Friday, August 16, 2013


Hey everybody!!! If you have not heard, Russell Simmons had to issue an apology for a video that was uploaded to his new Youtube channel, All Def Digital.  Considering the vast variety of videos that are on Youtube, you are probably wondering what is the problem with this video.  The title alone might cause outrage: Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.  This is a sketch where Harriet plans to blackmail her master by making a sex tape with him. 

In a society where we can make a scene where a baby is punched in the face (The Campaign), a comedy sketch about Harriet Tubman is crossing the line.  Tweeters made the argument that Harriet Tubman is too sacred to make her into a spoof.  When making a video like this, we are making ourselves desensitize to this horrible time in history.  But my question is, should we be that offended by a Youtube video that was made to be funny?

Comedy is just that, comedy.  Comedy is used to make fun of the real world.  Comedy is used to show the absurdity of a bad situation.  Comedy is used to help people get through difficult times.  I am not saying that certain comedies cannot offend but I believe we are becoming too sensitive when we start asking people to take videos down and give public apologies.  There has been times I have been watching something that was consider "funny" but I found it offensive.  Let's take multiple episodes of Family Guy, for example.  For awhile, I stopped watching the show.  There was a joke about child molestation and that was just too much.  So I stopped watching it.  As simple as that, I turn the channel and watched something else.  I did not need Seth MacFarlane to write me an apology for the episode nor am I going to to start a petition to get the episode banned from television. 

At some point, we became a hyper-sensitive society, especially when it came to race.  To a degree I can understand.  The entertainment industry has a history of taking cheap shots at minorities.  Even in 2013, black actresses have to fight to get roles besideds stereotypical roles in movies and TV shows.  In the 21st century, black women are still cast as the sassy sidekick and every couple of decades, Viola Davis and Halle Berry will get a shot to play something other wise.  So yea, I get it,  this video most definitely is not helping the movement for good roles for black actresses.  But do we have the right to demand apologies every time we are collectively offended?

That brings me to another issue.  I have a huge problem with public apologies.  I have just never seen one done right and they never come off genuine.  It is understood that the accused celebrity is only apologizing because their publicist advised them to do so. When Rick Ross apologized for his infamous rape lyrics, I think I was more offended by his apology than by the lyric.  I gave better apologies before I was about to get a whooping than this correctional officer turned gangsta rapper.  Russell Simmons' apology was definitely forced by a publicist. 

Was the video funny? Not at all.  Not only because of the subject matter but the video was just not funny, like how The Other Guys was not funny.   Do I feel it should have been taken down? No.  We as a people need to learn to do what I do when I don't like something: Turn the channel. 

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