Friday, August 16, 2013

Russell Simmons Culturally Tone Deaf Comedy Jam.

Black Twitter has been afflutter the past couple of days by a sketch comedy bit called "The Harriett Tubman Sex Tape", which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. In case you've been under a rock, or don't know what Black Twitter is, here it go...

The fact that Russell Simmons is responsible for that f*ckery didn't help. Simmons apologized and pulled the video almost immediately. Of course, this being the internet and all, it's still around. Nothing ever actually "goes away" on the web.
Russell Simmons is apologizing after coming under fire for a video that appeared on his new All Def Digital YouTube channel.

The "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" depicts an actress portraying the famous abolitionist having sex with her "Massa" in order to allow her to run the Underground Railroad. The video has since been taken down. Simmons issued an apology on in which he says he was contacted by his "buddies" at the NAACP asking for removal of the video.

"I'm a very liberal person with thick skin," wrote Simmons. "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."
While many are up in arms about the fact that a(n ex-) slave is portayed having consensual relations with a (presumed) slaveowner and taping it, I'm actually not. There's nothing rapey about this video, and I really wish people didn't go there. I also don't have any issue with Harriett Tubman, a beloved historial figure, being used for comedic intents. Nope, my problem is something entirely different altogether.

This sh*t just wasn't funny. At all. Period.

That's the first rule of comedy: make people laugh. Nothing here was funny. Nothing.

I don't consider any topic off limits. In the hands of capable writers and on screen talent, you can take a taboo subject and make it both hilarious and thought provoking. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Patrice O'Neal, and my current favorite Hannibal Burress have all more or less made careers of this. But these no-name, no talent bums in the Simmons' funded sketch had nothing going for them. There's no social commentary. No physical humor. Nothing.

Still, I don't get all the uproar here. This isn't the first comedy sketch that bombed, nor will it be the last. The fact that the NAACP is involved in this f*ckery, and that rodeo clown incident in the same week says something. Exactly what I'm not sure. But something.

I'm sorta outraged at all the outrage. You?

Question: Was this just a poorly conceived comedy skit that went really bad, or a sign of the collapse of Negro civilization?

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