This is a simple call to action. Dragging Russell Simmons on Twitter isn't enough. He doesn't get away with disrespecting Harriet Tubman's image and legacy.
In the past I've been vocal on Twitter whenever Russell Simmons tweets something that I believe is completely hypocritical, considering his affiliations and his legacy. He pretends to be some kind of civil rights leader when he is partly responsible for the ignorance that is rampant in the black community and hip hop culture. In fact, he still profits off of the ignorance.
Russell Simmons is certainly no Malcolm X. Malcolm X did dirt in his youth, but he admitted his wrongs and overcame them for the good of the community.
Russell Simmons is also NO Harriet Tubman. That's for sure. Harriet put her very life on the line time after time to save black people.
I took a few days to process the Harriet Tubman video release and subsequent outrage. I like to take a little while to observe before blogging on an issue like this. The video depicted one of my sheros, Harriet Tubman, in one of the most despicable ways you can ever depict a woman.
And Russell Simmons really thought it was hilarious! If this is how he feels about a black woman ICON, imagine how he feels about your average black woman walking the streets.
He found the video hilarious, just like many black men found the video of a young black woman being beaten and kicked by one of his proteges, Lil Reese, hilarious.
Do you see a trend here? Black women as objects of amusement rather than actual people. That's what women are upset about.
So What Are You Going to DO About It?
I've read a few great articles written by black woman feminists and womanists on the matter, including this one. I've observed the many conversations on Twitter and am glad to see that the overwhelming majority of black people didn't like seeing Harriet Tubman depicted in that light.
But I must ask. What are you going to about it now?
After the trending topics and Twitter draggings fade away, what is really going to happen to Russell Simmons? He's still rich, and that's all that really matters to guys like him, so getting verbally cursed out by an army of women and thoughtful brothers doesn't really phase him.
How long are we going to sit by idly as he and others continue to make money off of the ugliest aspects of black American culture?
A Call to Action
So I've decided to do my part, by using my platform to open up a serious discussion: what can we do to organize effectively against Russell Simmons and those similar to him?
All Rick Ross had to do was utter a few disrespectful lines to get the women's group, Ultraviolet, to step up and get his Reebook stripes snatched.
So what serious actions can black women groups, bloggers, writers, activists take after having Harriet Tubman's legacy sullied?
A few simple ideas I'd propose:
1) Do not purchase or support anything related to the Russell Simmons brand (that includes Def Jam, Def Poetry, Phat Farm, RUSH Cards and especially All Def Digital)
2) Do not click any Global Grind links, even when they're juicy stories (just do a search for the title -- chances are someone else has posted it)
3) Do not listen to or support any music artists that Russell Simmons gets the stamp of approval from.
I think this is a start. What other actions would you suggest?
Ladies, we're smart, innovative and dynamic. I'm sure we can think of something.