“People are People’ Brings IR into Focus

The interracial porn niche has long been a controversial one. Seen by many critics as exploitative of submissive white female and aggressive black male stereotypes, the unification of black and white bodies in adult entertainment cannot be seen as entirely detrimental to the culture. Where else could the general public see, even before the socially liberal Golden Age, that which society still roundly shunned?

Kristina Rose

The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo recently hosted a panel discussion entitled ‘People are People’ that saw notable adult performers of color assessing the role race has played in their careers. Lexington Steele and Sean Michaels encountered significant boundaries, Michaels starting his career in the more accepting European industry before gaining a foothold in the US. Steele praised his colleague as an icon who “took more lumps than anyone in this industry” yet “made it easy for people like [Steele] to move from performer to director to producer.” Michaels recalled walking off multiple sets after being asked to perform a derogatory role but believes some stereotypes can be harmless and representative of the culture.

Fiery Vietnamese performer Cindy Starfall admits her solid work ethic is undervalued and her worth as a leading star underrated because producers place her almost exclusively in ethnic titles. Citing her accent as a major hurdle, she’s now more defiant. “A lot of time I just make fun of my accent to get it over with,” she said. “But… I started to realize… if you don’t like my accent, don’t book me.”

Labelled by some producers as Latina, others as Asian, others still as Caucasian, Mexico-born Kristina Rose – “I don’t even speak Spanish” – has even been asked to essentially cosplay as another race. “They put a bindi on me and asked me to get a tan,” she told the seminar audience. “When I first got into the industry I was told that [because] I’m Mexican, I wouldn’t make as much money as white girls and I couldn’t be on box covers.” Now a multiple AVN winner, Rose lamented that although some things have changed, when it comes to the financial element, not much has changed.

Days before receiving an AVN Award for Best Non-Sex Performance (Suicide Squad XXX: An Axel Braun Parody; Wicked Pictures, 2016), veteran performer Nyomi Banxxx only learned of pay disparity between black and white performers after believing everything was equal. Asking her agent to raise her rates for interracial scenes with white men, she was told such scenes weren’t interracial. Insisting on equal treatment, Banxxx earned the higher rate. Steele also addressed the million-dollar issue: “There ultimately is a color that reigns supreme over black, white, red, whatever – and that’s green. Revealing his particular hustle has been “to make a whore out of the business and not let the business make a whore out of” him.

Hosted by Alexander DeVoe, founder of the freshly revived Urban X Awards, the seminar also made clear that this accomplished group of professionals has contributed more than their share to adult entertainment. From Steele’s long run at Evil Angel to Michaels’s newest Airerose efforts, to awesome showcase features Starfall (Evil Angel, 2015), Kristina Rose: Unfiltered (Belladonna/Evil Angel, 2012), and Naomi Banxxx is Hardcore (Elegant Angel, 2010) there’s much to be thankful on the audience end, too.

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