By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
Def Jam founder and hip-hop veteran Russell Simmons is dealing with some major controversy for a parody video on his All Def Digital YouTube channel. The video featured comedians acting out a sex scene involving slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman and her master.
Critics slammed Russell for promoting the what they deemed racist and sexist imagery and disrespecting the legacy of a woman instrumental in American History for her work with the Underground Railroad. Overwhelmingly, the response called for a removal of the video.
Simmons obliged and issued this explanation behind his actions via Global Grind: “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.”
He continues, “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.”