For the first time since Russell Simmons‘ newly launched All Def Digital released a horrific and poorly executed parody entitled the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” the Hip-Hop, philanthropic media mogul seems to genuinely understand the magnitude of his actions and repeatedly apologized for his error in judgement during an interview on YouTube entertainment show BRKDWN.
As previously reported by NewsOne’s Associate Editor Terrell J. Starr, the video “parodies the efforts of a woman who successfully lead hundreds of enslaved Black men and women to freedom. During the three and half minute clip, the implication is that the only way Ms. Tubman was able to free so many Black people was for her to sleep with their White plantation owners.”
Simmons’ quickly removed the video from the ADD Channel — though it can still be found on other sites and YouTube Channels — and issued a standard, pathetic “I’m sorry if I offended you” non-apology, followed by a lighthearted Tweet:
I I guess I have a sensitivity chip missing. Lol. Haven’t been in trouble since defjam. Sorry if people r hurt :-(
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 15, 2013
In the BRKDWN interview below, however, Simmons’ tone is different as he repeatedly says that he is “deeply sorry…deeply hurt that [he] let people down.”
Simmons made sure to note that no one could make him move more swiftly than Black women to rectify his horrible mistake.
“It implies the previous rapes…I’ve always had controversy, but this is different, because there’s a line…when I got called that Black women were disturbed about it, it broke my heart. I have other content that’s going to piss off everybody again tomorrow…but it likely won’t break my heart.
People around me are like, ‘Does that mean that you’re going to let people push you around,’ no, this is about Black women and they can push me around a little quicker than the entire world, and they didn’t push me around, they educated me on how hurtful it was, because I never considered rape.”
Watch the complete interview below:
Simmons’ has also been actively attempting to make amends with Harriet Tubman’s descendants:
These moves are positive steps in the right direction; but they can by no means be the only steps. As we go forward, hopefully Simmons will recognize that the perpetuation of porn and rape culture through the degradation of Black women is unacceptable under any circumstances.
Hopefully his words are sincere.
From Hip-Hop to Hollywood, Black women deserve better from Black men. If Simmons, one of the leading voices in entertainment today, has genuinely learned from this, we call on him to take his “education” seriously and loudly speak on the necessity of denouncing Rape Culture at every opportunity, wherever it may manifest.
We call on him to use his vast global platform to present Black women in a respectful light, free from the dangerous, damaging historical and contemporary stereotypes in which he traffics.
We’re watching, Mr. Simmons.