Russell Simmons does two-step on Harriet Tubman sex video

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by Karanja A. Ajanaku


According to the Associated Press, Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons is apologizing for a parody video of Harriet Tubman in a sex tape that appeared on his All Def Digital YouTube channel.

The clip features an actress portraying Tubman having sex with her White slave master as someone films it so the abolitionist can bribe her boss. The “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” video was posted Wednesday.

Simmons’ mea culpa was his step-two move in the wake of a wave of criticism about a controversial Harriet Tubman video featured on the recently launched All Def Digital YouTube Channel. Step 1? Remove the video, which he did.

The 55-year-old Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, wrote Thursday that he “can now understand why so many people are upset.” He said he removed the video after a call from the NAACP.

Here’s the statement Simmons posted on Thursday morning:

“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.”

Though Simmons removed the video, it still lives online.

Tubman spent nearly 30 years as a slave before escaping in 1849. She led hundreds of slaves to freedom as part of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.

Incidents such as this spread like wildfire through the social media universe and beyond. As this one journeys on, here’s a reference to Underground Railroad “shero” Tubman for guidance:

“I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.”

The road to awareness is long and winding.

(Karanja A. Ajanaku, Executive Editor of The New Tri-State Defender.)

The Associated Press contributed to this article.



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