It’s no secret that there’s a troubling relationship between black women and adult film. Male consumers dominate the market and frankly, black women’s purchasing power is underestimated. Racial fantasies over saturate the market and porn directors continue to showcase voluptuous black women’s bodies as fetish pieces for white and black men. When will black women demand that their desires be recognized in adult entertainment? Where are the black feminist porn directors? The state of black feminist porn is dire; there are numerous obstacles ahead to achieving the visual production of black women’s desire and truthfully, the mantra needs to be “for us by us.”

Traditionally, feminism and porn don’t go together. With the growing strength of sex-positive feminism, pornography discourse has evolved into a multidimensional discussion beyond the well-known “all porn objectifies women” argument.

Sex writer Violet Blue writes, “The whole notion that a girl can get off watching porn, be in it, make it, and view sex work as positive — and be feminist — remains confusing for many…meanwhile ever-increasing thousands of women watch and enjoy all kinds of porn for personal gratification. Not because their boyfriends read an article in Maxim that gave them 10 easy steps to convince her to watch ‘I’ve Never Done This Before No. 48.’ Because women get off on explicit sexual imagery, and there’s not only data and studies to back that statement, but hoards of girls with vibrators in one hand and a mouse in the other…”

Still, what exactly is feminist porn?

Alison Lee, a pioneer of the Feminist Porn Awards, explains, “A porn film can be classified as feminist, I think, as soon as women are taken into account as viewers, and that as actors within the film, their own desires are taken into account. This means basically showing that women have just as much right to erotic entertainment as men do, and their desires and pleasure is important, too.”

Unfortunately, black feminist porn directors are one in a few. With limited production funds and an industry that remains set on racial fetishes, the adult films by black women for black women almost are non-existent. Renowned as the first adult film directed by and for women of color, Afrodite Superstar (2006) is a great discussion point on the power of black female directors challenging the stereotypes of black adult film. Directed by media personality and author Abiola Abrams under the pseudonym Venus Hottentot, Afrodite Superstar told the story of a young black woman born into wealth and finding her way through a new career as a female rapper. It is probably the only film that you will witness quotes by belle hooks and Gloria Steinem accompanied by 5 hot sex scenes, three of which were heterosexual, one lesbian, and one masturbatory. And yes, nudity, genital shots, and real sex are included.

Most notably, Abrams was determined to cast black women that truly reflect our community. In an interview with Babeland, Abrams states, “…certain things were important to me in this film—condom usage, dark skinned black women with natural textured hair and natural bodies. Dark skin, stretch marks, small breasts and afro textured hair are viewed largely as beauty liabilities. I wanted to create those things as a part of the visual landscape of this story.” And indeed, Simone Valentino, who played Afrodite and won the Feminist Porn Awards’ Best New Star for her performance, epitomized the natural beauty of black women.

Yet Abrams has no intention of directing another adult film, although Afrodite Superstar’s famous executive producer, Candida Royalle remains dedicated to giving black female directors the opportunity to direct films for us by us. Under her company, Femme Productions, she is producing a line of erotic films for women of color entitled Femme Chocolat. Afrodite Superstar was the first feature.

Who are the other black female directors taking on the plight of adult film? Well, there is Estelle Joseph, who directed the award-winning series, City of Flesh, that’s been praised by numerous sex-positive feminists. Additionally, there is Shine Louise Houston, who primarily produces female and female-to-male transgender adult flicks; her work also has received recognition by the feminist community. Yet, not every black female director makes adult films within a sex-positive framework with women as the target audience. I’d be remised to forget Diana Devoe, a well-known black female porn star and filmmaker, who directed films such as Big Tit Brotha Lovers 10, Black Gag 2, Booty Quake, and Miss Phat Booty. Unlike Joseph and Houston, Devoe’s films don’t target women as the primary audience and arguably, continue to perpetuate black female bodies as objects for male viewing pleasure. Yet, there is space for Joseph, Houston, and Devoe to simultaneously share their creativity within the adult entertainment industry, just like Dee Rees (Pariah), Ava Duvernay (I Will Follow), and Tyler Perry can create traditional films that appeal to various demographics of the black community.

The question still remains: when will black women demand that their desires be recognized in adult entertainment? As black women have different visual pleasures, it’s going to take more than one visionary to step up to the plate. Zane brought her famous book series, The Sex Chronicles, to television. Yet, I’d be hesitant to label that as “real” adult film. Where are the black female directors making adult films for black women? Isn’t it time that our desires be given a platform?

