Yesterday, Russell Simons posted a video to celebrate his new YouTube channel, All DefDigital. The video, titled “The Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” caused so much controversy that it was a trending topic on Twitter for many hours.
The video portrays Harriet Tubman luring a slave master into a bedroom. The two have sex while another slave hides in the closet, filming the entire event. It is implied that Tubman will be using the sex tape to blackmail the slave master into allowing her and other slaves to escape. Apparently the video was supposed to be the first in a series of comedy sketches based on history.
Harriet Tubman was a slave who escaped to the north. She then returned to the South 19 times to lead other slaves to freedom by the Underground Railroad, a groups of houses and helpers, that helped slaves escape from the south to the free north. She was called Moses in honor of the biblical figure who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
The video caused so much controversy that a Change.org petition was started requesting that it be taken down. The petition that was signed by over 600 people asserted: “Rape is not a joke, nor is the sexual violation of African American women by enslavers a punchline.” Another part of the petition read, “Not only does the Harriet Tubman ‘sex tape’ make a mockery of the history of transatlantic slavery, Harriet Tubman’s memory in particular and the painful reality of sexual exploitation and terror in the lives of enslaved women, but the video also contributes to rape culture by perpetuating the myth that women only ‘pretend’ not to enjoy being forced into having sex against their will.”
DefDigital removed the video and Simmons posted the following statement on his website, GlobalGrind.com: “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 the 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.”
Last night as the topic was trending on Twitter, popular YouTube vlogger, Franchesca Ramsey, addressed the two actors in the skit, Shanna Malcom and DeStorm Power:
Later this week all DefDigital will post a video about President Barack Obama. “B-Rock,” an animated series showing the “behind-the-scenes shenanigans” of President Obama as he and his “Commando in Chief alter ego, B-Rock, encounter an endless array of familiar characters.”
By Karen Walcott