Black Representation, Not Stereotypes: How the Adult Industry Can Do Better to Stop Racism
High-profile creatives show how brands can move past performative activism to real-time solutions.
Amid the re-awakening of the Black Lives Matter movement, global industries worldwide are being called out and faced with adapting to an economy wherein Black people spend $1.2 trillion annually in America.
This group represents a vocal, yet untapped creative marketplace, but is constantly unfairly demeaned and degraded.
Acts of performative activism like entirely changing brand names or making donations to causes seem minimal when attempting to overcome either an industry's past actions or the cumulative impact of systemic and multi-generational racism.
That being said, the industry likely best-equipped to handle reparational real-time solutions, is intriguing enough, adult entertainment.
Royal Fetish Films [NSFW] co-owner, director, adult film performer and sexpert King Noire, as well as actress, writer, production manager, and the Free Speech Coalition's Industry Relations Representative Lotus Lain are at the progressive edge of where the adult industry redevelops Black relationships to white mainstream industries.
In discussing the future of how adult entertainment as an industry navigates turning Black Lives Matter from an empowering phrase to a concrete reality, an impressively positive future emerges.
Black representation, not fetishization
“We have to de- ‘racialize' the industry, and not promote Blackness as a disgusting stereotype in porn,” King Noire begins.
“Many white people, and people in general, are introduced to Black people via porn. There's a spectrum to Blackness in sex. We can, and should be making beautiful porn that appreciates, instead of fetishizes, people's races,” Noire adds about his bottom-line expectations of how adult industries can immediately and radically alter themselves.
Noire continues, with a bold, measured tone:
“We need more Black folks behind the camera, and sitting on boards for industry standard-bearers like AVN and XBIZ. Plus, more Black people working as heads of studios would be helpful, too. Overall, we needed greater Black representation in all facets of the industry. It's obvious, by the heavily racialized nature of seeing Black people, men in my case, stereotyped as thugs, in jail, or chasing after white women, that the people putting this stuff out don't have any Black people working with them. Or the Black people they have working with them are so afraid of losing their jobs that they're not going to say anything.”
Black-led adult spaces
Concerning visible, high-profile Black representation in the adult industry, Lotus Lain is, at present, in an exciting situation. On June 27, her latest film, Pink and White Productions-produced Chemistry Eases The Pain [NSFW], was released.
It's directed by acclaimed African-American female director Shine Louise Houston, and Lain is the film's marquee star. Pink and White is a globally renowned indie-to-mainstream juggernaut. Thus, the idea that, at this time, so much Blackness is front and center, is extraordinarily noteworthy.
Lain can count on one hand the number of times that she's worked with Black directors in her career. However, whenever possible, she notes that she likes her creative spaces to be “Black on sight!”
Insofar as the experience making Pink and White's feature, her thoughts are positive and reveal a level of unique humanity in being a Black creative working in a Black-led space.
“It felt normal, relaxing, and humanizing, Lain says. “There was consideration involved that isn't found on other sets. It felt like being at a cookout at my cousin's house.”
Shooting quality content
King Noire continues and offers a pointed note. “If we look at how certain things are done and shot, people give Blacked.com credit for nicely shooting Black people. But (veteran Black female porn star) Pinky was doing that years ago, without a Blacked.com-size budget”
Regarding what makes the DIY mentality that informs so much of Black creativity in the adult industry, Noire's thoughts mimic those regarding Black excellence against the odds in any industry.
“We are, for real, the ‘lemonade out of lemons' people! I can scroll down my Twitter timeline, and I can see people shooting 4K quality content with their iPhones and $50 lights from Amazon! Black people have to carve out our niche, but we take that to the highest level of creativity, art, and self-expression.”
Both Lain and Noire note that social media is an essential part of sourcing new Black stars in adult entertainment.
“The numbers are going up because a lot of people got tired of not being represented. We have many independent, self-marketed entrepreneurs in porn,” Noire says.
Source Black talent
Lain is far more direct.
“Go on Twitter, look at a thread of one sex worker tagging all of her hot Black friends, and you have an instant call sheet. The excuses [by major studios] for not using them can't be, ‘Oh, she's an OnlyFans girl. Many of those girls, if contacted by a professional studio for a booking, would be interested in being booked. It's lazy to say that you ‘don't know where they are.'”
Even deeper, Lain recounts that the crew for the first professional movie she was able to produce, through Erika Lust’s XConfessions [NSFW].
This crew included two Black actors, a Black queer female stills photographer, plus African-American, Grammy-winning band Free Nationals scored the film.
Black creatives in the adult industry can, if given the opportunity, perform equal to or beyond their white counterparts' standards.
Lain finishes her statement regarding the necessity for sourcing for available Black talent with a note tinged with an appeal to the adult industry's capitalistic urges.
“Just grow up. We're not dumb little porn stars who can't access numbers and research things on our own. Pornhub's stats note that African-American-related porn searches are in their top three. That's an incredible number for something that's so neglected. Do they NOT want this money?”
However, in a separate note, King Noire observes the how and why of Black representation at-present in porn, noting a general across-the-board baseness defining the highest level of industry intent.
“Even when you don't add race to it, people appeal to the lowest common denominator, nine times out of ten, because they think it sells. It's not about art; it's about money.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and the onset of a global recession, the estimated $6 billion per year that the sex and adult industry earns will be unquestionably impacted.
Thus, it likely behooves the pornography industry to evolve past lowbrow thuggery and defaming stereotyping to a more ethical and empathetic industry where a broader spectrum of newer and yes, Blacker, talents, and productions are embraced.
“Black people are innovators in food, music, and dance, worldwide. But, I still can't find Black people engaging in fetish play where they're not the fetish? You can't fetishize a person,” says an exasperated King Noire.
An adult industry where the money is made less because someone endured stigmatization to one where people's uniqueness is celebrated to its commercial benefit, is ideal. In developing such an industry, a blueprint emerges for less performative, and more concretely substantial activism. This gladly ensures, as Lotus Lain's Twitter name currently says, “BLM forever.”