This Is What Is Wrong With "Not The Cosbys XXX" (And By Extension, Porn)

Mar 16, 2010 | Posted by Lux Alptraum

As a general rule, I'm pretty difficult to offend (when you work adjacent to the porn industry, you sorta have to be). But this morning I received a press release that pushed me over the edge.

What was the offending press release? Why, the plainly titled "Do White Girls Make Not the Cosbys XXX 2 Sequel Better?"

To be honest, I shouldn't have been that surprised by the press release. The adult industry makes no secret of the fact that white women are seen as the default sexual fantasy: with rare exception, black porn actresses are relegated to niche titles that fetishize the color of their skin. (Not that this makes the adult industry any different from, say, the fashion industry, but that's a topic for another article entirely.)

But still: to take "The Cosby Show"—a sacred cow of blacks in mainstream entertainment—and to suggest that it could be "improved" with the addition of a few more white faces (and bodies)? Well, that was a bit too far for me.

Let us not forget that the original "Cosbys XXX" was not exactly a, ahem, black movie. Despite the smiling black faces adorning the box cover, there was more than enough white flesh to make this a bonafide "interracial" feature. Of the five (non-masturbation) sex scenes, only one featured two black performers; what's more, due to the—predominantly white—six person orgy scene that clocked in as the first major sex scene, there were actually more white women than black women getting naked and sexed up in this ostensibly black movie. Not that that's how director Will Ryder recalls things:

"What many don't realize is that we had white girls in the first movie and even a cute Asian but most still think of it as a black movie and not even an interracial movie but that is not true," Ryder remarked.

The obvious problem here is the insinuation that being a black movie is somehow the lesser option, that there is somehow a problem with people not recognizing the movie as interracial, with not recognizing that there are white girls in it, too. Apparently, Ryder's hoping to avoid making the same mistake with the sequel: while the box cover for the original feature showed the (not) Cosby family together, with not a single white face in the picture, the box cover for the sequel (shown here) has Cliff along with three white women and a Latina—and not a single one of the black women who are the ostensible stars of the feature.

Not that Will Ryder is racist or anything:

"Black is beautiful baby but we love women of all colors so we tossed in some more white ladies and a cute girl from Miami into this sequel and as you can see by the box cover Cliff is loving it," Ryder joked.

While the sentiment that "we love women of all colors" is a nice one, Ryder's never been compelled to demonstrate his love of diversity by adding some extra flavor to a predominantly white movie. "Not The Bradys" doesn't provide us with a scene of the boys going to work on a team of black women, no dark skinned beauties pop up unannounced in "Not Three's Company." Granted, one could argue that scenes like those wouldn't be true to the original sitcom—but then again, a six person, predominantly white orgy involving none of the show's characters isn't exactly true to "The Cosby Show," either.

What it feels like, ultimately, is that Ryder—and Porn Valley at large—feels the need to apologize for featuring black performers, for giving them time in the (mainstream) sun. Because black movies are seen as niche movies, any film that wants to be perceived as mainstream plays up its "interracial" angle, or its white performers—without any concern for what kind of message this sends about the film's black talent (hint: it doesn't make them look awesome).

And the longer we keep doing this, the longer we refuse to promote a predominantly black movie as mainstream in its own right, the more we relegate black porn performers as second class citizens. "Not the Cosbys" had the opportunity to shatter this glass ceiling, to make a black movie that was also mainstream because of its "Cosby Show" connection. And yet Will Ryder gleefully squandered the opportunity—and, with this press release, shat on any hope that he might, one day, come forth with a semi-enlightened perspective on race in the adult industry.

· Sitcums (sitcums.com)

*****

Previously: "Not the Cosbys XXX": All That and a Jello Pudding Pop

Tagged in: Pornstars, interracial, Parody, DVD, Racism, Jezebel, Rants, Will ryder

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