harriet-tubman-sextape

Before you go on and wonder why the above title actually exists, hear me out. You see, Russell Simmons YouTube video channel All Def Digital (or ADD) has been producing their own versions and twists on historic tales for a while now. Some have been complete hits (“Black Jesus”) and then you have things like the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” video which was pulled down after complete outrage and everyone looked at Rush as if he had sold them bootleg prepaid Rush cards.

The video itself just isn’t funny as it depicts a more mammy’d up version of Tubman, played by a non-descript black woman catering towards her white “massa” before engaging in a sexual act with him. Her reason? Blackmailing him so she can secure the go-ahead to create the Underground Railroad. Mind you, Tubman is a hero to many and one of the bigger protagonists of the time period so to see her image be stricken down and parodied is one thing. To harp on the idea that parody knows nothing abut decorum is another. After all, there is a porn parody of Roots and nothing was funny about Alex Haley’s book or the television series that opened up plenty of eyes to the cruel injustice that slavery was and to some, still is.

Late Wednesday night, Simmons issued an apology regarding the video, one he initially called “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen” when he introduced it.

“In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian. When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.

I’m a very liberal person with thick skin and it’s hard to offend me. My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master, I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.”

I don’t blame Simmons fully for the joke, or it’s presentation. I’m more offended at the idea that he believed harping on such stereotypes was comedy and that he used one of America’s darker subjects, the raping of enslaved women to prove power and dominance. Not only by calling for the creation of this and green lighting it did Simmons strip Tubman of her shining glory, he attributed the creation of a vessel that carried many a slave to freedom to a white man just for the mere proposition of sex.

Thanks Rush.

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