Pornography, Dating Apps and Its Relation to Dark Skinned Queer Fems and Non-Phallus Users
5’8, 140, black, bottom, as described in the details of my grindr profile. Seems straightforward right? Wrong, because waves of ass pictures by multiple nonblack men are sent to me and despite the very clear declaration of my sexual position, nonblack men still send me those types of pictures. Let’s be clear, this is a daily occurrence, with my inbox receiving on average at least 5–10 ass pics (all nonblack) a day. Why have I been subjected to such gratuitous images? Why ME? what is unclear about the word BOTTOM on my profile?
As a dark skinned Black queer person, racialized fetishization and perversion isn’t anything new to me. The White supremacist voyeuristic gaze deprives Black bodies from any agency, to those who harbor internalized anti-blackness, the Black body is property, or merely a resource that serves nonblacks in some capacity. Can it be that these nonblack men’s racial perversion is so intense that my dark Black body must be domineering vis-a-vis being hyper masculine? Can dark skinned Black men NOT be bottoms? And this is not to say that tops can’t be fem, but let’s face it, the gay community is wildly femphobic and conflates topping with masculinity. let’s also not forget we live in a racist society that conflates Black male hood with hyper masculinity. so let’s just do the math here! And to be honest, I BLAME GAY PORN for my dating app experiences, well kinda.
Since slavery, dark skin Black men have been able to symbolically preserve their masculinity through physical labor; they were also denied and omitted from roles that were gendered towards women and otherwise considered feminine. Black women however were symbolically stripped of their femininity via the way gendered tasks were socialized. Black women had to do work that was regarded as feminine and do work that was regarded as masculine. Additionally, dark skin enslaved people were partitioned from their lighter skinned counterparts and commonly did laborious, tactile work outside; work that is typically associated with and assigned to men. Moreover Lighter skinned Black people had a higher value price because of their proximity to whiteness; many were given access to education, resources and sometimes freedom. The partitioning of skin tone created the notion that being light skin is safer and more human and that being dark skin is scary and animalistic. This set the precedent for the colorist stereotype that says dark skin is inherently masculine, aggressive and domineering. Additionally, enslaved Black people collectively were subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse, the second they stepped foot on this continent. These historical events laid the foundation for racialized sex and gender based tropes about dark skinned Black men and masc presenting people
Within the American imagination, the Black penis has always represented a threat to the infamous interconnected gestalt of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Anti-miscegenation laws were almost exclusively focused on criminalizing and punishing Black male sexuality. Barbaric jim crow practices, driven by the mythology of the Black male rapist, reinforced the idea that Black sexuality is dangerous and thus in need of extermination. Castrations of Black men during jim crow demonstrated white people’s fear and obsession of the Black penis. A Black man could accidentally make eye contact with a white woman and end up castrated and hanged on a tree in front of a picnic. Shortly after chattel slavery, white men feared that Black men would have sexual access to white women since whiteness was deemed superior/human. Franz Fanon even wrote about how Black men sought out to seek revenge on the white man by way of fucking “his” women. White men however, created the myth that Black women were inherently lustful, which was only used to justify raping them. Within the context of white supremacy, the sexuality of Black women was seen as disposable, while the sexuality of black men was seen as threatening. And of course this only is taking into account the gender binary because cisheteropatriarchy is a by-product of colonization.
The film The Birth of a Nation, helped maliciously contrive the myth that Black men are rapists with an insatiable lust and appetite for subjugating white women. In the film, a white actor enaging in blackface portrayed a biracial Black man who was out to rape a white woman. White people enacting blackface would paint their face black and paint their lips red to over exaggerate Black features. So although the actor in The Birth of a Nation was portraying a biracial Black person (they are usually light skinned) the face was deliberately darkened to emphasize blackness, using dark skin as the template to amplify and intensify white people’s anti-blackness. Nevertheless, this movie was the first to present blatant anti black imagery. This imagery compounded with the pre-existing anti black racism lead to the imprisonment and torture of many falsely accused Black men and boys such as Emmett Till and the young Black boys from the central park five.
The Freedoms of Sexual Fantasy? How if Dark Skinned-ness is Deemed Slaveable?
