In defense of a fellow Harriet, or, Russell Simmons, what is wrong with you?

She’s not amused, and neither am I. (Picture from the Library of Congress).

Even though Harriet is not my real name, I feel a certain fondness for Harriets, both fictional (Vane, the Spy) and real (Waters, Beecher Stowe, Nelson) — and of course, Harriet Tubman.

But even if we didn’t share a chosen name (did you know that Tubman’s owners named her Araminta?  She chose to go by Harriet at around the same time she began planning her escape from slavery)*, I’d still be writing about Harriet Tubman today.

Sadly, it isn’t because of her amazing life story, or the effects of her courageous work with the Underground Railroad.

No, I’m writing about Harriet Tubman because Russell Simmons thought it would be funny to create a “Drunk History”-like** video*** in which Tubman uses a sex tape to blackmail her owner. Continue reading