Cyndi Lauper defends friend Sharon Osbourne: ‘I do not believe she is racist’

Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper at the Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony at the Pantages Theater on April 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA
In the last two weeks we have been reminded of how vile and racist Sharon Osbourne really is and how defensive she is about it. There have been several times Sharon’s racism has been on display, from the time she said that Meghan didn’t look Black to allegedly getting her cohost Holly Robinson Peete fired.Sharon’s racism is indicative of a larger issue and shows how insidious and ingrained racism can be.

Now some of Sharon’s nearest and dearest white friends are coming out in support of her. Cyndi Lauper took to Instagram to defend Sharon, stating she doesn’t “believe Sharon is racist.” I have been a fan of Cyndi since I was a kid and none of us at CB remember hearing anything bad about her. However, this has me doing an internal eye roll. White people need to understand that THEY don’t get to tell BIPOC what is or isn’t racist. Below is what Cyndi had to say about Sharon:

I wanted to come out publicly to support my friend @sharonosbourne. I have known her for a long time and I do not believe that she is racist. I understand that she may have misspoken, used the wrong words, and acted in ways that have been hurtful to others. She may have even flubbed her apology. But I do believe that she is sincere in trying to make things right. We all make mistakes. I could not sit by and not say something. We all want to be given second chances but no one wants to give a second chance. We all want to be forgiven but no one wants to forgive. I believe that Sharon is sincere in her desire to apologize and change. I hope that everyone will be at least willing to hear her out.

[From Instagram]

Listen, I am tired of the “Rent a Black Person” world tours and the “My White Friend Apology” tours. Instead of defending Sharon’s behavior and expecting people to forgive and forget her vile behavior, Cyndi should allow her friend to feel this experience. It is uncomfortable, I get it, but making it seem that being called a racist is worse than doing racist things is absolutely egregious. The demeaning way in which Sharon spoke to Sheryl and the fact that Sheryl feared reacting because she may lose her job showed how racism created an imbalance of power. Racism is not just about hating another race, it is about a power dynamic that is often unjust and violent as well. I am sure Cyndi meant well but aligning herself with Sharon is similar to Sharon aligning herself with Piers Morgan and that didn’t turn out so well.

The biggest take away from this situation is to be quiet, listen, and do some heavy reflection. Don’t deflect, blame, or play the victim. Just acknowledge the other person’s experiences and feelings. We have also seen in real time that racism has consequences. For example, CBS has extended The Talk’s hiatus, putting the cast and crew’s jobs in jeopardy. I don’t think Sharon is done with blowing up her life. She will continue to react to the perception that she is not racist versus actually doing the work to not BE racist and a terrible human being. And some of her white friends (notice no Black or Brown people have come forward to dispute her being racist) will continue to be tone deaf and not understand the conversation. I am very disappointed in Cyndi because she has always been the poster child for radical self acceptance and acceptance of others. But seeing Cyndi publicly siding with Sharon in this dispute has given me pause. Hopefully Cyndi will do a bit of self reflection because it seems her friend Sharon is incapable of that.

Kelly Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Sharon Osb....

photos credit: and via Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

31 Responses to “Cyndi Lauper defends friend Sharon Osbourne: ‘I do not believe she is racist’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Eleonora says:


    If you want to help, then encourage your friend to donate to some good causes.

    At least you do something useful then.

  2. Merricat says:

    Ugh, I am also disappointed in Cyndi. No, one white woman cannot exonerate another white woman of racism.

    • SilverPoodle says:

      Exactly this!

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Thank you! I am disappointed as well. I liked Cindi but I have no tolerance for this BS. Using your fame to try and discount multiple stories of racial abuse by your friend is gross really gross

    • Sadiebelle says:

      Chiming in to say I’m very disappointed in Cyndi. White people, this isn’t hard: let’s be quiet and listen.

    • Sunnee says:

      This. This. Not only that, as a white woman how the f..k do think you YOU know if she’s racist or not. Would you know the markers? Would you pick up on the slights? Just thinking that you can judge someone’s racism through the lens of someone who has never or will never suffer racism is the height of caucasity. And it disappoints me because Cyndi is one of my faves, she’s an ally to LGBTQI, but she missed me on this. How does she think she knows more about Sharon’s racism than Holly Robinson Peete, is beyond me. Cyndi needs to lean back and listen and not negate black women’s experience at the hands of talentless, hanger on Sharon Osbourne.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Thank you.

