Russell Simmons was quick to offer an apology after the NAACP took issue with a video parody that featured a sexually aggressive Harriet Tubman making a sex tape with her White master.
In the 3-minute video that was posted to Russell’s Def Digital YouTube Channel, the Black actors speak in broken English and use the N-word. However, viewers understandably found the webisode more disrespectful for depicting what was often rape between a master and enslaved worker, in a comical light.
“This is disrespectful in all forms. What is this teaching our youth about our history? It isÒ bad enough that some of our children and adults do not have a clue from which they come from, but to take something that was and is so sensitive and to make it into a porn flick is dead wrong,” wrote one YouTube commenter.
Anthea Butler, associate professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, told MSNBC, “Some of the worst slave narratives I ever read were from slaves raped by their masters…And this is not Django Unchained. This is a real person, who suffered real things and freed so many slaves.”
Russell didn’t make excuses for the video, but explained why it didn’t offend him when he first viewed it.
“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,” said Russell via a message on GlobalGrind.com.
“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,” he said.
Check out a few tweets below.
Watch the controversial video below.