Sheryl Underwood is sharing her thoughts on her heated discussion with co-host Sharon Osbourne about racism on “The Talk” this week.
It all started when Osbourne came to the defense of friend, Piers Morgan, who quit “Good Morning Britain” after outrage over comments he made about Meghan Markle in the wake of her and Prince Harry being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.
“Once you say, ‘I stand by my friend,’ then people think you must agree with what he is saying,” Underwood told Osbourne, adding, “I’m talking to a woman I believe is my friend and I don’t want anybody here to watch this and think we are attacking you for being racist.”
Osbourne then said, “I think it’s too late.”
Underwood joined Steve Harvey’s radio show on Friday, with Harvey praising her for the grace under pressure she showed during the contentious conversation.
“I think that this is about discipline,” Underwood explained. “It’s about restraint… today was my day, and I accept the blessing of the lesson.”
She also called out the comments that her “The Talk” co-host made that she found particularly rankling, specifically when Osbourne said that Morgan’s remarks about Markle weren’t about race.
“I said ‘yes it is, it’s about her being Black and that’s why [Morgan] is treating her like that. I love you, but you’re wrong for that right there,'” she said.
According to Underwood, she was blindsided by the direction the conversation took. Noting that’s she’d been on “The Talk” for a decade, Underwood admitted that she assumed discussing Morgan’s remarks about Markle would be like any other conversation on the show.
“I never thought in my mind what was going to happen, that this was going to go left like this,” she said. “I thought we were just going to have a conversation.”
Harvey chimed in, explaining that people who haven’t been the victims of racism may mean well, but often don’t realize when they’re exhibiting behaviour that those who have would deem racist.
“The problem with solving racism is when you don’t know what you’re doing is racist,” he told Underwood.
“I just wanted to be an example, for people who are just working a regular old job, that had to compose themselves,” said Underwood of how she chose to handle the situation, adding, “I could have messed it up, couldn’t I?”
In addition, Underwood also addressed what she described as her “altercation” with Osbourne on her podcast.
She reiterated that she hoped the way she handled herself during the discussion would inspire others to to use the same level of “restraint” if they find themselves in a similar situation, describing Osbourne as “a friend” still.
“If you love your friend, you’re gonna love your friend even when your friend’s wrong,” she explained.
Discussing the tsunami of support she’s received, Underwood said, “I’m the catalyst for the bigger discussion,” which is “do you not see what this is about?”
She also reiterated that she’d been caught off guard. “I really didn’t realize it was jumping off. I thought we were having a conversation like we normally do. But then I got a feeling that, wait a minute, this ain’t what it usually is,” she said. “I also got another feeling of, okay Sheryl, this is time for you to step up into the leadership position… this is time for you to show what you’re made of — and in a personal way. No matter what somebody says about you, I can show you something better than I can tell you.”