  • new moon

    Great question and good article. I would purchase an adult film geared towards my perception of ‘sexy sex’. That ish out now isn’t worth my $

  • http://abigailekue.com Abigail

    To answer your final question, yes. Yes, it is time that our desires be given a platform whether it’s “Black love” “gay” “interracial fantasies” “BDSM” or “fetish”. Having a Black female director, will give a certain intangible feel to the film, I’m sure. Women who look like me have sex, enjoy it and when watching porn would love to see “themselves” on the screen. I can see it now, “Afro Romp”…

  • S.

    “We All Love Porn”

    No “We” Don’t.

  • We ALL really DON’T

    Thank you S.

  • bob

    lol at this and women love judging men for watching porn, when you are just jealous porn does not cater to your desires go head make porn for black women, it can be a teaching tool for black men.

  • Brina

    Thank you so much for this article. As a subscriber to pornhub, I demand to see more of us in the industry acting out pleasures that are geared towards us/our fetishes. And can we please find some blk porn stars who look like care? I.E better bodies, hair, etc. I will check out afrodite.

  • http://www.VeronicaPearman.com Veronica Pearman

    Excellent article and you have highlighted some important questions that need to be asked! I would certainly support movies for us by us – absolutely! And I’d pay extra if they made pretty porn with some fashion and FAB shoes!

  • ash

    well most porn sucks to me(white or black).. i like porn with a story and passion..and some how lot of gay porn does that.. lol yes i am a girl and enjoy gay porn.. they have sets,props,good looking actors, good angles.. lmao and thats what i like..quality..
    so if black feminist going to make porn on a good quality setting.. kinda of hbo if they went more all the way…then hey I WILL WATCH gladly…
    ill be waiting lol

  • EmpressDivine

    Never heard those words together but if it’s possible I would support it.

  • http://blackloverules.blogspot.com lee

    Thanks for this article. I am a bit of a voyeur so I am not against watching porn. Sister’s are not always portrayed in a flattering manner. Zane’s Sex Chronicles is about as close to what I would like to see. I would welcome something geared towards black women or straight women in general.

  • B

    Thank you for covering an important and often extremely taboo subject. One of the ways in which black women can begin to reclaim sexuality for themselves is to discuss sex, whether “we” as black women all agree or not on what black sexuality looks like. The important thing is that black female sexuality is not to be hidden or exoticized in the dark. It’s ours for the taking and the making.

    Thanks for helping me to feel empowered!

  • Clnmike

    I purchased Afrodite Superstar, wrote about in a blog I had a couple of years ago. It was definitely different from mainstream porn geared to men. But I really question the appeal a movie like that has to women. It was interesting and well written by porn standards but visually it was as attractive as Whoopie Goldberg nude at the beach eating an ice cream cone. Part of the appeal of porn is the visual fantasy being shown for visual stimulation, regardless of whether it is watching, “attractive” people having sex or some type of fetish being displayed, (over sized body parts). The writer makes it seem that feminist do not enjoy the same or that it is wrong for them to do so. I don’t think it is as clear cut as that. I think when it comes to porn men and women are closer in mind set than what people think.

    Also some points of contention I have with Abrams views about porn.

    “…certain things were important to me in this film—condom usage, dark skinned black women with natural textured hair and natural bodies. Dark skin, stretch marks, small breasts and afro textured hair are viewed largely as beauty liabilities. I wanted to create those things as a part of the visual landscape of this story.”

    She makes it seem that these things are rare in porn. Not true at all, they are common place since way back in the hey day of actresses like Ebony Ayes, Jeannie Peppers, and Angel Kelly. Now true the industry is geared toward men in terms of presentation I wonder exactly how much more different is the sex for men is that much different than the sex shown for women? Is feminist porn really about quoting feminist icons, flawed men and women and plots that appeal solely to women?

    I doubt that, fantasy means NOT reality.

  • chanela

    are you guys effing kidding me? do you realize how stupid the title sounds? do you realize how completely SHITTY they treat black women in porn? just ask jia(from jiatv on youtube and missjia.com) she used to do porn and she said she wouldnt recommend it to anyone because of how horrible and dark the industry is. she talks about it quite a bit on her youtube channel and wrote about her experience and on her site. why would you wish that on other sistas? why would you want more sistas to make a living spreading her legs? isnt that going backwards?

    im probably gonna get slayed for saying all this but it doesnt make any sense to me. for a minute i thought this was another joke article but the author,the genre and the commenters are completely serious. wow 0_o

  • Alexandra

    You’re not the only one. And I agree; I think it’s a backwards mentality too.
    Get your health and mind right. Tackle those statistics, not some porn?! like wth?

