Why We Ain’t Free: Russell Simmons Promotes Tubman Sex Tape Spoof
This video is real. You’re looking at what is supposed to be a funny spoof about how Harriet Tubman blackmailed her “massa.” You’re supposed to laugh because it shows that she took the power and got the upper hand. Isn’t this hilarious? What? You’re not laughing?
I’m not either.
Humor is above all else subjective. What one person may find hilarious, another might find horrendously offensive. But I have to say, as someone who works with humor, I’m genuinely disgusted by this. If this script came across my desk, I would’ve asked, “Who was smoking what when this was written, and why the fuck did this reach my desk?” The gag doesn’t hold water if you’re aware of the historical context of the simulated situation.
To find this funny, you have to ignore the fact that, in the sketch, Harriet Tubman had been raped by her master numerous times, then decided to engage in intercourse with him to gain control over him. You then have to find it hilarious to watch a rape survivor simulate enjoying sex with her rapist.
Even after the horrified tweets I saw in my timeline concerning this, I still found myself shocked that they would release this without anyone thinking it was in bad taste. Not only did they release it on Russell Simmons’ brand new #AllDefDigital Youtube Channel, Mr. Simmons himself promoted it!
The video was pulled (someone else re-posted it) and the apology tour has begun:
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.
I believe everyone should be allowed to learn from their mistakes and apologize but I will say that if yesterday this was the most hilarious thing you’ve ever seen and today now you don’t believe that? 24 hours later? Ah…ha.