The second I have access to my own private parts and turn on a “flic”, I am bombarded with exhausting anti black images. It took me a while before I realized that the porn industries themselves reinforce racist notions about the bodies of dark skinned Black people. The idea of the BBC mandingo has been crafted under the aegis’ of white supremacy and colonization. Even the Africaness of the word “mandingo” (which derives from the west African ethnic group, Mandinka) implies the hyper sexualization and exaggeration of African features and that the closer you are to Africa via dark skin and afrocentric features, the closer you are to hyper sexuality. And with many Black men buying into racist notions about their own bodies and anti black desirability politics, the “interracial” category is almost exclusively videos of dark skinned Black men topping nonblack men, from amateur porn to larger mainstream sites such as TimTales, Macho Fucker, Blacks on Boys and more. Even the name Blacks on boys suggests that the “Black” isn’t human, but if at all a mere object or animal and the word “boy”, is used to infantilize white men and emphasize innocence and purity. The images are so profoundly jarring, I can recall seeing a thumbnail of about five dark skinned Black men getting ready to take turns to fuck a petite white man. This is very reminiscent of the Black male rapist folklore. Porn companies promptly utilize the anti-black stereotypes of Black males to enhance the fantasy of pornographic spectatorship. So even in fantasy, the Black body cannot evade the intrusive probes of white supremacy.
Well, that explains it! It’s racism lol. When nonblack men on grindr see my profile, all they can think about is BBC, a fantasy, and a vessel for their satisfaction. Surely, these men are inspired, not only by centuries old racist tropes, but mainstream anti black images such as the ones available in porn. A testimony from the article Men living with the Myth of the Big Black Cock, by Mikelle Street, a Black gay man details how a Latino guy told him that he thought “all Black guys were tops who are well hung and dominant”. Pornography, compounded with anti-blackness must be the locations at which nonblack men extract their racialized fantasies, only to then project that unto Black men. The porn companies’ utilization of a dark skin Black man is purposeful, as the Black male body falls under the recognized simultaneity of being both feared and awed. Using Dark skinned Black men is deliberate in attempts to exaggerate the racialization of interracial pornography scenes. Simply, the image of a domineering, animalistic thug-like Black man satisfies the pre-existing perversions nonblack audiences already have. And let’s be clear, it’s precisely these stereotypes that would empower police officers to gun down Black men for no reason.
The image of a dark skin Black man with a “BBC” copulating with a usually smaller white/nonblack man represents the ultimate sexual taboo. Nonblack men find pleasure in having sexual access to Black men, particularly dark skinned Black men because Blackness is constructed as to be for everyone’s taking. Blackness is also socialized as to be seen as property, that we have ownership to nothing, not even our own bodies. Interracial unions specifically with Black men have been historically outlawed because of racist notions about blackness. Nonblack men feel a sense of ecstasy when they fantasize about getting fucked by what society has deemed dangerous or a threat. So when nonblack men hit me up, it’s because they feel a sense of ownership over my body and that my body must fit within their racist imagination that ultimately serves their sexual fantasies. Nonblack people’s consumption and parasitizing of blackness leads to erasure or extermination, so this is nowhere near cute or flattering.
But from my personal observations, white owned porn companies aren’t solely responsible for perpetuating anti-black pornographic imagery. Black owned porn sites have xeroxed the pre-existing anti-black imagery of Black male sexuality for their own audiences. These companies would partition certain complexions to perform perceived notions of sexuality. They do say not all skin folk is kinfolk. Most often, porn stars of my complexion are topping. Why is it always the extremely dark skin fellow, the top? Why are Black men of a deep complexion overwhelmingly represented as tops? Let’s face it, it’s colorism. The top is always darker than the bottom; it’s almost as if there is a brown paper bag test for bottoms in Black porn companies. It is clear to me that these Black porn companies conflate dark skin with masculinity just like the rest of society. Rebel, who is a Black porn star of light complexion, has said he’s getting fucked by “Black d*ck” in multiple scenes that he’s had with dark skinned Black men. For Rebel to be a light skinned Black man, but yet racialized another Black person’s genitals seems odd. I saw another scene from a Black owned company where three light skinned Black bottoms were sitting in front of three dark skinned Black tops to prepare for a group session. There was a very clear color line that also coincided with sexual position.
(Two men prepare to top the man in the middle. Source: Breeditraw.com)
Blackness is socialized as to be slaveable, constantly exporting resources and goods for nonblack consumption. The darker the Black person, the more their slaveability increases. That is why dark skin Black men are specifically used to fulfill the BBC stereotype in both white and Black owned porn companies. Our bodies aren’t seen as safe or like that of a human. The freedoms of sexual fantasy do not pertain to dark skinned people because our bodies are always going to be bound by the shackles of the anti black gaze. We cannot even find liberty and solace from the gaze of other Black people, because Black people as a collective are socialized to be anti black. The doll test featuring Black children associating anything negative with the darkest doll is a testament to how colorism is ingrained into Black people from early. Surely anti blackness has interrupted the freedoms of sexual fantasy for dark skinned feminine and non-phallus users. Since Blackness, and particularly dark skinned-ness is deemed slaveable, we don’t even have ownership of our own fantasies; fantasy only belongs to nonblack people.
