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'The Talk' returns: Sheryl Underwood discusses Sharon Osbourne 'trauma' in 'race and healing' episode

Charles Trepany, USA TODAY
·5 min read

"The Talk" returned on Monday after a heated on-air discussion about racism led to a month-long hiatus and the departure of host Sharon Osbourne.

Monday's show brought hosts Sheryl Underwood, Carrie Ann Inaba, Amanda Kloots and Elaine Welteroth back together to discuss the March 10 episode and to talk "race and healing" with diversity, equity, inclusion and justice advocate Donald Grant as well as trauma therapist and life coach Anita Phillips.

Grant began asking Underwood about the tense conversation with Osbourne, saying he saw her as "a composed, clear, confident woman" but wanted to know how she was feeling at the time.

"I didn't want to escalate things with Sharon because I thought I was having a conversation with a friend, but also I knew I had to be an example for others to follow because I didn't want to be perceived as the angry black woman," Underwood said. "And that really scared me. I didn't want to be that. I wanted to remain calm and focused. It is difficult to go back to that day because I just feel the trauma. I feel fearful a little apprehensive."

Sheryl Underwood speaks during a Nov. 10, 2020, episode of "The Talk."
Sheryl Underwood speaks during a Nov. 10, 2020, episode of "The Talk."

Underwood also addressed Osbourne ordering her not to cry.

"What was more striking was being told, 'Don't you cry.' I'm not tearing up because you've hurt me or I want some sympathy. I'm tearing up because I have to restrain that because if I had responded then I would have been the angry black woman," she said.

The hosts cleared up some "false narratives" they've seen in the media since the exchange, including whether Underwood and Osbourne have communicated since the episode.

"I have not spoken to and do not have any phone calls, missed or received, that I can find in my phone, but there were text messages sent to me," Underwood said. She said she didn't address the text messages, "because I didn't know if you were supposed to communicate or not communicate while there's an internal investigation," which CBS was conducting at the time.

Underwood also addressed a common question: What would she do if she saw Osbourne?

"If she greeted me warmly and sincerely I would give her that (back) because we’ve been on this show together for 10 years," she said. "When you friends with somebody, you stay friends."

Sharon Osbourne leaves 'The Talk' following heated racism discussion; Piers Morgan weighs in

Welteroth shared that she felt Piers Morgan sent a problematic message to women — specifically women of color — when he dismissed Duchess Meghan's comments in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"I think when you deny a woman or a woman of color their truth and their experiences, you're not just denying them, you're denying that ofevery woman and woman of color who sees themselves in this person’s story," she said.

Welteroth, who praised Underwood for her "strength and willpower" in handling the conversation with Osbourne, said she joined in that day trying to find "common ground."

Sharon Osbourne is pictured during a Feb. 19, 2021, episode of "The Talk."
Sharon Osbourne is pictured during a Feb. 19, 2021, episode of "The Talk."

"And I didn't feel that I was heard," she said. "I was hoping to steer the conversation away from a debate about Who's racist? Who's not? What's racist? What's not? And to talk about what does it mean to be anti-racist, because that's a more productive conversation."

The rest of the show was dedicated to a conversation with Grant and Phillips, who offered resources to address anti-racism, white privilege, discussing racism with friends and family, and healing from traumatizing events.

The episode was the first since Osbourne and Underwood's controversial discussion about Morgan and Duchess Meghan.

During the exchange, Osbourne said she felt she was "about to be put in the electric chair because I have a friend who many people think is a racist and that makes me a racist." She was referring to Morgan, her former "America's Got Talent" co-judge, who said he didn't "believe a word" of Meghan and Prince Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

When Underwood asked what she would say to people who felt it was racist to defend Morgan's comments, Osbourne replied: "For me, at 68 years of age to have to turn around and say 'I ain't racist' – what's it got to do with me? How could I be racist about anybody? How could I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?"

Underwood sent the show to commercial as Osbourne continued speaking over her. Upon returning, Osbourne again prodded Underwood to "educate me," adding, "Don't try and cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me."

Sharon Osbourne leaves 'The Talk' following heated racism discussion; Piers Morgan weighs in

The next day on Twitter, Osbourne apologized to "to anyone of color that I offended and/or to anyone that feels confused or let down by what I said." "The Talk" then went on hiatus while CBS conducted an internal review of the discussion.

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The network extended the talk show's hiatus days later as some of Osbourne's former co-hosts, including Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini accused her of racist behavior. Osbourne claimed on March 16 that she was being set up and sent out as the show's "sacrificial lamb" for defending Morgan.

'The Talk' extends hiatus; Sharon Osbourne says she's 'been set up' after heated exchange

On March 26, the network said in a statement that Osbourne's behavior on the March 10 episode "did not align with our values for a respectful workplace" and that Osbourne decided to leave "The Talk," which she has hosted since 2010.

Morgan tweeted that Osbourne's departure is "an absolute disgrace" and that she was "bullied out of her job for defending me against an invented slur of racism because I don’t believe a liar."

Piers Morgan amps up anti-Meghan Markle rhetoric in interview with Tucker Carlson

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Hannah Yasharoff, Elise Brisco, Amy Haneline

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The Talk': First show after Sharon Osbourne exit, hosts discuss race