The Dark Side: An Oral History Of Black Porn

Jul 11, 2012
Editorial
0 0

DIANA DEVOE WAS WELL aware of the consequences.

You have to be when you aspire to break into the porn business. There’s the specter of AIDS. Family rejection. An unavoidable scarlet letter that is forever branded onto those individuals who are brazen— or disturbed, or adventurous—enough to be paid to perform sexual acts on camera.

DeVoe, a college-educated native of Hawaii, had always had a fascination with the adult film industry going back to her days when she briefly operated a swinger’s club in the late ’90s in her home state. But as she sat in a cluttered Los Angeles office in the winter of 1999, there was no turning back. “I didn’t have any moral issues with porn because I was already shooting people doing it,” the 36-yearold explains from her L.A. home. However, as an African-American, what DeVoe wasn’t fully prepared for was what she calls unapologetic racism. “The guy at my first meeting told me, ‘We can’t sell Black women… You’re not desirable to our audience.

But if you’d like to give me a blow job behind the desk really quick, that would be cool.’” She laughs at the absurdity. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m so offended you asked me that,’ because I wasn’t doing it. It was the mixed message of, ‘You are completely unattractive as a Black woman, but come here and get on your knees.’” She has since left behind her days as an adult performer to become a successful porn director, and her story represents just one of several divergent African-American experiences within the polarizing porn profession.

The sometimes-dark world of X-rated erotica is not immune to the stinging reality of discrimination. Meanwhile, practitioners of professional pornography face the same overarching issues concerning their livelihood. The multibillion-dollar industry is battling through a decline in revenues, studios have reported a 30 percent drop off as far back as 2009 (blame pirated online content and the ability for virtually anyone to shoot an adult fi lm on the cheap). None of these issues have been enough to bridge the gap. Interracial porn may be one of the industry’s most popular genres.

Yet, past and present white female porn stars such as retired legend Jenna Jameson and current blue queen Alexis Texas have refused to perform with Black men. It’s not just an issue of segregation. African-American porn actors
are often paid less than their white counterparts (a Black female headliner may get $500 to $700 a scene, white females by contrast can routinely bank more than $1,000). Based on the testimonies of De-Voe and the trailblazing actors who spoke to VIBE on record for this story, Black porn operators are still largely regarded as the “other.” Here, they undress the industry with a type of oral history that gives insight into life as a Black porn star.
MAMA, I WANT TO BE A (PORN) STAR

JEAN VAL JEAN, 70 (male): Transitioned from porn acting to directing in the ‘90s
(Active Years: 1981–1998)
As a swinger, I used to go to New York’s Plato’s Retreat sex club in the late ’70s. And one of the guys that used to give parties got into porn. So one day, he calls me and says, “You should try it out.” There were not a lot of Black people doing porn back then, except for people like Johnny Keyes and Desiree West. I started with the advent of video, and I was working with a lot of the ’70s stars. Video was a lot faster, cheaper and easier to work with than
8mm film. I didn’t have a problem with getting it up in front of a whole bunch of people [laughs].

LEXINGTON STEELE, 42: Veteran porn performer and director and owner of the mainstream adult fi lm company Mercenary Pictures
(Active Years: 1996–Current)
I was a Wall Street stockbroker. Around ’94, the broker that I had trained under invited me to a swinger’s party. My turn came around, and I had some fun with it. I met a photographer named Nevin Washington at another swinger’s party, and I started doing some adult modeling in magazines. My role model was Sean Michaels. Once I knew I could make a living as an adult performer I said, “Well, let me chase the fantasy while I can.”

PINKY, 30: In-demand adult fi lm star in straight and lesbian genres
(Active Years: 2006–Current)
I had been a dancer and an escort before I was doing porn. But it really started when me and my boyfriend at the time started making home movies. We decided to start our own [adult film] company and do something big. You have to know that when you go into porn that your family will find out. And they will most likely not like it. Someone is going to hate on you and leave your DVD on your doorstep or in your mailbox.

MISTY STONE, 26: The most prominent African- American female adult film performer in mainstream porn
(Active Years: 2006–Current)
I was molested by my father, who is now deceased. That experience definitely messed up my mind. From that I went into the falling path of being a porn star. You start with being with a pimp to being a stripper. And after the dancing I went into the porn business. At first it was only for money, but now I feel like this is where I belong, because I am controlling my own destiny. I love being on camera… I’m a total attention whore. It’s a screwed-up situation how I got here, but I’m now very happy where I am.