Tyler the Creator in his song, I ain’t got Time “with my big lips, and my big nose and my big Black dick and my short hair’ cause you already know it grow slow.”
The aforementioned imagery is so powerful that it has influenced cis queer Black men to view their own body through the constructions of the anti-black nonblack gaze. There are innumerable accounts online of Black men who would describe their own penis as a “BBC”, gleefully placing the term front and center in their bio. Who are these men trying to appeal to? And how many of us cannot see our bodies outside of what it is presumed to be? Certainly it is easy for masc performing dark skin Black men to subscribe to notions of hyper masculinity with a heightened sexuality because it seemingly benefits them in the dating arena. Dark skin feminine presenting and non-phallus using Black people cannot leverage societal constructions about their bodies for their own sexual and romantic desires. Society has placed the complexion of dark skin in a sexualized gendered box that says being masculine is the only way it can be desirable. Dark Skin must fit within the domains of hyper masculinity to be considered worthy of companionship, which is no surprise since our society’s sexist patriarchal systems are rooted in colonization. Hierarchies of privilege within gender and sexuality will always lean towards masculinity and those who penetrate.
Too many Black men in pornography are complicit in regards to how they perpetuate colorism. Too many Black men in porn are okay with their bodies being tokenized and used to fulfill the sexual fantasies of nonblacks. Without compunction, the Rhyheim Shabazzes, Fames, Max Konners, Knights, Cutler Xs, Mr Markys, Chase Coxxxs, and many many more consistently engage in scenes where bottoms are significantly more lighter than they are, or altogether nonblack for the sole purpose of playing up racialized stereotypes. These Black men have become complicit with the notion that their bodies are the locations of terror. To view the dark skinned Black body as hyper masculine and animalistic is to view the Black body as scary and threatening particularly to white supremacy; this means that the body must be exterminated. Moreover, Black men who subscribe to notions of BBC are in compliance with the idea that their bodies are in need of extermination. The presumed hyper masculinity of dark skinned men that is utilized in fantasy/porn isn’t isolated from the presumed hyper masculinity when they are encountering the police.
How can these Black men find pleasure in a space where they’re being racially fetishized? Can it be that their desperation to aspire towards nonblackness via utilizing their penises, gives them the ecstasy of fantasy?
(Porn stars Fame, Knight and Krave Melanin take pictures and prepare for a scene with anti black racist armond rizzo. Picture source: Breeditraw.com)
“Yea I’m light skin, but I’m still a dark nigga” Nonstop by Drake
Porn is not the only place to internalize messaging about the sexuality of dark skinned people; it can be found in movies, T.V shows, songs, just about any media form. I mean who can deny the fact that the words big Black cock and mandingo are part of the American lexicon and vernacular? Even mainstream media reify notions of Black male hyper sexuality, with Arbys and Pizza Hut commercials using phonetically Black sounding men to emphasize meat, big meat. I mean sex sells, right? Notice the lyrics from the Destiny’s Child song Game Over, that describes a Dark skinned man as hyper sexual, “6 foot dark skin… is so hood, he does that thing to me so good”. I can recall in the colorist movie Girls Trip, where all the dark skinned people had negative roles; Kofi Siriboe’s character was hyper sexualized and was called mandingo. The movie Moonlight may not have utilized the BBC stereotype, but it did feature a dark skin queer man who was hyper masculine and gang affiliated. Chiron’s love interest was of course lighter than he was and would find pleasure in giving Chiron a handjob. This imagery reiterated the notion that dark skin queer men’s desirability can only be recognized exclusively through their ability to use and find pleasure in their penises.