      Just once, I’d like to see a white woman defend her foolish white friend by saying something that holds them accountable AND makes room for learning and growth. Something along the lines of:

      “So and so is my friend, but this is a great opportunity for them to learn from people who have a different lived experience than they are familiar with. I am not living that experience so MY assertions about how good she has been to me mean nothing. It’s possible (even likely) that I have similar blind spots, myself. I think it’s important to listen to those who are inviting us into greater awareness and to learn and make actual change moving forward. I hope my good friend will do that and I look forward to sharing the journey with her.”

      Otherwise, all these folks can shut the hell up. Cyndi included.

  3. Cat says:

    She didn’t misspeak, she just got caught.

    No one wants to find out their friend is an asshole but I’m not going to try and explain away the assholiness of that friend to whoever they offended & negate what that person is feeling. The Sharon that Cyndi is presented with is guaranteed not the same Sharon the next person is getting.

  4. whatWHAT? says:

    “Racism is not just about hating another race, it is about a power dynamic that is often unjust and violent as well.”


    And that is what I think Cyndi doesn’t necessarily get. she thinks, well, Sharon doesn’t go around saying “I hate Black people” or saying that Black people are second class citizens.”

    but that doesn’t mean she’s doesn’t have biases and racist inclinations. it’s something that a lot of people who think “well, I’M not racist!” don’t understand. they have biases they don’t recognize.

    I love Cyndi but I’m disappointed. she needs to shut it on this one.

    • Maida says:

      Exactly this. Lauper is shifting the conversation from talking about the racism embedded in Obsorne’s comments to saying that Obsborne isn’t “a racist” in the flaming John Bircher sense. Which is the entire right-wing project on race right now. Very disappointed in Cyndi.

  5. Anna says:

    So disappointing but I think I was through being surprised a long time ago at the white folks who defend their white friends on this shit.

  6. emmy says:

    And why should we care, Cyndi? If a Black person tells you it was racist, it was racist. If you needed a Black person to tell you in the first place, you have a problem. I’m white and I’m constantly horrified just how much white people do NOT care who they hurt, marginalize, and oppress. WTF??? I sure as hell don’t do everything right but when a BIPOC tells me girl, that’s not okay, I need to take a step back. It’s uncomfortable but who gives a sh*t? Get over yourself.

  7. Darla says:

    I don’t understand why the entire show is on hiatus? Why do all of the employees have to suffer? Just put Sharon on “vacation” until you get up the nerve to fire her, because that’s how this ends.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      This 💯!!!!

    • Deering24 says:

      Seriously, what is the holdup here? What kind of pull does she have, for cryin’ out loud? For nothing justifies the crap she’s been putting everyone through.

  8. L4frimaire says:

    I’m sure Sharon is a perfectly good friend to Cyndi Lauper. Why wouldn’t she be? She considers her an equal and not a threat or someone she can disparage and push around. Osbourne made a huge mess all on her own, kept digging deeper and then wanted everyone’s sympathy. No one owes her anything and now everyone on her show is paying the price for what she did. She could have nipped it in the bud but decided to go crazy on national tv.

  9. Oh_Hey says:

    My first musical memory was hearing time after time on the radio as a little girl. I have always loved cyndi especially her support of NYC public schools.

    She went flying into the bin at high speed as I read this. She as a white woman can never understand the complete horror show that is racism in this country and around the world. Here she’s not even trying to empathize with anyone other than her also white female friend. It’s maddening how folks can think this is just a gang up on Sharon. Then again – white supremacy is a hell of a drug.

  10. MaryContrary says:

    Oh FFS, the whole point of “trying to make things right” and is to actually DO THE WORK. Shut your mouth, listen to what people are trying to point out to you and extend some empathy. I get that Cyndi loves her friend-but this just emphasizes how they’re both centering themselves in this rather than actually listening. I’m not a black woman or POC, so I get that it’s not up to ME to define what racism looks like or feels like-how the f would I know that first hand?! It’s up to me to stop being defensive and LISTEN.