SKIN DIAMOND, 25: A rising alternative star in the Adult film and bondage and submission world
(Active Years: 2009–Current)
Although I’m a mix of Ethiopian, Danish, Yugoslavian, Czech and German, I knew I was Black. I got a lot of racial bullying. I had a pretty strict upbringing growing up in Scotland. My dad was a missionary. But I was always intrigued with sex and women because I had seen a few clips of porn when I was younger. I got into the porn business by accident. My parents found out within a month. My dad was afraid that I was going to start prostituting myself behind the scenes and getting into drugs and basically being what everyone stereotypes a porn star as being.

NEXT: SHOOTING IN BLACK AND WHITE
JANET JACME, 45: AVN Hall of Famer, who has starred in 150 films
(Active Years: 1993–2001)
I only did movies with Black men my first year because that’s what I was used to [laughs]. I really didn’t see the white side of porn for a while. And then they started calling me. There was one white boy who rocked my world, so that’s when I figured, “This is not bad.” But the white girls wanted to get more money for having sex with a Black dude than they would get for a normal scene. That was pretty much the first thing that made me go, “Wow, that’s pretty damn racist.” Of course I saw the unequal pay between whites and Blacks. I realized I couldn’t get a contract with certain companies because I was Black. I didn’t have that certain exotic look that they wanted.

MR. MARCUS, 41: Star, producer, director and founder of Daddy Inc., a made-to-order clothing line
(Active Years: 1994–Current)
The funny thing is you meet a girl and she won’t shoot with you because you’re Black. But when the money dries up, then they start to consider, Well, I haven’t done interracial yet. It’s just out of pure ignorance. There was one girl that would do this thing on the Internet and it became pretty big. She was doing the whole Webcam thing when it was first starting. The way they wanted it done is the girl would call the Black guy she was having sex with “nigger.” And I was like, “Nah… she ain’t gonna call me that.”

HEATHER HUNTER: When I started in the business, I was being billed as being Black and Italian. I had to hurry up and nip that in the bud and let people know I was proud to be African-American. And then there were the titles of the movies. My manager and I didn’t really want to do any stereotypical titles like Chocolate Swirl. The porn companies did not give contracts to Black girls back then. And I just felt, “Well, why can’t the African-Americans do that?” And when I got signed to Vivid in 1990, I became the first Black female to be under contract.

MISTY STONE: The bottom is getting $300 a scene. Whereas now I’m getting $1,300 a scene. It took a while for me to get that. And there are African-American girls now who will never reach that goal. They will always get $600 or $700. That’s just the way it is. I think my publicist, James Bartholet, had a lot to do with [getting me better pay]. Having someone who can market you is a big deal.

BELLA MORETTI: Film star on the rise
(Active Years: ‘09–Current)
The sad thing that I hear a lot from white guys is, “Man, I don’t usually like Black girls…” My first interracial scene on camera, I was so embarrassed because the movie was called Black Chicks on Cracker Dicks. I had to shoot a scene where I had to blow eight white guys, and the director wanted them to wear Confederate flags. And I thought, Aw, no! I made them take it off.

PINKY: Honestly, I had a very good experience coming into the business. Racism never really came across. It was more Black-on-Black hate. They want to point the finger at white people. There are a lot of Black-owned companies that never offered me a distribution deal. So I ended up going with Black Market, which is not owned by a Black person. And a lot of people were salty that I did a deal with them. But those Black companies weren’t trying to give me opportunities.

ROXY REYNOLDS, 28: Actress, producer, and owner of porn company Hard Body Entertainment
(Active Years: ‘06–Current)
I did a tour with Jenna Haze, Alexis Texas and Alektra Blue. I was the only Black female on the tour. I don’t think we ever got discriminated against like that. If you don’t do certain things like anal you don’t get as much as the [white] girls that do. But the Black girls get paid more than the white girls when we perform in the clubs. The white girls are knocking out two or three scenes a day versus Black girls who will knock out maybe one scene a week. So they are supposed to get more.