Go on ANY black love account on Instagram and notice that men are most often darker than women. Black gay love accounts have similar imagery, checkout @lit_gay_boys (18.4k followers), @gayrelations (35.5k followers), @finerelations (67.1k followers), @nostraightshit_ (60.9k followers) and notice that dark skin men are represented in the same way, they are all masculine and assumably phallus using, whereas light skin men represent a spectrum of performance. And with these accounts having tens of thousands of followers, people are being socialized to view dark skin men as sexually and romantically one dimensional. Light skin men throughout all media forms are represented with a little more flexibility. Think of the BET series Boomerang and the LOGO TV show Noah’s Arc, where both of the central Black queer couples feature two light skinned men. A common trend among some Black women on YouTube who were asked if they prefer light skin men or dark skin men, is that they tend to gravitate towards darker skin men. Their reasoning is because they feel like light skin men are soft, emotional and effeminate. The idea that dark skin men are inherently more masculine means that inherent to dark skin is masculinity which we all know is anti black. Because on the flip side, YouTube videos where Black men were asked if they prefer light skin or dark skin, they consistently chose light skin.
While light skin men may be stereotyped as soft, they still aren’t any less desired than dark skin men because of their proximity to whiteness. That is why there is more versatility and diversity in relation to the imagery of light skin men because they are seen as more attractive/desirable by default. Meaning, light skin men are allowed to be feminine and masculine and still be validated as attractive because of proximal whiteness, whereas dark skin MUST be masculine to be validated. This is why Black queer love instagram accounts are overly represented with light skinned men. Think of Jeremy Meeks, who is a light skinned blue eyed model who went viral because of his mugshot. He was able to leverage his proximal whiteness and default desirability to mainstreamitization, whereas dark skinned people who bare the brunt of the criminal justice system could never be able to leverage their looks to access fame and celebrity. Checkout the Instagram account @mughawtyz (92.2k followers) and @mugshawtyss (266k followers) where white and light skinned Black people’s mugshots are posted because of their desirability. The implication is that you can escape notions of criminality and animalism as long as you’re not a dark skinned Black person; that you are deservant of empathy and humanity as long as you have proximal whiteness/nonblackness.
Continual media imagery presents dark skin women and queer folk negatively, common themes are that we are bitter, angry, jealous, lustful and unruly. TV shows and movies such as Atlanta, Martin, Pose, Coming to America, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, The Proud Family, Girls Trip, Blackish, Dear White People, Norbit, and others had explicit colorism issues aimed at dark skinned fems. We have even seen this brand of colorism behind the scenes, like in the casting calls from the movies Queen and Slim and Straight Outta Compton. Martin Lawrence, Jamie Fox, Blameitonkway, _billionairemh and Eddie Murphy have impersonated and mocked black women. It seems as though that you can dress up and caricaturize dark skin Black women with impunity and without it being considered blackface. Dark skinned fems are either portrayed negatively or completely omitted. And I mean come on! it takes no measure of profundity to realize that the omission of dark skin Black bottoms in gay porn and the omission of dark skin fem presenting and assumably non-phallus users on Instagram love accounts is in fact connected to the omission of dark skin Black women in hip hop music videos and dating shows such as: The Bachelor/ette, Are You the One?, Temptation Island, Double Shot at Love, and Game of Clones. Unsurprisingly, the only Black women represented on these shows are light skin. Additionally, the Black men present on these love and dating shows represent every skin tone.
It’s Just a Preference… They Say
“A nigga cant stand no Black ass bitch” Grind Mode by YG
Understanding the historical roots of colorist anti-black notions of hyper masculinity and dark skin, really helps clarify the origins of many Black men’s so called preferences. We have well over 400 years of anti-black racism in this country, and to suggest that this has not informed the preferences of cis Black men would be stunning. Cishet Black men have a lengthy track record of dehumanizing, degrading, besmirching and ridiculing specifically dark skinned Black women. Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, YG, Kodak Black, Lil Duval, Ne Yo, Tank, Young Berg, Asap Rocky, Charlamagne, Gilbert Arenas, Donald Glover, GloKKnine, Joe Budden, TI, Chris Sales, Damien Prince and many MANY more have bombastically spoke on how dark skinned Black women are beneath them, manly, ugly, or need to ‘stay in their place’. Centuries of anti-blackness compounded with the constant uplifting of light skinned “red/yellow bones” or nonblack exotics/foreign women in media and in music/music videos molds the preferences of many cis Black men. The multilayeredness of this brand of gender based anti blackness trickles itself into the queer Black community and finally pornography.
