DeAngelo Jackson, the first African American man to win a GAYVN Best Actor Award, spent this historic Juneteenth weekend promoting his new documentary film, Being Black in Porn.
The film follows the lives of four gay men of color as they navigate their way in the adult film industry and examines the casual racism and inequality they often encounter. Narrated by Jackson, Being Black in Porn, and through interviews with the men in NYC, Chicago, Las Vegas, and LA, the film examines their unique experiences including their encounters with racism (being cast in servant roles or as thugs; also, facing white performers who refuse to perform with them because of the color of their skin), stereotypes (Black talent are expected to have large penises and they’re made to bottom when they do not) and inequality (though “BBC films” is one of the most searched terms in porn, Black actors report making less money than their white counterparts).
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In addition to their time behind the camera, Being Black in Porn delves into the personal lives of the men, exploring the impact their careers have on their real worlds, on social media and in the global Black Lives Matter movement. Being Black is being distributed by Mile High in association with Novo Novus Productions and adult production house Noir Male.
“I had to share this story,” says Jackson who in addition to narrating Being Black is also the film’s executive producer. He handpicked the main cast for the documentary: Dillion Diaz, Max Konnor, and Rock Rockfella, an industry legend who directed DeAngelo’s first scene in adult film. “I had to do this for my fellow brothers and sisters in the entire adult industry. I learned early on that if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.”
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“Our favorite porn stars have the same struggles as all working professionals,” says DeAngelo Jackson’s co-executive producer on Being Black, Dwight Allen O’Neal. “Our hope is that our documentary creates a better understanding of these men and sends a message to everyone inside and outside of adult film that Black Lives Matter everywhere, in everything, and within every industry.”
#GAYNRD spoke with Jackson about issues around the making of the film.
Was there a common theme that emerged from the four stories that you didn’t expect? When we went into planning to shoot the documentary I hadn’t really given fan content much thought. The focus was really on what a person of color’s experience is like as an adult performer with studios. But each performer all had an opinion on fan content and the definition of a porn star. Some had good things to say, and others are not here for it.
What was something that you suspected may be true that was verified by making this film? Pay scale. We all hear about the difference in payment. But we did have one person that confirmed these allegations. I was also very surprised to learn the term “safe black.” When that came up I was like “What in the world does a safe Back look like?” And “Who is considered a dangerous Black?”
With the advent of Only Fans there’s been an opportunity for Black performers to extend things often fetishized to be showcased and embraced. Do you find this inherently negative or positive? I think with Only Fans it’s giving performers the space to be as creative as they want. Look at Uber, I know in city’s like NYC they became popular because it was hard for people of color to catch a taxi. Now taxi’s are begging for customers because of Uber and soon after Lyft emerged. If studios don’t get creative on how they partner with talent this could be the same thing.
There seems to be an opening up about “race play” especially in online forums. What’s your reaction to that form of roleplay? I am not here for race play. My skin color should never be fetishized. Im not a human blowup doll. I am a person with a brain, heart, and soul.
If you had to say overall, what’s the difference between being a Black performer today and say 20 years ago We have come very far. But we still have a long way to go. Bigger names have a voice, but a lot of up and coming talent don’t have the power to speak up. I think the main difference is we now have the option to do our own thing. Talent has learned how to take the middle man out.
Jackson is the first black man to win a GAYVN Best Actor Award in 2020 and most recently claimed the most coveted GAYVN Performer of The Year 2021 title, from the adult film industry’s equivalent to the Oscars. He started his career in 2009 and is now in his third year as Noir Male’s exclusive contract performer. Jackson was born in Germany, raised in Georgia and studied Criminal Justice at Florida State University. He entered the adult industry as a way to make extra money in college. Having never been with a man or woman, Jackson lost his virginity on camera. He doesn’t regret any choices he has made and maintains a happy relationship with his supportive family who say they are proud of all of his adult film success.