Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The Hard Truth…Russell Simmons rapes Tubman

19th August 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Min. J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Writer

The concept should offend you.

A comedy sex tape mocking Harriett Tubman, making slave rape funny, telling us that having sex with white men was how she built the Underground Railroad.

I refuse to watch it for the same reason that I would not soil my mind by viewing a sex tape of my own grandmother or mother.

Someone decided that Harriet Tubman needed to be brought down a peg or two. It was not the Ku Klux Klan. No, not the Tea Party or Fox News. Someone, not the skinheads or Rush, or Hannity or Coulter, said, “Let’s stir up some mess! Let’s get some attention! Let’s go after somebody all Black folks respect and crap all over their image. Let’s make light of the rape of slaves. We can apologize later if folks get mad.”

That someone was the team at All Def Digital, Russell Sim­mons’ new station. Simmons ran the tape until confronted by the NAACP, then pulled it, making a half-assed apology that actually backhanded anyone who was offended. He called it art and thought it was “politically correct,” or so he claims.

The idea that someone Black would even want to do this is disturbing. The level insanity and stupidity associated with having the mere desire to desecrate our history and our ancestors is beyond words.

Simmons’ apology was empty because some things you already know are wrong before you do them. He knew what he was putting out beforehand. He could have stopped the project at any point but did not. He wanted to see if he could get away with it. It would be like be slapping you and pulling out a prepared written apology after I see how you react.

The damage is done. The tape is already available and still being watched, which was his strategy all along. Anyone who studies us knows that we are the most forgiving people on earth. We have the longest patience and the shortest memories of any people on this planet. In other cultures everyone who had anything to do with such a piece of filth would have good reason to be concerned, as they should. No actor Black of any color should have felt comfortable performing in such a disrespectful endeavor.

We are the last people on earth who should be trying to reduce our icons to comedic sex objects or objects of ridicule. The mass ignorance of our own true story is a big part of why we are so far behind other races today. It accounts in large part for the suffering and self-destructive trends we engage in today. Our creativity and media resources should be used to promote the true history that we know and encourage our people to become greater.

It is offensive that modern rap still reduces the power, intellect and value of women to a few square inches of her flesh. Even a woman as smart and powerful as Mama Tubman is reduced to a screwing machine. While this is a horrible extreme, even for rap, it is not really new. It is a religious tenet of gangster rap that the only real value of a woman is her sexual parts.

You’d think someone who has done so little to advance the race with the considerable wealth and media influence he wields would have the decency to either honor real freedom fighters or leave them alone. You’d be wrong. Not only has Simmons not used his wealth and influence to lift the race most of what he puts out is designed to bring us further down than we already are.

And yes, he should feel obligated to advance the race.

Our history and our heroes and she-roes should be studied, revered and celebrated. These people are trying to generate a laugh at the expense of our history our dignity and our freedom fighters, all of which should be respected and defended now more than ever. With states removing Black history from school curricula, movies portraying historical Blacks as white or almost white, conservatives openly calling for sanitizing of the story of slavery, now is the time when we should be more forthright than ever.

Don Lemmon must be laughing about now. And this is the clown who “checked” him for criticizing the Black community?

Although he has come out on the right side at several opportune times, Simmons and his entertainment ilk have always done more harm than good. The average worthless rapper will glorify greedy, animalistic, criminal behavior to millions of young minds with his music, then give money to a little league baseball team to make up for it. The damage far outweighs the token repair.

He has opened the door for misguided negro copycats to find other ancestors to demean. Worse, his sex tape could embolden racist whites like Paula Deen and Ted Nuget to increase their verbal, legal, political and physical attacks on Black people in general. “Your own people are doing it,” they like to say.

We must plan and build, and in our building we must create ways to hold “artists,” entertainers and other accountable for what they sell to our people. We must have a game plan that will help chart and control every facet of our collective progress. This will help lend direction to idiots like Simmons and others who have great resources but handle them like little children. We’ll be meeting next year to do just that when we sponsor “The Gathering 2: Critical Mass-Southern Strategy.”

Simmons has in several ways shown us who he is. Maya Angelou, who could be the object of his next degradation project, says “When someone shows you who they are, believe them…

…and That’s the Hard Truth!

This article originally published in the August 19, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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