As you all know, Russell Simmons launched his All Def Digital YouTube page this week with The Harriet Tubman Sex Diaries as the debut skit. Hilarity – shockingly – did not ensue. People were pretty darn outraged. I’m sure Uncle Rush did not understand why, particularly since the skit was the “funniest thing” he’d ever seen.
As is to be expected when any such debacle occurs in popular culture, Black Twitter went berserk with people quickly picking sides. I haven’t seen this much division since #TeamLightSkin / #TeamDarkSkin was trending. This time, something was different, however. Russell Simmons, champion of the arts and the artist’s rights, took down the offensive video after his “buddies at the NAACP” asked him to and offered a wack, half-hearted apology afterwards, blaming his folly (and the way we took it) on the fact that he might be missing “a sensitivity chip”.
I of course have been on a tear about this since I first watched the 3 minute skit. There are some things you just can’t un-see. Some people (who are now no longer) in my circle have asked me to give it a rest.
As with all things concerning us Black folk, many Black men have now somehow turned this whole Harriet Tubman thing on its head, claiming that it’s just another example Black women are trying to keep a good Black man down.
“He apologized. What else do you people want?”
You know what? They’re right. Russell Simmons is a self-proclaimed pillar of the Black community. Never mind the fact that he made the bulk of his wealth selling us cheap clothes at inflated prices and has spent decades peddling his RUSH Card with excellent service features including high fees and interest to low and lower middle income Blacks… or that his career was launched off of the veritable prostitution of Black women in hip-hop music. He’s a PILLAR, damn you! An upstanding citizen and we owe him our support! He apologized (LOL!) and we all need to just move on. Nothing should be off limits in comedy.
This is why I’ve come up with a few other skit ideas – you know, some plots and such – for our future entertainment on ADD. There should be no sacred cows when it comes to comedy, after all.
Skit 1- POW Bondage Tape: There are 4 soldiers in a POW camp in some obscure desert/jungle. You pick your fancy – Afghanistan, Vietnam, Japan, whatever. It doesn’t matter, because the goal of ADD to present us with “irreverent comedy content”. For weeks, they’ve been tortured at the hands of their captors for refusing to give up vital combat information. Once every week (and they never know when *hahahaa!!*) one of them is plucked at random to participate in a mock execution… usually the scrawny guy least likely to defend himself of who looks like he’s the weakest. They do all kinds of things to his body – stick him with hot pokers, sodomize him with foreign objects, read him letters that say his wife and kids at home have died in a horrible fire. But one day the troops arrive and set him free! He’s on his way home – back to America, PTSD and all. Let’s by all means do a parody skit of his life in the years that follow.
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Well, that’s just too bad… ‘cause poor little Anne died in a Nazi concentration camp. You know what would be hilarious? If Russell Simmons ‘n dem did a skit on how Anne Frank and all her gurlz were getting all dressed up for the big Bieber Concert, but had their hopes dashed when the Nazi Storm Troopers showed up at their house when assault rifles and a one way ticket to Auschwitz. God. Wouldn’t that be funny? The funniest thing you’ve ever seen??
Skit 3- Mohammed: Y’all must think I’m stupid. There’s probably an Islamic radical outside my house with a red dot trained on my forehead for even thinking it…
Skit 4 – Find the Clitoris: What if – and this is just an idea, so stay with me – what IF we had a skit of a bunch of 4, 5, 6 and 7 year old girls all lined up in some remote village somewhere in Africa. They’re naked, save for a few waist beads or whatever it is primitive Africans wear. Why are they naked? Because it’s the day they become women folks! This is the day their clitorises get cut off and their labial folds get sewed SHUT. The funny part is (and this is SO funny) they get to keep their clitoris if they can find it in this bucket of other severed clitorises saved from girls who have been mutilated over the last thirty years. I’m cracking up over here!
Skit 5 – Stop Being So Dramatic and Just Kill Yourself: Okay, okay. So. There’s a girl. She’s 15 – only she’s a BOY, right? And her classmates have been bullying the crap out of her. She’s miserable. Every day waking up feels like a death sentence. What IF – just like Harriet Tubman in her Sex Tape – what IF she takes her power back -and shows those bullies they can’t get the best of HER – and walks into the assembly hall and shoots herself in the head in front of all the kids, the principal, the janitor (who is really upset because he’s going to have to clean all that up), everybody. Then we can do a parody of all the kids who have to go to counseling for the next few years and perhaps through in a dream sequence of all their nightmares for good measure. Maybe throw in some flashbacks and references to Sandy Hook?
*Whhooooo!!* So funny!!!
I have tons of other skits. How Elizabeth Smart really wanted it. How Oscar Grant would still be alive if he had just sat his happy self down. And if you want to get more contemporary, we can do a parody of all the people in Egypt who got up from their prayer mats on Friday and walked into a spray of bullets. Good thing they were ready to meet their maker! No better time to die than right after the salat. Hahahaaa!!!
Wait. Why aren’t y’all laughing?
Because some things, perhaps, should not be made light of. And maybe – just maybe – just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you should. Isn’t that what we tell toddlers and school kids? To practice some self-freaking-control? Why are we holding millionaires like Russell Simmons to a standard lower than we would a pre-schooler?
No. He does not get a pass. He needs to atone for this. Celebrities (and other people who follow their example) keep screwing up, offering us half-baked public apologies for their mistakes, and that’s supposed to be the end of it. You know why an apology of this sort rings hollow in my ears and many others’? Because in three weeks someone else is going to do something just as heinous. It’s a wicked cycle, and the perpetrators just don’t seem to be learning from their mistakes or changing their behavior.
In conclusion: if you’re an asswipe thinking about doing something similar in the name of “art” or “freedom of expression” here’s a piece of advice: DON’T.