Def Jam's Russell Simmons isn't a businessman. He's a business, man. Simmons' latest venture saw him launch a YouTube channel in cooperation with DreamWorks.
According to Variety, Simmons teamed with DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV to launch All Def Digital, a new YouTube channel that will feature urban music, comedy and All Def Poetry videos featuring spoken-word performances. The comedy programming will include "Blackie Sack," a parody about the first African-American hacky sack player.
Simmons said in a statement that YouTube provided the perfect platform to promote a new generation of "up-and-coming talent and the new art forms they create."
The channel's first offering, though, was a Harriet Tubman "sex tape" video that offended, like, everyone with eyes and/or ears and caused Simmons to promptly remove the video and apologize. The premise of the sketch was that Harriet Tubman slept with her slave owner while another slave filmed the tryst so that Tubman could later blackmail "Massa" into letting her run the Underground Railroad.
Simmons posted an apology to Globalgrind.com.
In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian. When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.
I’m a very liberal person with thick skin. My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.
In case you were concerned that the controversy might deter Simmons and company from producing other groundbreaking comedy sketches, rest easy knowing that the channel's second video will focus on President Obama's "Commando in Chief" alter-ego, "B-Rock." Innovative.
Though it's been pulled from the channel, the full "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" video is still available on YouTube. Be warned that it's probably NSFW and could be considered highly offensive. [Kansas City Star]