I knew I was not to join #TeamRussell when he picked a fight with CNN’s Don Lemon about his suggestions to young Black men to combat racism. When I discussed this argument between these two men with the rest of #TeamBeautiful, I couldn’t figure out his point and I felt that he couldn’t pinpoint it either, which is why he declined Don’s offer to come on his “No Talking Points” show for a healthy debate. Russell chose to tweet his feelings in an almost one-sided debate.
This, I felt was a mistake on Russell’s part. He had a chance to truly converse on his views, while allowing Black American to continue a conversation we need to be having–how can we combat racism? Russell then made another mistake by sharing a parody sex tape of Harriet Tubman on his YouTube Channel.
Yes, you read that right. I understand that sometimes comedy pushes the envelope and often makes many of us uncomfortable, but this is just irresponsible. The woman playing Harriet can be seen seducing her master so that she could run the historical Underground Railroad, saying, “All these years I’ve been acting like I didn’t enjoy our special time together.”
After the two make love, master decides to share his true feelings for Harriet and she then brushes him off, saying, “Look n*gga, I don’t give a damn about who you love.” SMH. Why? Why now?
Russell developed his YouTube Channel, All Def Digital with Awesomeness TV CEO Brian Robbin and they have created a web series called “ADD History: Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” with YouTube comedians DeStorm Power, Shanna Malcolm, and Jason Horton.
What these comedians don’t understand is that certain subject matters should be off topic. Black women being raped during the tortuous years of slavery is never funny. Sure, some sick and twisted critics could try to make it seem like a powerful moment for Black women, twisting history for a quick giggle, but it’s just not funny.
Comedian, Dave Chappelle had a way of making slavery parodies hilarious. Maybe Russell’s comedians should have taken notes. When Dave’s pimp character went back in time to call master a “cracker,” and to free the slaves. Russell’s parody missed the mark because the topic they were making fun of is way too painful. Rape and the relationship between master the the slave woman wasn’t the way to go.
Britni Danielle of Clutch Magazine hit the nail right on the head, calling out the recurring stereotypes the media loves to paint of Black people. “Downplaying the very real rapes and abuse Black women endured during slavery? Check. Casting an obese Harriet Tubman to play into of the negative stereotypes about Black women’s bodies? Check. Portraying Black women as Jezebels who use sex to get what they want? Check. Normalizing the idea that all Black women are sassy and always have something smart to say? Check. Portraying Black men as coons? Check, check, check.”
Russell has apologized this morning, tweeting:
I I guess I have a sensitivity chip missing. Lol. Haven't been in trouble since defjam. Sorry if people r hurt :-(—
Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 15, 2013
This is what Russell had to say about the sextape parody:
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. 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 with 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 of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.
Do we believe him? What do you think about the sextape?
Russell, when you were pitched this comedy, this is what you should have done:
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