Industry News

Exclusive Interview with Sinnamon Love

by Origen

At the 2007 AVN Awards Show, Larry Flynt predicted that in the coming years, half of the adult producers at the time would be out of business. Five years later, his prediction comes across as even more ominous. The Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) is no longer in existence, retail sales of dvds have nosedived, there has been another HIV outbreak, a seemingly precipitous decline in the female talent pool, and an overall feeling of malaise and pessimism as piracy reaches epidemic levels and a myriad of new government regulations are being enacted against producing content without condoms.

What do you feel is the current state and future of the adult video industry?

The adult industry is certainly feeling the pinch as the music industry did a decade ago at the hands of piracy. We’ve taken entirely too long to start truly utilizing the internet to its fullest potential and going after online pirates. In the 90s I owned a live webcam company that couldn’t thrive as technology hadn’t caught up with what we were doing. In early 2000s, I said video companies needed to start live streaming their shoots as a way of getting consumers interested in purchasing products again. Suddenly, everyone is doing live shows including contract girls and “retired” performers. The adult industry has to do exactly what the music industry had to do… find a way to get consumers to spend money again. Its increasingly difficult as there is an entire generation of consumers whose first introduction to porn is “free.” Its a challenge but I think the industry is up for it.
As for the new government regulations, while I am certainly pro-choice, I also feel that this government regulation requiring full barrier protection and not supporting testing could in fact backfire and a larger number of HIV positive infections could result. I also feel a lot of people aren’t aware of what being an “employee” of a company can mean long term. As an employer, you can not discriminate against hiring an HIV+ person.. nor can you inform their co-workers of their HIV+ status. This could be extremely detrimental for our industry. I could see someone suing a company for discrimination under the new regulation. This is not where we want the industry to go. We have to stay strong and fight for better regulation that will both protect the industry and protect our bottom lines.

I recently read an article by Stewart Tongue of XBIZ that producers are moving heavily towards streaming-only and live content.  But do you really believe piracy is the major cause of porn’s downfall?  Or is the Industry’s predicament just a textbook case of market saturation?
Live content is a natural progression as it is very difficult to pirate something that is happening NOW. Many websites are finding that as soon as content is uploaded into their CMS, someone cracks into their back-end and uploads it–before it even goes live on their site. Some fans have developed a sense of entitlement that makes it difficult to convince them to spend money. It just makes sense to continue to diversify ways income streams in order to survive. I believe a combination of piracy, digital technology and celebrity sex tapes are the downfall of porn. “Pro-sumer” camera, editing and computer equipment have made it possible for anyone with a hand-held camera to become a “porn star.” Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and the rest of the “girls next door” who have had sex tapes “leaked,” have made performing in porn not so much of a taboo anymore. Everyone wants to be a star. Today you don’t have to travel to Los Angeles and shoot for the big 10 companies to develop a following–and if you want to start your own company, its easy as paying a local girl a handful of dollars. Market saturation aside, it is simply difficult to make a more cost effective quality product at a discounted rate when human beings, sex and egos are a consideration. Ultimately, the industry has never really done a great deal of market research in order to turn the non-buying population into consumers and primarily focuses on what has always worked in the past. In an over-saturated marketplace with consumers that have easy access to pirated material makes it harder to stick to the same old format. The industry hasn’t changed while the world around it has.

You have been in the adult industry for a very long time.  Is it safe to say almost 20 years?

Almost. 19 years this past February.

You must have seen the Industry change dramatically–especially in terms of size–but do you feel that, as a whole, the adult industry has changed for the better?
As talent, I certainly think the industry has changed for the better. The quality of the product, the revolution of the “porn star agent,” and the pay scale have all increased since I first started in 1993. I read an article once where Vanessa de Rio talked about being paid $150 for a Boy/Girl scene in her day. While many of us started off shooting for Ed Powers or Randy West and received unheard of stipends for “first” scenes, for the most part women were only getting $500-$1200 for basic appearances back in the early 90s. Today, a newcomer can easily start off making $1200-$2000 for a scene. Its certainly an improvement! I also feel proper use of the internet & social media has made it possible for performers to elongate their careers by selling direct to consumer. Webcam, Phone Sex & Personal Sites have become ancillary income in an industry where traditionally only a handful of women become “stars.” Only a handful of women are ever picked up by feature dance agencies, and much as the video industry is shifting, the feature dance circuit isn’t what it used to be either. At one time, a performer could have to leave the industry as her popularity waned and new performers became the hot “It-Girl” of the day. Today, performers can control their careers and make contact with directors and companies like never before and extend the lifespan of her career.

