How Could You…?

So, after some serious internet searching on Sunday, I finally saw the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” video by Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital that raised such a stink.  I didn’t even watch it all because all I found myself asking and continue to ask is…

How could you…?

Females in general have so few women in history to look up to and aspire to, to begin with. American historical females are much fewer and the number of American heroines of color that is even smaller still. And you take Harriet Tubman, the most courageous, the most noble of them, the most widely known black woman in history next to Rosa Parks and turn her into some antebellum Jezebel for the sake of what was presumed to be satire. No! Just no!

How could you?

To the actors and crew involved, yeah, I know… It’s just a job, and you got paid. If you did not do it, someone else surely would have. So the money might as well go in your pocket, right?  I hope you are all proud of it because this will permanently be on your IMDB page someday.  I get it, really I do, but still I ask…

How could you…?

Russell, how little you must think of the woman who made such remarkable history! Clearly, you do not respect her or her deeds.   Deeds, may I remind you, that were among the stepping-stones, which now give you the ability to create the tripe you posted in the name of humor.

What on earth made you –the collective you for all who participated in this nonsense, but you Russell Simmons specifically– think this would be acceptable, let alone funny, to the intelligent general public and to black women in particular? You didn’t.

And that is what is so appalling.

Black women here in America spend every damned day of their lives overtly or otherwise fighting sexual stereotypes.  Stereotypes placed upon us by the very type of “massas” portrayed in your little piece of jacked-up faux history.  Over a century later and we women of color are still fighting those stereotypes just so you can take Harriet Tubman, one of the very few examples of black womanhood who was above all of that nonsense, and turn her into a sexual parody.

How could you…?

Simmons, you are –well, I thought you were– an intelligent man.  There is NO way you could not have known there was going to be some backlash on this. Perhaps not as much as what you received, but you had to know. I believe this was done solely for getting All Def Digital noticed. There were so many other ways All Def Digital could have debuted to be smart, edgy, relevant, and divisive. You chose to make a mockery of Harriet Tubman.  By making her a joke of this caliber you diminish not just the woman, but everything for which she is known.

And do you want to know the real funny part? Image this video some 50, 20, 10, hell perhaps as little as two years from now. When all of us have moved on to the latest hullabaloo of the time, some ignorant racist assholes –who managed to download a copy before you had your ass handed to you and pulled the content off YouTube– will  show this to others of their ilk and pass it on as ‘historical truth’.  All because of you  thought it was something hilarious. Ha-ha, very funny motherfucker.

We need to fight not just to preserve her history and her reputation. Not just Tubman’s, but all the sisters  who have managed to make an indelible mark on our history.  In addition, to keep known for our future generations for the truths they are. Not tear them down, not desecrate their images to garner base humor.

How could you?

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3 thoughts on “How Could You…?

  1. This is the first I’m hearing about this video but, based on what you’ve said, sick, sick, sick! I’ve known about Harriet Tubman and her story since Junior High School.

  2. I read about this and thought it was very misguided, but then it led to something worthwhile. I went and read a very long, well-written, Wiki entry on Tubman. Some of the info I already knew; some was new to me. I can’t think of a better subject for a well-done HBO documentary (I thought about a major motion picture but her story was so involved that it’d need 3 or 4 nights to watch it!)

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