Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jesus Knows My Heart: Why that Excuse Doesn't Work for Russell Simmons Or Anyone Else

By now you probably know about Russell Simmons' infamous Harriet Tubman sex tape parody. Yes, I used "Harriet Tubman" and "sex tape" in the same sentence.

For some unfathomable reason, Hip-hop mogul and now confirmed idiot Russell Simmons decided to launch his All Def Digital YouTube Channel with a parody video depicting Harriet Tubman as some sort of overweight vixen who uses sex to blackmail massa into helping her free the slaves. No, I'm NOT making this up.

As soon as Russy posted this trash (lawd!), people read him for filth, dragged him through the filth and demanded that the filth be taken down. Cue the apologies and explanations which were also disturbing because they revealed Russell's willful ignorance, callousness, and extraordinary stupidity.

While the episode was obviously tragic and ridiculous on every level, what got me were the Russell apologists who defended his indefensible actions with the "I know his heart" excuse. Example A: Michael Skolnick, Russy's political director and EIC of

"And most importantly, I know what is in this man’s heart. I know that it is full of goodness and compassion.  If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t show up to work on Monday morning."

Yeah, Russell signs his paychecks, but similar sentiment has been expressed by others not on Russell's payroll, which is disturbing on so many levels.

How many times have you heard people use a variation of this excuse, such as "Jesus knows my heart" when they want to justify their trifling behavior. You know what I'm talking about, like when someone never goes to church, but is quick to say"Jesus knows my heart." Or, when someone doesn't fulfill an obligation or bails on a commitment, but soothes their conscience with "Jesus knows my heart."

Newsflash: Your actions reflect what's in your heart.  In the case of Russell Simmons, the same heart that can spur a man to be a philanthropist and a Trayvon Martin champion can also desecrate an abolitionist heroine with a disgusting and profoundly disturbing parody and call it "the funniest thing I've ever seen."  He also needed his famous friends to explain to him why what he did was so deeply offensive. Yeah, your heart is telling me all I need to know.

The same rule applies for us ordinary folks. It's not about your words or intentions, it's about your actions which stem directly from that organ in the middle of your chest. So the next time I hear someone say that they know a person's heart I'm going to call them on it and say "No, you don't." It may be cliche, but actions speak louder and more convincingly than words. 

Stay random,


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