In the infamous carol “The 12 Days of Christmas,” the singer brags about all the bossy gifts their “true love” gave them for the holidays. But since since six geese-a-laying and a bunch of turtle doves seem unsanitary — not to mention a violation of city ordinances — we decided to gift you with 12 of something better: A handful of sex workers you should absolutely know about. Whether they’re becoming literary superstars, breaking the “stunt cock” mold or literally embodying gay Jesus himself, they’re the real gifts we need this Christmas. And no, not one of them is a turtle dove.
In the last decade or so, the porn industry has undergone a revolution, and in many ways, become mainstream — that is, unless you’re a Black performer.
Despite the fact that Black performers and Black culture continue to drive trends that grow exceedingly popular in the industry, it’s still plagued by the same racist conventions it was decades ago, and frustratingly little has changed. Today’s Black male performers continue to face the same obstacles that limited the careers of earlier stars like Lexington Steele, Mr. Marcus and Sean Michaels, and while the industry operates on the bleeding edge of technology, its social values still seem to sit somewhere between Jim Crow and Nixon’s America. No one knows this better than the men and women who make their livings selling fantasies and racialized desire.
For a long time, 40-year-old porn star King Noire was one of them. “I think about a while back when all the porn companies were doing nothing but pouring baby oil on white women,” he tells me, his laugh revealing a playful, cynical edge. “For like three or four years, the camera angles, music and fisheye lenses that they used — it was all to make it look like a hip-hop video. And yet, today, I look around and see all these companies that still don’t have Black directors, Black producers, Black camera people, Black people writing the scripts. There are no Black people in any capacity other than talent.”
The result, obviously, is porn that conveys little other than stereotypes. “BBC [big Black cock] and all of these racialized terms weren’t created by Black folks,” King Noire continues. “In my personal sex life, I’ve never said to somebody, ‘Suck my Black dick.’ We don’t refer to ourselves as a color.”
Frustrated with the pace of change in his chosen profession, he did something about it. Along with his partner Jet Setting Jasmine, he produces content made by Black creators. It features Black talent, technicians, writers and directors. They also have other creative partnerships, such as their ethically sourced sex toys, sex education workshops and kink videos that aim to show the full range of desire. The same care and thoughtfulness that he uses to ensure that the dildo replica of his dick is appropriately veiny and anatomically correct, he also brings to scenes where he and Jasmine use two other men as their sex furniture — in other words, he wants you to feel it.
Raised in Jersey and currently based in Miami, King Noire isn’t just a seasoned adult film performer either. He’s also a Master Fetish trainer, an artist, an emcee, and together with Jasmine, he owns the production company Royal Fetish Films, which has released award-winning films such as Orally Yours (2016) and Sacred Sex (2018). As it says on King Noire’s website, he likes to focus his time and energy on “creating art and beauty, in spaces that have been long neglected for people of color in kink.” For over a decade, he and Jasmine have been doing exactly that. And when they’re at home, they’re adoring parents to their kids.
A consummate sextrepreneur, King Noire is smart, insightful and observant, and it doesn’t hurt that he has an unsinkable optimism that’s been his driving force since his first day on an adult set. Below, the renniassance man speaks about turning pro at 18, working with, and for, racist husbands who want him to cuckold them by fucking their wives and how it all changed when he and Jasmine started creating content for Black people.
You started in the adult film industry when you were just 18 and you participated in a photo shoot with a friend. After that, you turned pro. What do you remember about that first fateful day?
Maybe like a week or two before, my homegirl had given me a call. She was like, “I have this opportunity, and I don’t want to do it with somebody I don’t know.” We had been messing around with each other. She was like, “I know what you’re into. I know what you’re working with. I know you need money, come through.”
It wasn’t a porn scene. It was full nudity, but implied sex. There wasn’t any penetration, or anything like that. And it was cool. The photographer liked me. They were like, “I know some people that I could connect you with if you’re interested in doing more work like this.”
What they meant was people who were looking for what you’d call “dom” or “cuckolding” experiences. At the time, I had no idea what they were talking about. I was like, “Oh, I can make some money and not be doing the other shit that you shouldn’t be doing out there in the community. Let me try and make some money.”
I imagine there’s a learning curve when you’re figuring out how to cuckold a husband in real time. Plus, there are all the various terms and protocols of kink to get used to. What do you remember about that time when you were first getting started?