NEXT: SEX, AIDS, AND THE GAY-STRAIGHT DIVIDE
JEANNIE PEPPER, 53: Female superstar of the ‘80s, 1997 inductee into the AVN Hall of Fame
(Active Years: 1984–2007)
It was scary in the ’80s. There was a lot of risks when it came to AIDS. My mom and my family were concerned, and I don’t blame them. You were taking a risk every time you walked on the set. And AIDS was still new to us. People needed to take their own tests. There wasn’t any mandatory AIDS and STD testing like they have now.

PINKY: I caught diseases in my first run during my first trip to L.A. I’m really open and honest about that, even though people like to make fun of me. Luckily it wasn’t nothing that I couldn’t get rid of. So I decided to only shoot my own stuff. I started making sure I did condom shoots. That’s my personal preference, because I started to feel like it wasn’t worth risking my life.

DIANA DEVOE: There have been guys that have successfully crossed over from gay to straight [porn]. But there is a division. The gay porn industry uses condoms, but they have people who are HIV positive actively working. [The AIDS Healthcare Foundation] has no problem with that. But they were so successful in fighting [the straight porn industry] that they destroyed the central place where we got tested. Now what’s important about having a central place to get tested is that you don’t have tests coming from different places. When something happens it’s easier to trace back because everyone got tested in one facility. So in the pursuit of trying to make us safer, they made us less safe.

MR. MARCUS: I would get asked if I did gay movies. And I think that’s something that is in people’s minds when it comes to guys in the industry. But it’s not something that you have to do. There are bisexual men out there… And there are gay men out there. I don’t cross that line because I’m not interested in that type of sexuality. But if that’s your thing, that’s cool.

LEXINGTON STEELE: I’ve been tested every single month since December of 1994. Knock on wood, it always comes back negative. I don’t know how they are going to enforce the new condom law. If Mercenary is shooting in L.A. or France or Miami, you can’t tell where I’m shooting at. The reasoning behind the law is understandable, but the implementation will be very difficult. Are you going to spend money on the condom police?
POST INTERRACIAL

LEXINGTON STEELE: The way you achieve mainstream status is when your name is considered more recognized as a household name. That’s when you show up in a mainstream television show or movie, whether it’s being cast in Crank 2 with Jason Statham or Showtime’s Weeds. There are people who have misgivings about the adult industry. How can you be a spiritual person and still be in the business is a very strong, valid argument against what I do. But as the head of Mercenary Pictures, there are two things that are very important to me: that my product is not accessible to people under the age of 18, and that I never misrepresent myself as a Black man.

HEATHER HUNTER: When you come from the adult film business people feel like that’s all you. But I made it happen. I got into music and signed a deal with Island Records, and then I signed to Tommy Boy Records after that. I’ve worked with Scott Storch, DJ Premier, Wyclef Jean and all my friends that were supporting what I was doing and helping me change my life. I wrote a novel and I opened an art gallery in Brooklyn. I had a show on Playboy TV with Sir Mix-A-Lot. And I ended up getting my own show on BET called The Peep Show. I have two online magazines. You have a lot of adult stars that can’t get into magazines like Smooth and Maxim. I’m creating [publications] to showcase them in a very classy way.

PINKY: Every time I’ve had a distribution deal, and I own my product. I get 70 percent of the profits. When girls ask me about getting into the business, the first thing I ask them is, “How old are you?” Usually they are teenagers, so I tell them they have their own lives ahead of them. This is something that once you do you can’t take back. Everybody can’t be a star. Porn is not what it’s cracked up to be. The game is getting slim. Illegal downloading is hurting the porn business. Bottom line: If you don’t own anything and if you are just the talent, it’s going to end bad for you.

From Vibe

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Spread the love
Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fake Mike South
Fake Mike South
8 years ago

I’d like to give Misty Stone an oral history.

Fake Monica Fostard
Fake Monica Fostard
8 years ago

I am a drunken attention whore, so I can not believe no one consulted ME on this project – especially if they want the TRUTH. I would have been only too happy to be interviewed at length via Skype. I am a highly educated, well known ex pornstar, hooker, cross eyed serial killer and tard. I am the only tard in the entire universe who knows the TRUTH about EVERYTHING. However, you chose to ignore me. Therefore, you leave me NO option but to create yet another blog and website. I will EXPOSE you all!!! I pray to God and… Read more »

TrafficHolder.com - Buy & Sell Adult Traffic
3
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x