Love & Hip Hop Atlanta (LHHATL) star Mimi Faust is in the news today because she has apparently made a “hardcore” sex tape with her boyfriend Nikko Smith.
The tape comes just as another season of LHHATL is gearing up to hit TV screens this May, and word of the salacious clip has folks talking, which is no doubt Mimi and Niko’s goal.
Although it seems counterintuitive, sex tapes can have a huge upside for marginal celebrities, like Mimi and Niko, catapulting them into the mainstream and introducing them to a whole new audience. But there’s just one problem for Mimi: sex tapes don’t work for Black women.
While several White women—Kim Kardashian, Pam Anderson, Paris Hilton–have leveraged their “leaked” tapes in a slew of opportunities from clothing lines and magazine covers to TV shows and endorsement deals, Black women who’ve pulled similar stunts have not faired nearly as well.
Back in the 1980s, legendary bombshell and NFL Today’s first Black female presenter, Jayne Kennedy found herself embroiled in the first celebrity sex tape scandal when a VHS of Kennedy and her then-husband Leon Isaac Kennedy was stolen from the couple’s home. Kennedy, who had crossed over from just being a pretty face to a respected sports broadcaster and actress, found herself mired in a scandal that rocked her career. Somehow, folks were unable to reconcile her wholesome on-screen image with her private life with her husband, and soon her career took a sudden and permanent nosedive.
Eve also found herself in the middle of a career-threatening scandal when a sex tape involving the rapper and her then-boyfriend Steve J (interestingly, he’s also the father of Mimi’s daughter) hit the web. Back then, Eve involved the FBI to track down the leaker who also attempted to blackmail her for a large sum of cash. Just two years ago, Eve called the incident “hurtful,” noting “sex tapes weren’t ‘hot’ like that” a decade ago and the controversy left her scarred.
Laurence Fishburne’s daughter, Montana, is another woman who mistakenly thought a sex tape would change her life for the better. Back in 2010 Fishburne declared she was entering the porn business to make a name for herself and claim her share of the multi-billion dollar pie. But things didn’t go so well for “Chippy D.” Fishburne made just $60,000 for the deed and didn’t get a share of the sales of her popular tape. And although she was once gung-ho about getting into porn, these days Fishburne cautions young women against going into the business.
“I don’t encourage people to go into the porn industry. You’re not going to be famous, or be a movie star. You may end up having a really sucky life,” she told Fox News.
In the short term, Mimi’s stunt will achieve its intended outcome; people will talk about the tape, which might even drive up sale. But long term—unless she’s permanently trading in her scripted beef with Stebie J and Josline for money shots and threesomes—I doubt this will launch Mimi’s career beyond VH1’s reality TV ghetto.