I tried to write a sternly-worded letter to Russell Simmons and the entire team behind this “Harriet Tubman Sex Diaries debacle” and I couldn’t make fetch happen. The words wouldn’t come together. First, let me catch you up.
All Def Digital is a collaborative YouTube channel that Russell Simmons and Brian Robbins recently launched. Yesterday, they released a skit called the Harriet Tubman Sex Diaries and described it as “the off-record account of how Harriet Tubman blackmailed her master into letting her run the Underground Railroad.” “Harriet” and a fellow slave plotted to bring “Master” down by having him come to her room and then she seduces him as the other slave is in the closet recording it.
SO ridiculous and I think it’d be best if I just expressed my feelings in a series of GIFs, like the folks of BuzzFeed love to do. When I logged on to Twitter and saw the hashtag “#HarrietTubmanSexTape”
When I clicked the link and saw the video, and my initial reaction was
And then I just felt this pure rage that came from the bottom of my stomach and I wanted to just flip my laptop over and smash it on the ground.
Because surely I didn’t just watch a skit where Harriet Tubman seduced her master who had clearly raped her, and then rode him to kingdom come. SURELY I DIDN’T JUST SEE THAT. But I had. And my blood was boiling. I was SO UPSET.
Because WHAT THE HELL!?!? How offensive can one 3-minute video be? Slavery, rape culture, the devaluing of the bodies of Black women etc etc etc. All it was missing was a homophobic joke and it woulda won the gold medal in the offensive Olympics. I was just so angry. Then you put the fact that the video was a slap in the face of the legacy of Harriet Tubman and you see why I was like:
And then I saw Russell Simmons’ tweet that it was “the funniest thing” ever and I was wishing this on him:
Because there’s one thing for anOTHER to create such an insensitive, classless, tasteless and couthless piece of trash about Black women. But when it’s the work of another Black man, featuring willing and able Black folks, it hurts extra. It’s like your own family saying you ain’t worth anything. Not respect. Not love. Not care.
And it made me think about how Black women don’t get told enough that we deserve everything good. That our bodies matter and our lives matter. And while we walk around with the weight of the world on our shoulders, we should remember that even Atlas shrugged. But then we see something like this and whatever load we may have put down comes right back.
We still don’t get the care we deserve.
After we raised hell enough and the NAACP called Russell Simmons, the video was taken down from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and I was like:
The damage was done. For Russell Simmons and his team of insensitive douchebags to even create that video is fucked up. And the fact that no one along the way thought to say “but wait.” It’s fucked up. And then Russell gave some half ass “sorry you’re mad” apology and I was like:
Is that harsh? Yup. But I’ont care. Russell Simmons and his Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel ass can go lay on a bed of pointy nails for this. I haven’t been here for him since those janky ass RUSH Cards he was touting. And as he acts like he’s this Zen dude in touch with the Earth and shit, he’s creating utter trash.
And it’s even sadder because he has two daughters.
But let me not just point to Russell. The fools who starred in the video too. Shanna Malcolm should go bury her head in the sand for defaming Harriet Tubman. How much did you get paid to shame your own people so properly? Was it enough?
Cooning for cash and shamefully shucking for shit that should never gotten past “idea” stage.
And on top of ALL of that, it wasn’t even funny or remotely close. Comedy and satire can be used for the darkest subjects but approach matters. This skit wasn’t witty or clever. Nor was it even smart. It was low and cheap and terrible.
Like I said, I’ve tried to write a sternly-worded letter and I was crippled by rage. But here’s how I felt and yeah… UGH!
Sorry for this terribly incoherent post. I’m still mad. Did you see this travesty? What were your thoughts on it?
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman