‘The Real’ Reacts to the Controversial Harriet Tubman Debit Card

Loni Love is right: “It’s not a joke. This is our legacy.”

Last week, OneUnited Bank divided social media users when they unveiled their limited-edition debit card featuring a picture of Harriet Tubman doing what some believe is the “Wakanda Forever” pose from “Black Panther.”

While some thought the Black History Month-themed card was a contemporary tribute to the abolitionist, others felt its capitalist agenda contradicted Tubman’s values.

On Tuesday’s live episode of “The Real,” hosts Amanda Seales, Jeannie Mai, Loni Love, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Adrienne Houghton reacted to the controversial story.

For Seales, the topic reminded her of a bit she performs in her HBO comedy special “I Be Knowin’.”

“I have a whole bit about Harriet Tubman not being a jokester. But part of me really feeling like, you know, to go through what Harriet went through, she had to have some jokes,” the “Insecure” actress remarked.

Though Amanda noted the importance of “[holding] reverence for our icons and our legends,” she suggested OneUnited Bank may have muddled their homage to Tubman.

“It just was a lot of things all in one place happening. Wakanda ain’t a real place, then it’s Harriet, then it’s on a card, then the bank was getting bad reviews, and I was like, ‘Ahh!’” Seales exclaimed.

While discussing her take on the issue, Love slams any attempt to profit off the legacy of influential black figures.

“I feel like it’s that person on Crenshaw that’s always making them flyers, and with the T-shirts, they always using, like, Martin Luther King, [Jr.] like ‘Come to the MLK [event].’ Stop using. It’s not a joke. This is our legacy,” the comic said.

After facing the wrath of social media, OneUnited Bank released a statement last week noting that their image of Tubman was not making the “Black Panther” pose, but the sign language symbol for love.

“Harriet Tubman is the ultimate symbol of love — love that causes you to sacrifice everything, including your own life. The gesture is the sign language symbol for love. It’s so important that we love ourselves,” the company wrote in a tweet.

Additionally, President and COO Terri Williams doubled down on the debit card in an interview with TMZ last Friday.

While noting that the trust company is the “largest black-owned bank,” she said, “We absolutely stand by the card… We are unapologetically black.”


More In Real Talk