I wasn’t in L.A. I wasn’t in Vegas. I wasn’t in Miami. I was in Jersey. So a lot of the productions that people were doing weren’t going to come out on DVD or on the web. Instead, it was somebody looking to film you with their wife, or somebody looking to film some shit that they were probably keeping for their private stash. I got booked a lot for live sex shows. There were people who had different fetishes that I had to learn about on the fly.
I had some really good clients early on who topped from the bottom in the sense that they were like, “This is what I like done to me. This is what my fetish is. And if you do X, Y and Z, I’ll have a great time.”
When you were doing those private shows and live sex shows, and filming private videos, did you get any uncomfortable requests from people — for instance, a racist husband who wanted you to pleasure his wife?
For me, and my experiences, definitely. We live in America. There’s definitely this very pervasive overtone of racism here. I don’t do race play. I used to get a lot of requests like, “Can we refer to you by this racial epithet?” Or: “Can you play this kind of thug character?” That kind of shit. And I’m not into that. A lot of people got turned down, and a lot of them got educations [from me] that they probably didn’t want. They were like, “I didn’t book this. I didn’t book this sex worker for critical race theory. What’s going on here?”
There were lots of those situations. But other than racial shit, I haven’t ever really gotten anything that’s out of my comfort zone.
This may sound cynical, but does race play pay better? Kinda like hazard pay — do people offer more money when they know that what they want is going to be offensive or racist?
Well, I’d actually say there’s nothing to play with about race. “Race play” is how people like to refer to it. And there’s not really a better term that I can think of that would describe what I’m talking about. But do people pay better for that shit? No, because they don’t think that Black people deserve to make money anyway.
It’s changing a little bit now, but when I started, they wanted to underpay Black people for every single possible thing, even if it was doing the exact same sex act as somebody white. This goes for in-person, this goes for film, this goes for white performers that would charge more money to sleep with Black men on camera. Nah, they definitely don’t pay more for racism.
With the Black slave and white dom dynamic, that’s obviously going to be something that, as a Black man, makes you feel some kinda way. But when you have BDSM Black couples and singles, is there ever any of the Black cop/white cop dynamic, where the Black cop is going to be even harder on you than the white cop? Is it ever a concern that a Black performer may actually be meaner, or more unabashed about it when it comes to racism?
I don’t know if it’s that people will go harder or people will ease up when it’s a situation where there’s people of different races. I do know that most porn companies are going to play that dynamic up. It’s one of the reasons that interracial porn is sold the way it’s sold — where they try to make it seem like Black men are brutal. That dates back to the masters of the house trying to put fear into the mistresses and daughters that Black men are brutes.
It’s funny — just today, I saw a company that posted: “The only thing more trouble than one Black dick is two Black dicks.” It’s just like, why is it even fucking trouble? The people are there because they want to be there. I think that it’s still sold that way in adult entertainment for numerous reasons. One is to justify how they treat us outside of porn, and in everyday life. Another is because it’s the white men’s fantasy.
We work hard within our company, Royal Fetish Films, to make it known that BDSM didn’t start with white people. And that BDSM didn’t start with slavery. BDSM didn’t even start with Europe. Even though there are a lot of contraptions and tools that do come from the Spanish Inquisition — and different punishment tools that came from Europe — it’s not exclusive to those places. It’s older than that.
When [Jasmine and I] were in Kenya, there’s something that they used there that a woman was joking about — parents use it on their kids and couples use it in the bedroom — it was basically a flogger. And they said that it’s been a Kenyan thing for thousands of years. It’s important to note that during the course of humanity — whether you believe people been here for 6,000 years or 6,000,000 years — people been fucking that whole time. And if you think that people just started spanking each other within the last, I don’t know, thousand years, then you’re really doing a disservice to our ancestors who were getting it in.
I think when it comes to certain dynamics, our minds are semi-clouded with the toxicity of American history. It’s like with Dom/sub — we prefer to use the terms “Dom” and “sub” as opposed to “master” and “slave,” because for some of us, there’s trauma related to that.
The point you make about Black men being treated as the sexualized bucks and white women as an innocent flower to be bespoiled is obviously a very old trope. What do you make of companies like Blacked.com, which basically play exactly on that old racist trope? They just made it nicer to look at, like, “Oh, see, it’s a rich white woman. And she called him to come over to her house.” But it’s still a cuckold fantasy. It’s still a mistress and enslaved man fantasy.
