Harriet Tubman Sex Tape? REALLY?

It’s been an eye-opening week in social media. A while ago I heard about the Russell Simmons and Jason Horton project titled ‘Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.’ By the time I went to find the video, it had been taken down. So feel free to hold the fact that I haven’t seen the video against me, but I don’t think it was necessary, and could have quite possibly been triggering.

I, nor anyone else, should not have to explain why there is a problem with a parody sex video of Harriet Tubman. It’s 2013. Are we really doing this? We are going to take a Black woman hero, one of the most revered figures in abolitionist history, hypersexualize her, and then put it on the internet?

I shouldn’t be surprised. And yet…

Blogger Prison Culture tweeted the following statement about the video:

“Araminta Ross became a “slave for hire” at the age of 5. She did domestic work, field work, cared for children. She once said that one of her mistresses would savagely whip her almost every day, first thing in the AM. As a result, she would put on “all the thick clothes she could” to protect her body from the blows. When she was teenager, she stood before an overseer who was in pursuit of another slave. He took a lead weight & crashed it on her head. She was deeply wounded. She said that the blow “broke her skull.” She was carried back bleeding. She had no bed. They lay her on the floor. She was sent back to her parents who thought she would die. She survived. She went on to become Harriet Tubman. She freed slaves daringly & without fear. This is the person who [Russell Simmons] laughed at.”

A couple of thoughts I have about the video:

I honestly don’t think what kind of sex Tubman was or was not having was relevant. The video is historically inaccurate, insensitive and in poor taste. The video both hypersexualizes Tubman and desexualizes her at the same time. And keep the context in mind, of course. Harriet Tubman was a slave. Which means that in addition to being beaten, she was also repeatedly raped and abused in other forms.

I did see a clip of the video here, and I don’t encourage you to watch it because A) I think it is a waste of time, and B) I don’t want to give the people involved with this video any views. But I will say that  in the skit, the filming of the movie was done in secret. The cameraman was hidden in a closet. So we have a historical figure who dealt with numerous accounts of abuse, dealing with… surprise! More abuse. Rape isn’t funny. Neither is racism. Black women’s lives and sexuality, past and present, still manage to be the butts of our jokes…

Kimberly Foster, founder of @ForHarriet had this to say to the star of the skit playing Tubman, Shanna Malcolm.

Here is a petition asking for the video to be removed (it already has) and for a public apology to be made (which has not happened yet).

EDIT: It was pointed out to me by a reader that Jason Horton did not write, create or produce the video. I wasn’t saying that he did, but I can see how it would be construed that way based on what I wrote. So to be clear, Jason Horton acted in the video, and that was the extent of his involvement. I apologize for any misunderstanding.


Why I Love Franchesca’s “Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls” (And Why It’s Not Racist)

By Keir Bristol

Apparently a lot of feelings are hurt over Franchesca Ramsey’s video “Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls.” I’m not surprised. Quite frankly, it’s a Black girl talking about racist experiences she’s had with some White girls. Most people don’t like that. They don’t want Black people talking about their experiences with racism. They definitely don’t want us to turn it into a funny story in which you laugh at the racist people.

I’m not going to go over why this video isn’t racist in detail. If you’re interested, please do the research yourselves. Basically, you cannot be racist against White people- not in an institutional sense. Also, there is no such thing as Whiteface. Blackface is a racist depiction of Black people that presents a caricature of what all Black people are like. It makes it easier to think less of them, to continue to oppress them. Same with Brownface, Redface, Yellowface, etc. White people don’t have  a Whiteface, and Ramsey isn’t trying to say that all White girls are like the girl she depicts in her video.

As a Black girl growing up in a predominantly White town, I can totally relate to this video. I’ve had people ask to touch my hair, and then touch it without asking. I’ve had people ask me if I knew fellow Black people on facebook. I’ve heard the “HOLLER!” and I’m all too familiar with the “Z-Snap formation.” This video is about a Black girl, talking about the offenses she’s had to face from White girls because of the color of her skin. This video is about offenses against Black people. Why then, do so many people act like White people are the victims here, when they are the ones doing the offending?

Ramsey said on Anderson Cooper, “I don’t think talking about ignorance is racist. And like I said, I’m not labeling anyone as racist, because that would infer that the statements were saying that someone was better than another race, and that’s not what any of the statements are doing.”

When you watch the video, you will see Ramsey, in a blonde wig, say some of the things that White people have said to her. It’s literally just quotes, of things White people have said to her. How is quoting someone racist? The quote itself may be a racist statement, but saying, “Hey, someone has said this to me before, and I take offense to that isn’t racist.” If anything, telling Ramsey that she is being racist and that she shouldn’t have made this video, talking about her experiences, is racist. That’s like saying, “Talking about your experiences is hurting my feelings, stop complaining! Shut up!” Telling a Black woman not to talk about her experiences as a Black woman because YOUR feelings might be hurt, is racist. That, essentially, is saying that your feelings are more important- that you’re better than the Black race.

Hopefully I don’t have to explain what was racist about the quotes Ramsey used in the video, but just in case…

1. Assuming all Black people know each other or look alike, is racist.

2. Touching someone without permission, is rude.

3. “Cute for a Black guy…” is racist.

4. If you have to start a sentence with “I’m not racist, but…” you just shouldn’t say it, because it’s racist. Trust me.

5. There isn’t a White Entertainment Television because every channel that isn’t dedicated to a certain race IS White Entertainment Television. Once we start representing all kinds of people on mainstream television positively, then we can talk about eliminating specialty channels.

6. Black people bring up slavery because there are after-effects of it, and it still affects us today. It’s relevant in many of today’s discussions, and telling people to get over it is rude and dismissive.

7. Black people can say the word “nigger” because it’s been used against us, and we can reclaim it and use it how we want. Also, if you feel the need to use that word you need to re-evaluate your life and your choices.

8. Saying things like, ‘It’s almost like you’re not Black!” makes it seem like all Black people are the same. See number one.

9. Just because you have Black friends, doesn’t mean you aren’t racist. And using them as a statistic, doesn’t help.

10. Saying you’re not “into” Black guys or Black people, again, makes it seem like all Black people are the same. See number one, number eight.

Oh, and if you are White, and you feel as if you have a better grip on what is racist then people of color… please re-evaluate who the racist one is.

Click here to watch “Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls TWO.”

Click here to read Clutch Magazine’s takedown of the video and the resulting controversy.

Lady Gaga Rallies For Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, U.S. Senate Still Not Convinced | College Magazine Blog

Pop superstar Lady Gaga took a break from her lavish costumes and wild colors for her latest video. The inspiration? Her desire to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” a controversial law that keeps gay and lesbian soldiers from revealing their true sexual orientation. Catch the video after the jump, because when Lady Gaga uses her whole name (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), you know something’s going down

Lady Gaga Rallies For Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, U.S. Senate Still Not Convinced | College Magazine Blog.