Hip-hop mogul “Uncle” Russell Simmons issued an apology on August 15 after releasing comedic video of Black history icon Harriet Tubman engaging in some questionable activities with her slave master.
Simmons released a three-minute parody sex tape between Harriet Tubman and her White slave master on his All Def Digital YouTube Channel. In the parody, Tubman has another slave record her having sex with her slave master to later use as leverage and show that he “loves” his Black slaves.
The video quickly grew criticism from members of the Black community, who expressed shock that someone as noted as Simmons would consent to the video to be created and air it on his channel.
Simmons later had the video pulled from the YouTube channel, but as with most things in the world of online the video has recorded and re-uploaded on another YouTube channel.
Simmons issued an apology on both Twitter and on his hip-hop blog GlobalGrind.com.
“In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” said Simmons in a statement. “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.”
Simmons called himself a very liberal person with a “thick sin” in his statement. He continued, “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.”
He continued that he has removed the video and would never condone violence against women in any fashion.
Famed producer, director Spike Lee tweeted his outrage about the video on his Twitter followers.
“Just saw Russell Simmons Produced Skit “HARRIET TUBMAN SEX TAPE.I Ask Why Do We Desecrate Our Ancestors? Why Do We Have Ourselves? Questions??” tweeted Lee.
Former 106 & Park TV host turned radio personality Free asked Simmons who came up with the idea for the video on Twitter.
“Thank you for taking it down @UncleRUSH and for apologizing. That’s real,” tweeted Free. “But it is now in circulation for the world to see makes me cringe.”
TV One host Roland Martin tweeted Simmons, “Bruh @UncleRush, Harriet Tubman is SACRED to our people. Anyone even thinking this skit up should have been cussed out with the quickness.”