Gay porn star top Redd went on an interview and said that dark skin men tend not to be feminine and that he likes nonblack latinos and lightskin men. This sounds strikingly familiar to Kodak Black’s remarks, stating that dark skin women are gutter (tough). Redd was not the only Black gay porn star to publicly emphasize their “preference” for light skin bottoms. Phenix and Arquez both made it known that to them, light is right. Arquez went on an interview and reiterated the same sentiments as Redd when he said he’s attracted to “pretty boys” and that they tend to be light skinned. Again strikingly familiar to the words of Lil Wayne “beautiful Black woman, I bet that bitch look better red, or Yung Berg “I don’t like dark butts.” Phenix stated that his preference is light skin men and that they are passionate lovers. Sounds like the lyrics of a song from Fabolous where he says “all I got is faith in these light skins.” Black gay men and Black straight men seemingly both share the same colorist ideas about their dark skin counterparts. Their “preferences” are informed by the white supremacist trope that declares dark skin as inherently masculine, manly, and tough.
Is anti-black fantasy available in contemporary pornography a location of freedom and liberation for cis Black men who have the desire to fuck proximal whiteness? Can it be that the black penis is used as a tool to escape blackness?
This Shit has Systemic Consequences
When Chance the Rapper said he could not believe the victims of R. Kelly because of the fact they were not light skinned or white, I knew colorism was worse than I thought. Dark skinned fems are unable to present their experiences with abuse and trauma because we’re not seen as human. How can it be that dark skin women cannot be victims in any capacity but light skin/white women can? Because after all , you do have Black men like Carl from The Grapevine who said that dark skinned Black women are beneath him like engine oil. On one of the episodes on the T-Time Network, trans Black women talked about how trade (masculine DL Black men) would talk about how they prefer lightskins and how they would say “ I don’t like them dark skinned B*tches”. Thus, the disregard and disposability of dark skinned Black feminine people can be seen in the victims of trans murders. Majority of the victims of the violence against Black trans women are dark skinned, this cannot be a coincidence.
Researchers from Villanova University found out that dark skinned girls are three times more likely to get suspended from school than their light skinned counterparts. Sociology Professor Lance Hannon tells the New York Times, “when a darker skinned African American female acts up, there is a certain concern about their boyish aggressiveness.” You cannot make this shit up. There’s also an undertone of transphobia in all of this. Because dark skin and afrocentric features are seen as inherently manly, dark skin cis women, women of trans experience and non-binary folk can never be feminine; that manhood is projected unto them although that is not their gender identity. This is transphobia 101. Researchers at Villanova University also found that light skinned women get shorter prison sentences for doing the same crime as dark skinned women. Dark skin is more readily associated with criminality and unruliness. The conflation of dark skin and masculinity bears systemic consequences. So would it be a stretch of the imagination to think that the omission of dark skinned Black bottoms and the overwhelming representation of dark skinned Black tops is connected to the systemic prejudices against dark skinned people collectively? I wouldn’t think so, especially if there is data that shows that dark skin fems are often getting the brunt of anti-blackness. In places where we would not expect colorism, there is, especially if this space is accessible to the masses. Football Announcer Tim Ryan for the 49ers called dark skin Black men “things”, so pornography isn’t safe from colorism either. And we must take into account that colorism is a global sentiment, nonblack communities that perpetuate colorism are anti black, because if they have an issue/prejudice with members in their own communities who are darker, then they intrinsically have an issue with Black people because Black people are darker relative to them.
This Should not be Normalized
Talking to other dark skinned queer folk such as myself, I realized that this is a common experience. This isn’t just about pornography or dating apps, this is about the complete erasure, omission, invalidation, marginalization and disposability of dark skinned fems. It’s also dehumanizing to view the dark skin Black male body as hyper masculine, thug-like, and domineering because it is precisely these stereotypes that exacerbates their relationship with white supremacy and anti-blackness. Pornography is just the latest technology that is used to reify notions of dark skinned slaveability, criminality, pathology and animalism and unfortunately cis Black men are complicit with their own erasure and pressumed pathology. We have to really advocate for the disruption of colorist think because there are feasible solutions. Cancel the artist that are blatantly colorist, support dark skinned fem artists, stop watching and supporting colorist tv shows and movies, start listening and validating the experiences of dark skinned fems, CALL OUT colorist people that you’re close to. Finding dark skins fuckable and calling them chocolate is NOT ENOUGH. While these are possible solutions, I may not be able to stop the incessant nonblack ass pictures on dating apps. What I do know is that I am glad that I am aware of the power dynamics and racial hierarchies that are trying so desperately to put me in a sexualized box. This awareness will empower me to challenge myself in finding pleasure and fantasy outside of constructions meant to destroy me. This is where I find freedom.
Dark skinned slaveability is borrowed from @idealblackfemale ‘s work from instagram
Colorism and transphobia is borrowed from Sayhira ‘s work.