In this study, event-related potentials were used to investigate the effect of emotion on response inhibition. Participants performed an emotional go/no-go task that required responses to human faces associated with a “go” valence (i.e., emotional, neutral) and response inhibition to human faces associated with a “no-go” valence. Emotional content impaired response inhibition, as evidenced by decreased response accuracy and N2 amplitudes in no-go trials. More importantly, emotional expressions elicited larger N170 amplitudes than neutral expressions, and this effect was larger in no-go than in go trials, indicating that the perceptual processing of emotional expression had priority in inhibitory trials. In no-go trials, correlation analysis showed that increased N170 amplitudes were associated with decreased N2 amplitudes. Taken together, our findings suggest that emotional content impairs response inhibition due to the prioritization of emotional content processing.