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Black Porn Stars Come Forward With Their Racism Horror Stories

Black Porn Stars Come Forward With Their Racism Horror Stories

A few of the women seemed nervous as the cameras began to roll and the orgy got underway—not unusual for newbies. Except there was one woman who appeared to be dodging a particular male performer. If he got too close, she’d walk off-camera or reposition, creating a buffer of other performers’ bodies between them. It seemed personal.

His physical performance began to suffer. Ugh. Wood problems would mean longer working hours for everyone. When several performers called for bathroom and water breaks, and with the scene paused and fewer people nearby, he sat down next to her and asked why she was scurrying away from him during the shoot. She ignored him. So they sat in naked silence until all the other performers were back on set.

“It’s ‘cause you’re black!” the director shouted out from across the room. At first, everyone thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. The director had known the entire time; he’d cast the orgy that way on purpose. Any one of us could have left at that moment but we wouldn’t have been paid. As a newbie, the consequences of leaving weren’t well understood, though the racism was clear. Twenty years later, not much has changed in the world of porn. But some actors are finally making their voices heard.  

In the midst of two pandemics—the coronavirus and police brutality against unarmed black people, including the recent killings of George Floyd, David McAtee, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police—the adult industry is having a long-overdue conversation about the racism that has infected so many aspects of the adult world, from the marketing of scenes to the amount workers are paid.

Still pumped from the street protests against police violence he attended earlier in the evening, Ricky Johnson speaks passionately about his newfound desire for protesting.

Better known for his work as a performer/director in the adult entertainment industry, Johnson often dons Brazzers’ garb (who he’s under contract with) while out protesting. “I went to a couple of protests. They are much more peaceful and organized now, less cops. Things have changed in the last two days, in terms of organization and being peaceful,” Johnson offers, thinking back to the first few protests he attended. “Everyone was so tense in West Hollywood protesting the first couple of days. There was a lot of anger, a lot of people seeing firsthand how things are. In the Long Beach protest there was a whole bunch of us and someone threw a bottle in between the front lines and the cops, and a couple of cops got out their rubber bullets and started shooting into the crowd.”

For Johnson, who has witnessed plenty of racism in his chosen profession, he now also wants to bring the protests’ momentum for change home to the adult entertainment industry. “It’s such a strong thing to be black in the industry. Everyone tells you you’re black and then because I’m light-skinned I hear jokes, ‘Oh you’re not black enough,’ and I don’t know how to react to it.”

Men’s pay is often dictated by their performance or the size of their sword, regardless of color, but it’s different for women. “I see my African-American counterparts in women, they struggle with payment, the white girls get paid more to have sex with a black guy. And that thing with putting girls under contract to wait for a year before they have sex with a black guy, that doesn’t make me feel normal,” says Johnson. “There’s no difference between me and my colleagues at work. My skin color shouldn’t separate me from them.”

There’s no difference between me and my colleagues at work. My skin color shouldn’t separate me from them.

The financial implications of racism are still prevalent in porn—so much so that new performers entering the industry are usually told to seek out someone “in the know” to discuss the cost in how they identify their race.

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