Metamucil has enlisted The Talk co-host Sheryl Underwood to not only help spread the word on the benefits of using the fiber supplement once a day for 14 days, but to also help historically Black colleges and universities. For Black History Month, the Procter & Gamble brand specifically wanted to target HBCUs, institutions Underwood has publicly supported.
Although the University of Illinois graduate didn’t attend an HBCU, she is the international president of the Greek letter sorority, Zeta Phi Beta. She knows the role that these schools played in the formation and success of her sorority, as well as other Greek letter organizations. Not to mention, she knows that now more than ever, HBCUs need financial support.
Though the two-week challenge has neared its February 28 finale, Underwood is still urging people to sign up for the dual benefit of improving their health while supporting their favorite HBCU. When you give your name, zipcode and birthday to get a coupon for the product, you also get to vote for your favorite school. The institution that receives the most votes wins $10,000.
We spoke with Underwood about how Metamucil has aided in her health journey, and the importance of getting involved to help HBCUs. And in true candid Sheryl Underwood fashion, the conversation shifted to everything from pop culture to politics.
MadameNoire: Why did you decide to join Metamucil for this two-week challenge?
Sheryl Underwood: I like to engage products that you normally don’t see somebody jazzy and cool like me engaging in; but we need fiber! Some celebrities don’t want to promote something like Metamucil; but why not? If it helps people feel better, why not? Do it and make it hip! And won’t it be something to see everybody in the hood using Metamucil? Getting their fiber, feeling good physically, mentally, and spiritually.
You’ve been an advocate for HBCUs for quite some time, even shouting them out on your radio show. Why do you think it’s important for a large companies like Procter & Gamble to get involved with HBCUs?
I believe that once we show these large companies that it is mutually beneficial for them to engage HBCUs, maybe we can get them to do more. We want to make sure we do all we can do to keep our historically Black colleges and universities alive. I didn’t go to one; but once I joined Zeta Phi Beta and got to see the chapters on the HBCU campuses, I knew that I had to advance higher education and work with companies that were trying to do that.
What are some changes you’ve seen from using Metamucil?
Using Metamucil, I feel lighter and have a lot more energy. Overall, I just feel better; and you can make it different ways. I like trying different stuff. I’ve even mixed mine with different things like ice cream and made dreamsicles. I have friends who mix it with orange juice, and some who even bake it into stuff.
There are many celebrities endorsing brands, with companies assuming that their fans trust what they’re saying. You’ve built your own community of supporters who find you authentic and trustworthy, something that I’m assuming attracted Metamucil to you. Have you been intentional in building your brand?
I’m glad you said that. I knew I was going to be in the entertainment industry, even as a child; but along the way I told myself that I would be sincere, authentic, and trustworthy. Even when I’ve stumbled and made not-so-good comments like the one I made about natural hair, I’ve apologized because I work hard to serve my community. I’m intentional about building honest and sincere relationships.
You’re referring to the comments you made on The Talk, when you said not-so-nice things about nappy hair, right? You publicly apologized and admitted that you were joking, but do you regret saying it?
I definitely regret it. When that happened…when I said that… I was thinking, “Damn, that’s not what I meant to say.” And I knew I needed to apologize. I asked my brother Steve Harvey if I could come on his show to apologize because I wanted everyone in my community to know that I didn’t mean it in that way. I know there are some people that will just never forgive me.
Speaking of your good friend Steve Harvey, he’s also come under fire for comments he made when interviewing Mo’Nique on his show. During the interview, he suggested that she should put integrity to the side and focus on getting money. Steve has since said he misspoke. How do you feel about his comments?
Steve was trying to help Mo’Nique and he ended up looking worse. He was trying to say, if you have people who are depending on you, you can’t mess up your money that easy. I get it. I have people depending on me with my company and my nonprofit. So I can’t mess up this CBS and Metamucil money, because I use it to fund other things that help people.
If Mo’Nique was coming at Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and the Netflix folks like she was coming at Steve on his own show, I would have told her no, too. You have to look at it like this: If everyone has a problem with you, how are they all the problem? It doesn’t make sense.
Let’s shift to politics a little, because you’ve been very vocal about your disdain for the current president; but you are a proud Republican. Have you received a lot of backlash for your political affiliation? I should note, you did back Hillary Clinton and voted for President Obama.
That’s right. I’m a Republican and even got the call to meet Trump at the Trump Tower, but I was like “No, don’t call me. I don’t want to do it.” Because I know how people can try to use Black people for props. See I’m old-school. I became a Republican when the party was trying to advance the agendas of Black people, but I didn’t endorse Trump. I actually helped campaign for Hillary. I just want us as Black people to be informed voters.
We are preparing to do town hall meetings all across the country in small markets. I think that our communities need to understand the power and the importance of the census, and we’re trying to get the non-voters to the poll.
How has being a co-host on The Talk elevated your platform?
The Talk is doing amazing. I just love the fact that Eve is now a co-host. No other daytime talk show has a rap icon. I love that we can reach so many people. All of the hosts bring something different to the show. I love the fact that some dudes will come up to me during my comedy shows and say, “Hey, I was watching your show with my grandma the other day.” I like that. Daytime isn’t where your career dies, it’s where your career can flourish. I’ve been blessed to be able to do a lot of other things because of it. That CBS and Metamucil money is how I finance my other projects.
What are some of the other projects you’re working on?
I have my own radio show, Sheryl Underwood Radio, where we do a show five days a week. We do a hip-hop show, a late-night show, and a gospel show. I have 340 U.S affiliates, 17 international affiliates, and 22 HBCU affiliates. And at the end of my radio show, I shout out HBCUs. I’ve made it my mission to use my platform for good.
You’ve been in the industry for well over two decades, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. What motivates you to keep creating opportunities for yourself and others?
When my husband died, I thought, God is trying to tell me something. When I started gaining more notoriety, I knew that I wanted to do more to help people. If I can empower people while I’m entertaining, I’m doing something good. So when I meet God and he’s like, “Let me talk to you about all of that Vodka and Ciroc,” He’ll also see that I did some good and He’ll say, “Okay, come on in, Sheryl.”
There is still time to sign up for the Metamucil Challenge and vote for your favorite HBCU. For more information, visit the website.