Touré Calls Female Slaves ‘Sexually Heroic’

by Geneva S. Thomas

An intriquing dialouge has emerged on rape and slavery. Nearly a month ago, Gawker revealed that commentator Touré tweeted a series of comments praising raped slaves for seducing their white masters. The now removed tweets said:

“Many, many, many of our great grandmothers were raped in slavery. But surely a few of them were loved and surely some… were cunning and brilliant enough to use their bodies to gain liberation thus fooling massa. Of course most were raped, we know that, but some were sharp enough to trade that good-good for status or liberation. They are absolutely not hos. They’re sexually heroic. They’re self-liberating by any means necessary.”

Yesterday, The Root’s Natalie Hopkinson tapped writer, Dolen Perkins-Valdez who recently published the historic novel, Wench. Perkins-Valdez offers a much needed historical accurracy on alleged promiscuous female slaves. “During slavery, black women were portrayed as seducing men. The ‘wenches’ were so sexual that the white men couldn’t resist them. The author continues, “The use of the phrase “good-good” objectifies women in the same way that slavery objectified women. It reinforces that idea that women were just bodies to be used in any way.”

Wench, Perkins-Valdez’s debut novel explores a complex and oblivious part of slavery. The story follows the lives of four women at a resort among popular slaveholders who bring their enslaved mistresses.

After being called out by the blog, What About Our Daughters, MSNBC, who employs Toure as a part-time contributer recently released a statement distancing the network from his comments.

Although Touré reportedly apologized, perhaps he will think twice the next time he tweets about a history he clearly has no idea about.

  • Alicia

    This is akin to calling trafficked sex workers “sexually liberated.”


  • myss kym

    I have read Perkins-Valdez’s novel Wench and it is an absolutely wonderful read! I urge Clutchettes out there to read this novel because it sheds light on this complex part of Black American history. I would love to see an article or blog post on this book!!!

  • rachel stewart

    I know we dont like to admit it..BUT there were slaves who did have consensual affairs with their owners,of course there was rape and brutality thats not to be denied..but there were women, who may have done things they didnt wanna do to make things better for themselves and their children…women have always done this and continue to do it…

    what about Sally Hemmings? of the hundreds of slaves owned by Thomas Jefferson, they had children together, yes he owned her as a slave..and yes they had an affair too..
    Is it so hard to beleive that a woman, under those conditions would not use her sexuality in some instances?…thats not far fetched..for hundreds of years..dont you think that it did occur?…not saying when it did it was flowers and romance but it did happen.
    with that said…I can’t stand Toure’

  • isolde

    “I know we dont like to admit it..BUT there were slaves who did have consensual affairs with their owners”

    It can’t ever be completely consensual if someone owns you.

  • Zora

    Not to defend Toure – the way he made the argument was a little too much for me. But on its merits alone, people should read (or re-read) Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Many female slaves negotiated things to make their already difficult lives more bearable and this includes matters relating to sex. (Jacobs, for example, became pregnant by a white man who wasn’t her slave owner so that she would be protected from her slave owner’s sexual advances). It’s not to say that this was liberating though – it wasn’t.

    But power is not necessarily absolute – it is often shared and achieved through various compromises. Slave masters had to reckon with this reality. And to depict black female slaves as only victims who did not have the cunning to use what little power they had however they could, does a disservice and promotes a one-dimensional view of them, that we often decry when others do so.

    In short, it was complicated.

  • Anyah

    First of all, this fool isn’t even married to a Black woman. His wife however is very successful and beautiful but the fact remains: he has no credibility to provide insight on a race of women he isn’t even in full support of. NEXT story please.

  • Tiffany W.

    All this time I thought he was gay…

  • ShAdE~n~SuMmEr

    @ Tiffany W. OMD!!! i’m with you- he has always seemed a lil’ suspect.
    @Anyah- I also agree that he should stick to what he knows and the fact does still remain that he has decided to pro-create outside of his race and that tends to close ears and minds to his personal voice when it concerns the black female in any aspect.

  • coldcase

    @zora, many things are complicated but it does not change the dynamics of the enslavement and abuse and manipulation that was slavery. The fact that many men watched as their wives and children were raped did not mean they consented to a threesome or were peeping Tom’s. Sex does get complicated, but it need not be romanticized by naive journalists like Toure.

  • honee

    I will keep it real and state that right now I can’t post anything intelligent…I just wanna curse that fugly fool out…this isn’t the first time he has shown his ignorance toward black women…I think he is gay and is angry he can’t be a black woman…

    I don’t understand how his seemingly intelligent wife can lie down with him.

  • Clnmike

    “It can’t ever be completely consensual if someone owns you.”

    To me that is the bump in the road for me to agree with Toure.

    I do not find anything that he said to be factually incorrect and it seems to be naive to say that there were no women who used the only thing that they had, even if they didnt even own that out right, to make some type of advancement.

    But how “willing” a particpant or instigator a woman is in this is iffy when she is in chains.

    It’s an extra sensitive topic so emotions would cloud clear analysis.

    But one thing is for sure, given that he pulled this out of the air, then tried to say he didnt say it, then apologised for it, I would have to say that no Toure is not the number one fan of black women right now.

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