Moreover, Blacked.com isn’t a Black-owned company, yet they pretend like they’re progressive. From their marketing and PR, you’d think Black creators have some involvement in the company.
It’s just as you said: It’s not owned by Black people. It’s just this white man who created this company’s racist idea of what happens when Black men and white women have sex. They didn’t have any Black women on that site, until maybe last year. And that was only because people were complaining. How can it be considered a Black site if you don’t have Black women?
But really, it’s not a Black site. And I do hear people like, “Oh, the brothers got jobs in it,” and this, that and the other. But we’re still fetishized. We’re not human in their eyes.
It feels kind of like how Pornhub, in response to the George Floyd protests, said the company was going to ditch “interracial” as a term. Is this all window-dressing? Or is there any real change going on in the industry and within mainstream companies?
From the mainstream, I’d definitely say that the window-dressing moment is probably almost over. The companies were going hard when they were like, “Oh shit, we might get shut down because of how racist we are.” But I think they’ve weathered that storm, and are back to business as usual. For lack of a better way of putting it, I think they could have just named Blacked.com something like “NiggaSex.com,” and it would’ve been the same shit. Because to say that when you have sex with me as a Black man, that you’ve been “blacked,” it’s like saying I’ve cast you with the Scarlet Letter.
The older brothers who are adult film stars — what did they say to you? What advice did they give to you about the overt racism of the industry?
I’m trying to think of how to say this. So, agencies would be like, “Yo, we want to get you on Dogfart.” And Dogfart, at the time, was shooting all of these prison gang-bang scenes. I was like, “I’m not playing a prisoner.” There’s nothing sexy about jail to me. So, people took that some kind of way. And I didn’t really get any advice from elders in the porn world about how to deal with any of these companies. Because a lot of people shot for those companies. They did give me some kind words, though.
Royal Fetish Films, which you started with your wife Jet Setting Jasmine, is a Black-owned porn production company. How’s that going?
I think it’s going great. We started Royal Fetish Films about 10 years ago, and now, when I look at the new wave of Black content creators and Black folk that are going mainstream with adult entertainment, we’re seeing things that we didn’t see when we first started — things from our culture, like waist beads or head wraps, or even just the music in the background. Or, more simply, Black people kissing.
There’s certain things that are for us. When we first started out, Black women and couples were saying to us, “Yo, why is porn with Black people so bad? Why don’t we see romance or love or some kinky hardcore shit where we’re not the fetish object?” That’s what we wanted to do with Royal Fetish Films. And now, I’m seeing people — Black folk, brown folk — being their full, complete, sexy, kinky, beautiful selves. We are the pushers of culture in America, in every form of entertainment.
A big change in the industry has been OnlyFans. How has that site changed the game for Black performers?
I think it’s helped people. It’s like in the music industry when Napster broke everything — anybody could upload their shit through CD Baby, DistroKid or SoundCloud. I look at OnlyFans the same way. You don’t have to go to one of these companies that’s going to say, “Hey Black women, we’re not going to shoot you if you got locks in your head.” Or, “Hey Black man, we need you to put on this prison jumpsuit if you want to be in a scene.” Now, we can make whatever it is that we want to make. You can find your audience and go from there.
The problem is that OnlyFans clearly doesn’t realize that it’s sex workers who drive their website. There’s a sex-work problem in this country, regardless of color and gender and all these other things.
When I saw that your government name is Hasan Salaam, it made me curious. Were you raised in a Muslim tradition?
No. I converted when I was 12 or 13.
What was that journey like for you?
I started reading the autobiography and then the work of Malcolm X. It led me to reading Message to the Black Man in America [the Elijah Muhammad-penned classic, on offer from the Nation of Islam]. A lot of older heads in my neighborhood were Five Percenters [from the Five Percent Nation, the Muslim-inspired Black nationalist movement] that were passing on that information. But what really solidified it for me was when I was in middle school. I had to do a class project, a diorama on anything in the world. And I chose the mosque in Mecca. I was raised Episcopalian. I was going through confirmation class, and so, I had a lot of questions about the Bible. In the church I was in, we still had white Jesus on the wall, things like that. I was asking normal questions, like, “How is this white guy there and everybody else is brown and Black?” Y’know, just basic questions about Christianity.
Basically, the minister told me, “If you don’t ask any more questions, we’ll let you get through confirmation.” It was really important to my mother for me to get through it. And I was going to get through it for her. But at the same time, I’m like, “I have these questions I want answered. Y’all have known me since I was a kid, and you don’t wanna answer my questions?”
