Friday, August 16, 2013

Why is Harriet Tubman A Trending Topic in 2013?

"This is our only chance for freedoms."
I don't usually jump on the bandwagon when it comes to Twitter fights, but as a black woman and a YouTuber, I feel the need to voice the opinions swirling in my head.

The drama began when Russell Simmons uploaded a video titled "Harriet Tubman Sextape" to his Def Comedy Jam channel. The video, starring Shanna Malcolm (as Tubman) and DeStorm Power (as a fellow slave), swept over the black community like a tidal wave. 

When asked to remove the video and apologize, he did. But many people feel his apology wasn't sincere. The fact that Simmons also removed the video hasn't stopped it from popping up on other YouTube channels.

Is the black community being too sensitive or was the reaction just as it should have been? Does anyone remember this video uploaded by TheSecondCityNetwork in 2010? "Harriet Tubman: The Sexiest Abolitionist."

 It certainly didn't receive the backlash that Russell Simmons got. And this is my point. Lots of people on YouTube joke about sensitive subjects. They're jokes. I have joked about slavery myself in this video and I wear whiteface in this one. Is it okay because we're not popular? If I had a million subscribers, would I be forced to apologize and take videos down if people didn't share my humor?

There's a deeper part of me that also feels like people use "just kidding" as a blanket. You can do or say whatever you want to another person as long as you tag 'just kidding' at the end. It's wrong, but we all do it, don't we? Can we really point fingers at each other and say who is wrong? Is there a right and wrong way to make a parody? I'll be the first to admit the video wasn't funny, but I can respond by not watching again and not subscribing. Who am I to tell someone who doesn't know me to apologize? Why should I even be offended in the first place? I would be a hypocrite to do so.

I think maybe we need to just pipe the fuck down and stop being so sensitive. Forcing someone, even a celebrity, to make adjustments for you (when you probably don't give two fucks about them anyway) is just stupid.


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