I Don’t Even Know How To Write About Russell Simmons’ Harriet Tubman Sex Tape

Scene from Harriet Tubman sex tape parody by Russell Simmons August 2013Once upon a time it was a normal Thursday afternoon in the Crushable office, and I went scrolling through Twitter to see what was trending. “Harriet Tubman?” I thought, “What are you doing on a social network, lady? Is it your birthday today? Are we memorializing your death day? Let me click upon you and see what’s — OH MY GOD RUSSELL SIMMONS WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.”

You guys. Russell Simmons made a Harriet Tubman sex tape parody. A sex tape. Parody. Starring Harriet Tubman. You know, that lauded abolitionist who courageously and single-handedly saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of slaves via the Underground Railroad? Well not enough people think about her in a sexual/funny way, so Russell Simmons wanted to take on that burden.

The video, posted to Russell’s YouTube channel All Def Digital, depicts Harriet Tubman having sex with her ‘massa’ while a fellow slave films the whole thing. Afterward, she uses that leverage to buy his silence while she creates the Underground Railroad. Which is great, because the noble origins of the original system for rescuing slaves were in desperate need for a raunchy update. Isn’t it funny if instead of using her own ingenuity and determination to create the Railroad, she uses blackmail and sexual manipulation?

That doesn’t seem in poor taste at all, which is why it’s so. weird. that the NAACP asked you to take the video down and there’s such a moral outrage about this whole thing. Who would have thought that putting the phrases ‘Harriet Tubman’ and ‘sex tape’ in the same sentence would have been the worst idea ever. (Anyone. Literally anyone could’ve told you that.) The full video is no longer available because, as I said, Russell complied with multiple requests to take it down, but the clip below does have some really tasteful excerpts. Please enjoy the Ebonics and extremely high-brow humor.

Honestly, I have no idea how things like this happen, because it seems like such an obviously bad idea, but Russell was apparently really surprised by the reaction, evidenced by the following official statement that he issued to Globalgrind:

“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.”

No no no, Russell, you’re confused. In the original version, Harriet Tubman outwitted her slave master. The original version was politically correct because it was A. true and B. a triumph of a woman over adversity. In your version Harriet Tubman debases herself morally and sexually to bring about the same result. What’s politically correct about that?

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    • Olivia Wilson

      Is this actually real life or some kind of alternate universe?? It’s just so bizarre, how does someone even arrive at this idea?

      • Muggle

        Probably drugs. That’s what I’m guessing.

        And sadly, I’m not surprised that someone would depict a woman using not determination and courage to achieve her goals, but sex and manipulation. It happens all the goddamn time, it’s stupid and annoying.

    • Bad Dad

      At least it wasn’t Richard Simmons….