Today in Post-Race History: The Harriet Tubman Sextape
So, (Russell) Simmons’ antics are (Black) Twitter’s latest causality, I guess. In what seems to have become a weekly tradition on these internet streets, folks took to social media to call out, chastise, and blast Simmons into what they believed was proper action after his All Def Digital released a YouTube video that was unfortunate to say the least. In the now infamous “Harriet Tubman Sextape,” the crew working under Simmons’ brand took a shot at producing some revisionist history by suggesting that Tubman managed the heroic feat of leading hundreds of enslaved blacks out of the South by making a sextape of her and her master and then using such anachronistic entities as “leverage.” Genius concept, right? I won’t post it, but if you have three minutes of your life you’d like to waste on this shit, feel free to watch it here.
Now, the first thing I wondered was what kind of yoga Uncle Rush is doing that caused him to deem this clip the funniest thing he had ever seen. Like, seriously, how much blood is rushing to your head during downward-facing-dog to make you forget some key moments of Def Comedy Jam and most of those spoken word pieces featured on Def Poetry to the degree that you laughed out loud at this? I also had to wonder just how much he put on the Rush Cards of the black actors featured in this clip. I mean, damn. I know everybody has a price, but unless he forgave the predatorial-ass charges on those joints, they prolly couldn’t have copped an argyle sweater with their paychecks after all was said and done.
With that in mind, you get what you pay for. And what Uncle Rush funded was something absolutely, positively unfunny. I mean, seriously, we could spend bandwith taking offense at the fact that Hollywood would much rather fund a film about a fictional black male hero rather than a movie based on the life of a real one. We could be upset that the writers of this clip clearly don’t understand that in order for sex to be consensual, both parties have to be considered human beings and, you know, not property. Perhaps these writers might have also thought about how this “historical” piece further inflames this current cultural moment, a segment of which seems to want to valorize rape to the chagrin and violation of women young and old. We might also wonder aloud if Uncle Rush’s tendency to date the young and omniracial caused him to forget that the black women as seductresses trope is as played as he is. What’s more, folks think certain types of black women have been fucking their way to positions of “power” for eons, so the concept can be neither provocative nor satirical. But, as the education he received during this “controversy” suggest, Uncle Rush must’ve forgot #royjonesjr.
The concept caused a head scratch, to say the least. And the end result was just wasn’t funny. Seriously. If the best thing you can do is stick a black man in a closet, have him sing Negro spirituals and say something as laugh-inducing as “Drop it like a hot comb!” then you’ve failed at both history–and comedy. There’s no room for bootleg versions of Drunk History done by amateurs around these parts. Send your actors and your writers to the Uncle Ruckus School of Obsequious Negroes, or have a seat and go back to your day job.