When it came to doing this project, this was before the internet, or at least, we didn’t have it. So my mother suggested that I write to the Saudi Arabian consulate in New York and see if they’d send me some pictures. I let them know, “I’m a young man, and I’m just getting to learn more about Islam. And I got this project to do.” They sent me my own Quran. They sent me books of Hadith. They sent me pictures, postcards and posters of Mecca, and of mosques all around the world. I was like, “Wow, these strangers are willing to share this information with me, when people who know me aren’t willing to answer my questions.” That led me to study more.
Since then, has your Muslim faith remained an important part of your life as a porn star and sex worker?
Being that you’re a principled and outspoken Muslim, working in porn, what would you say the Islamophobia is like in the industry? Is it as bad as the anti-Blackness? Is it worse?
I’ve definitely had people say, “Oh, you don’t look like a terrorist” when they see my legal name.
Oh, wow. For real?
Yeah, I’ve had that. I’ve had somebody who I shot with — they didn’t put this on a scene that I shot with them, but they put a caption on a scene to the effect of like, “All Muslims bow to their white lady,” or something like that. I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to fuck with you. That isn’t okay.” There was this other white lady that was doing scenes where she was in a hijab and masturbating with a Quran.
When it comes to how people express themselves sexually, there’s nun and priest porn and other stuff like that. If you grew up in a Catholic church, and that’s how you want to express yourselves, I don’t knock you for it. But I’m not going to do it because I’m not a Catholic. I feel that it’s not my bag to do something that would be disrespectful. So I wouldn’t make something in porn that I feel was disrespectful to Islam.
Where is the line for porn and Islam? Is one allowed to be a Muslim porn star?
There are people who feel that I shouldn’t be making this stuff at all.
What do you say to them when they come at you?
I mean, usually they say it to me on sites that they shouldn’t be on, too.
I personally don’t think that sex is evil. I think that sex is art, sex is uplifting, sex is beautiful. That’s what’s up. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. You can easily not go on my website; there’s even a paywall there. But going back to the Islamophobia thing, I do think there’s a lot of it. For example, what’s shorty’s name —
You mean Mia Khalifa?
Mia Khalifa, yeah. There was a big, big fetishization of her. Not to say she’s not attractive, or a good performer. But I do think there was a big fetishization of her because of her background, and the timing. America loves to fuck what it conquers.
America seems uniquely hung up on sex. But is it more hung up on sex than other places in the world? Or is this a unique thing where America’s relationship to power gets transmuted into some weird sex stuff?
I think that it’s a twofold answer. Human beings are kinky. Everybody has a fetish. Everybody has things that turn them on, regardless of who they are or where they’re from. But I do think that in America, we have the time and the money to put into our kink. If you live in certain other places in the world, you might be able to get into some of the things that you want to get into, but probably not as much as in a society where you can do it openly.
Yet, in America, we’re still teaching abstinence to people who are probably not going to be abstinent. Instead of teaching how to have sex safely — physically and emotionally — we teach them that sex is bad, because the pilgrims had so many buckles on their clothing, or something like that.
How does it feel for you, as a Black man, to be a fantasy in a dangerous place like America?
It’s wild. A lot of times — and this goes for Black women as well — you might not even know that you’re a motherfucking fantasy. I definitely think it’s even more dangerous for Black women and queer folk, because not only do they get mistreated by white society, unfortunately they get it from Black men as well.
I do think about the amount in which I share with the world, whether it’s physically, intellectually or emotionally. And I fall back on the people like Billie Holiday, Coltrane, Malcolm or James Baldwin — people who were willing to advance not just our people, but humanity, through their art, and through sharing themselves. They all had moments where they were like, “Yo, what the fuck? What am I doing?” But at the same time, knowing that it’s better for humanity for us to share and take the risk than it is for us to be silent and stay quiet. If I feel this way, there’s millions of other people who feel this way as well.
So, what should an ethical porn consumer do to help the industry along?
Yes, the ethical consumer — they need to do their due diligence and look at what the companies are putting out. Jasmine always says the best way to find out who the good companies are is to go check the actual performers’ Twitter or Instagram pages and see who says things like, “Oh, I had fun on this set.” Or: “You can find my work on my page or my OnlyFans or my website.” Support the performers that you like directly. That’s usually the best way to make sure that we’re not going through some fuck shit.