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Not everyone has forgiven Russell Simmons for his egregious decision to sign off on the offensive Harriet Tubman comedy skit for his All Def Digital YouTube network. The king of fashion himself, André Leon Talley recently blasted the former fashion mogul, claiming Simmons’ decision to air the video should have disqualified him from claiming a front-row spot during New York Fashion Week.

In an interview with theGrio, Talley—who is one of the most respected voices in the industry—argued coveted front-row slots should be reserved for those who deserve it.

“I think anyone that is a person of achievement on the front row that has achieved a great deal be they black or white is a good thing,” he explained.

“I don’t think Russell Simmons should be seated on anybody’s front row this week after having done that disgusting Harriet Tubman sex tape. He is a man of great achievement. He is a great philanthropist….why would he think it would be an honorable thing to do? He said he thought it was funny. That is not funny it is outrageously disrespectful to the legacy and history of Harriet Tubman and to the struggle.”

During the interview, Talley also discussed racism in the fashion industry, including how he was treated at Vogue upon his return to the venerable magazine.

Check out video of the interview below:

On hip-hop, Tom Ford, and Russell Simmons:

On racism in the fashion world:

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  • Nadell

    “I don’t think Russell Simmons should be seated on anybody’s front row this week after having done that disgusting Harriet Tubman sex tape. He is a man of great achievement. He is a great philanthropist….why would he think it would be an honorable thing to do? He said he thought it was funny. That is not funny it is outrageously disrespectful to the legacy and history of Harriet Tubman and to the struggle.”

    THANK YOU, Andre Leon Talley!
    Very commendable of him to call out Simmons for that despicable act.

  • ruggie

    ALT keeping it real.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    I have been following Talley for years now.

    OK, I am not really a fan or a stan but as a fashionista, I know what he is about.

    He has been a very big voice for getting more blacks from all over the diaspora involved in fashion (from modelling to the business end).

    He worked closely with the former editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland (RIP, you are surely missed! Daaaahling!)

    If I am not mistaken, he has donated heavily to HBCUs (don’t quote me on that but I could have sworn I read that about him a good long while back)

    So yeah, as a native of North Carolina from “back in the day” I am sure he as seen his fair share of racism.

    Talley layeth the smackdown on Uncle Russ with his back hand (which is gloved in the finest Louis Vuitton leather)!

    Eyes Wide Shut

  • The Other Jess

    I Love, love LOVE Mr. Talley for this!! At least somebody in the entertainment industry is not afraid to speak out against Simmons.