  11. Miranda says:

    Oh, well, that settles it, then. If one wealthy middle-aged white woman says another wealthy middle-aged white woman isn’t a racist, who are we to question that?

    • SarahCS says:

      Exactly. This is painful to watch and sadly I’m not sure any of the people concerned will learn from it.

  12. Alexandria says:

    Second chance? This is not her first time showing her prejudice though. Stop this myth of cancel culture. Sharon does not have regrets nor is she sorry. She has not shown any capacity to learn and until then she deserves nothing.

    Racists, it’s simple.
    1) Listen
    2) Acknowledge
    3) Learn
    4) Don’t say you have a black / minority friend / bf / gf.

  13. Renee says:

    So white person Cyndi Lauper decides if Osbourne is racist? Got it! If course the white friend will know the truth….what a joke!

  14. Shannon says:

    Haha….so Friendless Sharon found someone to defend her, and they basically say, “yeah, she’s a hurtful person with racist tendencies who flubbed her apology, but give her a second chance.”


    The writing is on the wall for Friendless Sharon, and she knows it.

  15. Asking for a friend says:

    Great piece, Oya. This part struck me most “…making it seem that being called a racist is worse than doing racist things is absolutely egregious.” Also, if what has been said is true, how can anyone think that the bigoted nicknames for her co-workers doesn’t automatically qualify her for the rubbish bin of racists?

  16. DragonWise says:

    Cyndi’s music was a huge part of my childhood, but this was a tone-deaf mistake, much like her “blues” album. R*cism isn’t just about violence and bald hatred. It’s also about disrespect, bias, and microaggressions, which Sharon displayed in all caps. Cyndi really should have kept quiet. She has a pretty good following among BIPOC’s, and this statement will damage that. I know I feel some type of way myself, and I’m a long time fan.

    • Valerie says:

      I said the same thing. She’s long used her fame for good and usually amplifies the right voices, so for her to rush to Sharon’s defence is confusing. I’m not even sure why she needs to. I’m not Cyndi’s BFF, but I’ve never gotten the impression that *they* were BFFs. The only time she ever mentions her is on Sharon’s birthday or if they have her on the show. And it isn’t as if she needs to hang onto her as a friend for the sake of her career. She’d be wise to drop her if she wants to salvage her fanbase.

  17. HeyJude says:

    Um, how do you misspeak when you call someone “sl*nty eyed”?

    And that’s not just “using the wrong words”. That’s choosing to call someone a racist slur. (Apparently twice, too!)

    There’s no misunderstanding there. That’s been a slur all around the world since the 1940s. Everyone knows it.

    That’s the definition of racism.

  18. Annalise says:

    Well I personally cannot even BEGIN to think of a better way of determining if an individual has deep-rooted racial bias than by examining a white woman’s behavior with…………another white woman. If ANYONE is going to sense any HINT of racism, it’s going to be a WHITE woman. It’s like, who better to decide if the monarchy is racist than the monarchy itself??? Its like that.

  19. Valerie says:

    I love Cyndi Lauper, but this is a huge no. Her heart is somewhat in the right place… But if it were there fully, she would have stepped back and listened instead of jumping in to defend the indefensible. She thinks she’s standing up for someone, and she is, it’s just the wrong person.

    As scripted as it was, I’m surprised she remained friends after the way she acted toward her on Celebrity Apprentice. That didn’t seem entirely like acting on Sharon’s part, and Cyndi seemed genuinely frustrated by her behaviour. Either way, Sharon isn’t the type of person I’d stick my neck out for in any situation.

    I’m surprised that Cyndi, who has long been a supporter of human rights and big on diversity (she wanted everyone to be represented in her Girls Just Want to Have Fun video back in ’83) and has worked with Black musicians for her entire career, would not realize that she should just listen and learn, not try to speak for or over others.

  20. Shannon says:

    Interesting that Friendless Sharon has been hyping up the fact she’s not going down without a fight—meaning she wants a huge 8 figure payout. But CBS is taking their sweet time with the investigation and I wonder if there are some clauses in there which might prevent her getting paid at all. If she is fired for violating employment practices/rules, I doubt she’ll get shit.