Here's the premise: Beloved abolitionist Harriet Tubman, while enslaved, turns the tables on her "massa" one night by graciously accepting his normally unwanted sexual advances in an effort to blackmail him and earn her freedom. What could go wrong with that bit of comedy?
"Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" was the first glimpse many people got into mogul Russell Simmons' new All Def Digital YouTube channel, which also includes shows about rap collective Odd Future and a comedy series called "Blackie Sack," which follows Leon Sugarfoot, "the world's only African-American hacky sacker." If you can believe it, the slave-era sex-tape skit, which depicts Tubman having doggystyle sex with her slaver, left a lot of people upset. Director Spike Lee's tweet against the skit seemed to sum up much of the criticism:
Just Saw Russell Simmons Produced Skit "HARRIET TUBMAN SEXTAPE.I Ask Why Do We Desecrate Our Ancestors?Why Do We Hate Ourselves?QUESTION???— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) August 15, 2013
In response to the widespread criticism of the video, Simmons apologized today via his website Global Grind, noting that his "buddies from the NAACP" had asked him to take the clip down (the video above was ripped by a YouTube user before Simmons removed his version). "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," he wrote. "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."
Thank you, internet and the NAACP, for helping Russell Simmons understand why it's not politically correct to make a comedy video about a heroic anti-slavery icon submitting to her slave master in order to initiate some weird, historically inaccurate revenge fantasy. Good work.