perceived as “the Angry Black Woman,” a feeling that was particularly sharp when Osbourne insisted that Underwood not cry.
Recalling her emotions from that moment, Underwood said, “I’m not tearing up because I hurt your feeling or want some symphony, I’m crying because I have to restrain myself.” Women, particularly Black women, she said, are constantly being told, “Don’t express your emotions on a job,” and Osbourne’s on-air command was an example.
“To be told you can’t do something,” Underwood said, “I’m a grown-ass woman, but you have to suppress that.”
Today’s entire episode of The Talk was devoted to the topic of racism and, in particular, the March 10 episode. The discussion among co-hosts Underwood, Carrie Ann Inaba, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth was moderated by diversity expert Dr. Donald E. Grant.
Underwood also said that she had not been in contact with Osbourne since the episode, though Osbourne apparently had texted her. Underwood, who described Osbourne as a friend, said she did not respond to the texts because the incident was under an internal CBS investigation.
Welteroth, a Black woman, recalled her own feelings as she observed the Underwood-Osbourne exchange, saying she felt that the “two Black women were walking the same tightrope that Black women everywhere have to walk in the workplace.”
The March 10 heated debate was prompted by Osbourne’s defense of her friend Piers Morgan, who had been accused of racism for comments he made about Megan Markle. “I feel like I’m about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is racist, so that makes me a racist,” Osbourne said, before asking Underwood to be precise about how Morgan has been racist. At one point, as Underwood was attempting to state her viewpoint, Osbourne snapped, “Don’t you dare cry.”
Welteroth said she believed Osbourne “was not listening and went off the rails into disrespect.”
Both Welteroth and Underwood disputed social media accusations that they had somehow conspired to “attack” Osbourne. “That is absolutely, categorically false,” Welteroth said.
“What you saw were two women who were maintaining their composure, their dignity and their respect every step of the way and were not being heard,” Welteroth said.
Asked what she’d do if she ran into Osbourne, Underwood said, “If she greeted me warmly and sincerely I could give her that back.” She then referenced the poet Maya Angelou’s quote “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Host Sheryl Underwood shares a message from backstage as “The Talk” returns today. Please join us for a very important hour where we discuss openly what happened and how we hope to move forward. pic.twitter.com/ltq0a3iI51
— The Talk (@TheTalkCBS) April 12, 2021