SEX WEEK: ALEXANDER DEVOE – CHANGING THE GAME IN BLACK PORN

Originally posted at The Well Versed

You may not recognize the face, but if you’re an avid porn watcher, you definitely know the name. In 1999,Alexander DeVoe got into porn to change the game. More than a decade into his run and a mantle full ofAVN and Urban X Awards suggests he’s done just that. TWV caught up with the award winning director to get his thoughts on the separation of races in the business, giving the fans what they want and why people initially thought “DeVoe is crazy.”

The Well Versed: What caused you to get into the business?

Alexander DeVoe: I came in the business to change the way people were producing black porn. People were shooting stereotypical stuff. When I started, I didn’t have a concept of what it was to make “ghetto stuff,” which was all I saw.

TWV: Can you talk about what you were seeing versus what you wanted to do?

AD: A lot of people don’t realize in the 90s, most of the black stuff was made by white producers. They would just take black people and produce what they thought people wanted to see. Because it was people that weren’t vested in it, they didn’t give a fuck. Me, I wanted to do something different. I just wanted to make good content: Black people, whites, Asians, Latinas, as long as the content was good.

TWV: Was there anything you watched that set you off, like “I have to do something about this?”

AD: I watched a lot of porn before I came in, but the stuff I was watching was from Evil AngelJohn Stagliano was my inspiration. I had been in for two years before I watched the stuff that people were complaining about. When I finally watched, I had to call a friend of mine that was a performer to ask him why he did it. He said, “I didn’t have a choice.” Nah, you do have a choice. I come from the understanding that if you say “no” to people, that puts you in a better position. When you say no, you have some power.

TWV: Was it an uphill climb for you?

AD: I came in at one of the best times. It happened really fast. I came in with my ex, Diana DeVoe in the summer of 1999. When I came in, it’s not like we had to struggle to survive; it was like a rollercoaster.

TWV: What kinds of content do you like to shoot?

AD: I shoot stuff that people want to see. I try to find a mix between my personal tastes and what consumers ask [for]. I don’t want to be experimental. In my mind something may be the greatest, but I put it out and nobody wants to buy it.

TWV: What you hear from consumers regarding what they want; has it been pretty steady over the years?

AD: When I first started [directing], people didn’t understand it. When they watched it, they never would’ve guessed it was a black guy producing it; it was all this weird shit, tying people up, gagging them, crazy costumes and dungeons. I wanted to present something that was visually appealing.

TWV: So you’ve moved more towards fetish content?

AD: I look at it as another level to present people of color in.

TWV: Porn is still taboo in the black community, but we know a lot of black people are watching. When you got into the bondage stuff, was it difficult to introduce that?

AD: It was in the beginning. People thought, “This dude, DeVoe is crazy.” There’s a vocal minority that watches this. This is my style, once people got used to the brand, they were feeling it because I was giving them a different look. Everybody else was doing the booty shaking—and I do that because you’ve got to hit every niche. If you look at things in terms of business, everybody might not be feeling it, but there’s an audience. I never want to be compartmentalized or produced things that are stereotypical.

TWV: Was there a process of educating people on the fetish content?

AD: The owner of West Coast [Productions] gave me free reign to do what I wanted, so I was doing shit that was way out: Putting girls in wings and resurrecting dead folks. I was giving people a lot to look at. People were so used to popping in a VHS and watching people shake their booty and have sex. I tried to keep everything really complex, but I understand that you only had a certain amount of time before people hit fast forward.

TWV: A lot of people have an issue with the portrayal of women in pornography—specifically black women. Is there a way to portray women positively in porn?

AD: I try to stay away from stereotypical aspects. For the consumer, in order to sell stuff, you have to think of how the distributor is going to sell stuff. In a perfect world, I would never label anything. I had to learn the concepts “black” and “interracial” because everybody wanted to segregate stuff. I call all my stuff “multi-ethnic.”

I never think that if I’m shooting a black girl, I’m going to shoot her in a different way. When I take a black girl and shoot her in a fetish scene, people weren’t used to seeing girls in those types of situations. You just create stuff for people to enjoy.

TWV: Do you think within the black community, you’ve moved the conversation forward in terms of what’s acceptable sexually?

AD: I think I’ve raised the bar up a lot higher. I’ve evolved and as I’ve done that I’ve realized that if you make good stuff, you’re always going to have the support of consumers and fans.

You can contact Anthony on Twitter at Twitter.com/SimplyAnthony or Facebook at FaceBook.com/ajspringer1where he can be found chatting about MMA, social issues or whatever else tickles his fancy.

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