Black men are an integral part of the American pornographic industry, but their participation requires confronting and navigating a variety of simplified categorizations and assumptions that favor their sexuality over their humanity. Utilizing interviews with twelve prominent heterosexual black male figures (also known as “talent”) currently active in the industry, this article seeks to offer insight into the realities that the men face while participating in an industry viewed as taboo by mainstream society. Among the issues explored are their reasons for joining the industry, interracialism and racism, and moral and ethical dilemmas. Also employed are Lewis Gordon’s concept of “epistemic closure,” or the cessation of inquiry, and Frantz Fanon’s concept of the “phobogenic object,” or “stimulus to anxiety.”
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