    But in my opinion no woman in porn should be complaining how she’s treated. Like, that goes against everything. What do you expect? If women were running porn as equally as men then I’d say otherwise. But the whole respect notion is just silly.

  • Ashleigh L.A.

    It’s refreshing to see something besides “ebonies” getting banged or smashed. And yes Clnmike, porn is about watching attractive people have sex but the POV of what is attractive is usually framed in a stereotypically masculine way. Honestly, I find mainstream porn boring now.

  • Clnmike

    Ashleigh L.A.,

    If you have seen some of the men performing than stereotypes abound both ways.

  • MissyD

    Thank-you for this article. I’m an African-American Woman who watches porn. I cannot tell you how many times a porno has just been a turn off due to the fact that it just doesn’t represent me or what I find sexy. There’s Ebony porn that just always seems to work a white girl in, turn off. Extravagant weaves, high heels during sex, more and more Ebony pornstars choosing to do excessive plastic surgery. It’s all too much. I’m gonna check out some of the directors listed in this article. I know some people don’t agree with porn, but that would mean that you can’t agree with the entire adult entertainment industry. So sex toy shops, stripclubs, and prostitution…are y’all gonna get rid of all of that? It’s just refreshing to see that there maybe a filmmaker who understands what some of us find sexy

  • http://twitter.com/SophiaStJames Sophia St. James

    As a black queer porn actress and pornographer, I think it’s CRUCIAL that articles like this exist. Porn in general is very racist, sexist, classist, and homophobic. I entered this industry knowing that. And because I know it, I have my eyes wide open. Aware of the possible niches and stereotypes that has or can be placed upon me.

    Women of color enjoy porn just like men of every color. I enjoyed porn before getting into the industry. I am about breaking down stereotypes and showing that we have sexual desires outside of the typical BS shown by mainstream porn.

  • MP

    “The state of black feminist porn is dire; there are numerous obstacles ahead to achieving the visual production of black women’s desire and truthfully, the mantra needs to be ‘for us by us.’”

    The author seems to be well aware of the current state of the mainstream porn industry if you want to go by this sentence. The article is advocating black feminist porn; I’m pretty sure that starts at the production level, hence the “for us by us.” That’s different than advocating that black women get into the porn film industry in general.

    Not everyone finds sex work completely problematic like you apparently do.

    Not everyone who is involved in sex work makes a career or lifestyle out of it. Afrodite Superstar is mentioned as a one-off project for the director.

  • Mike Romeo Allen

    Spy Emerson

  • omg

    “Afrodite Superstar told the story of a young black woman born into wealth and finding her way through a new career as a female rapper. ”

    really, people actually watch porn for the story?

  • RetroChic

    I’m not buying it, not even for a nickel. While I am still stuck on why black women(us) participate in feminist activity to begin with, I am disappointed that this isn’t viewed as exploitation just because one of us is behind the camera.

    I can’t get next to this attempt to validate what is unique about us via a money shot. Again I’m setting back here wondering when this runaway train is going to jump the track, it’s going to happen soon.

  • sli

    Is this article supposed to be serious?

  • Enginerd

    I’m curious. What is it about this article that seems unbelievable?

  • sli

    @Enginerd

    Ms. Loren, the author of this article, wants us to believe that porn written, produced, and directed by black women empowers black women. Feminist porn is an oxymoron. Exploitation is exploitation, and yes, women can exploit other women under the guise of “for us by us.” You ever heard of a madam? We all know that porn is a billion dollar industry, so let’s be real and think about the real motive here.

  • Kema

    I feel you… For me porn that caters to women would involve a showcasing a woman’s pleasure. My only objection to mainstream porn is that it doesnt seem like the sex is for the woman at all. I tend to stick to amateur porn for that reason.

    Oh yea… Jada Fire FTW!

  • Kema

    I do! Its not enough that they are sexing… I have to know why. lol!

  • http://www.bing.com/ Lakesha

    That saves me. Thanks for being so seinlsbe!

  • http://none brian raeburn

    i have met no mente who are inerested with f ull human range o emotion. instead the youg are dismaissing the older, the man is cought striving to he understood and coddled in some ways as a needy intimate character much in the confidante style of partnershhip when the two suddenly realize how deeply the y appreciate the complexity of the other.
    much depth is needed i working out f dew filler role, fuller, flex. can’t wait to get into some of tnat rolele in many newways.

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