Do you feel as if the Industry has a more positive attitude towards female performers and women in general?    Do you feel as if black female talent have seen better opportunities with this larger, more diversified, and connected industry?
I’m not quite sure I understand the question. I think a lot more women are becoming involved in production as its a necessary part of getting to the base of an untapped marketplace. Traditionally speaking, the industry has always been produced for and by White males. When the industry wanted to tape into the female market, they hired women. When they wanted to tape into the urban market, they hired Black or Spanish directors. When they wanted to tap into the “Alt” market, they hired directors with tattoos and body piercings. In business, you should always hire the right people to do the job. As my father used to say, “The sign of a true leader is the ability to delegate.” At the end of the day, its still a Boys’ Club… but you can never keep women out for long.

At the end of the day it’s still a Boys’ Club?  Do you see any women challenging that notion right now–besides yourself of course?
Absolutely. Women have always made their mark in this industry after all… most people aren’t watching porn for the guys! ? I understand what you mean however. I think its just the era. More women are making moves behind the scenes because its just that time.

Do think there is still a significant amount of misogyny and racism in this industry?
Of course there is racism and misogyny in the industry… but its no more than in any other industry.

The one wonderful thing about this business is that we all have choice. I love that social media allows you a peak into the personal thoughts and opinions of others. I recently un-followed a company owner because of his racial remarks. He seems to believe that because he doesn’t use the “N-Word,” that his comments aren’t volatile. They are, and I have a choice to work for him or not. I chose not to. There is racism and misogyny in the world, in every industry. We are merely a microcosm of the rest of the world and therefore it exists here as well. I find more misogyny and subtle racism from fans towards women in the business than from within it honestly.

You don’t think there is a lot of resentment between minority and non-minority talent pools? (Justin Long had the all-time record for the longest comment thread on LIB for his thoughts on racism in porn and white girls who don’t do interracial–http://www.lukeisback.com/?p=11909)
I am well aware of Justin’s manifesto. It will appear in an anthology I am putting together on Race, Gender & Porn next year. I’m proud of Justin for standing up for his beliefs. At the end of the day, as a producer, I want to put people together that will have great chemistry, regardless of race.

I can’t speak for others. I can only speak for myself. I don’t feel any resentment towards anyone else because I make my own way in this world. Sometimes people have this idea that once you willingly do porn that you give up the right to say who you will or won’t have sex with. Personally, I don’t care if a woman wants to have sex with Black men or not. What I, and many others have a problem with is when companies are willing to pay a performer more for her “first” scene with a Black man. I’m personally not interested in having sex with Transgender performers as I’m not attracted to them. I’m also not interested in having sex with BBW women as I am not attracted to them sexually either. Does this make me prejudiced against someone based on weight or gender? At the end of the day, this is SEX we are talking about. And while fans may want to see their favorite star having sex with someone that looks like “them” we are still women and have the right to choose our sex partners.

On the other side of this discussion, women like myself, Skin Diamond, Jada Fire and Marie Luv have taken hits from Black fans saying that we don’t perform in hardcore, dirty enough scenes on par with those we appear in with White men. This isn’t about race, and often is really an issue of the director or company hiring talent they want to put together and having sex the way the company they are shooting for requires for their particular marketplace. Its not a matter of the performer turning down work if it simply hasn’t been offered.

But it’s also a practical reality as there are much fewer Black studios than white studios…

It’s not just about “Black Studios versus White Studios”. Its about directors shooting what THEY are attracted to as opposed to what the consumer wants. This goes back to my earlier comments regarding market research and turning the non-buying population into consumers




What I also meant about the adult industry being more positive to women is about the Industry attracting women. Many people decry gonzo as this pernicious genre that glorifies the objectification of women. However, it has been my observation that the popular rise in female sexual education (ie techniques towards female orgasm and G-spot) has been concurrent with the rise of gonzo and real female orgasms depicted on video

I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. Sex education and the Female sexual empowerment movement have been in happening long before gonzo came along.

I disagree.  Specifically, we can see a distinct rise in the numbers of female porn consumers in the past 15 years…

That has more to do with porn going online, via cable and female directors than the gonzo genre. It also have to do with the rise of women friendly adult boutiques that make it comfortable for women to shop & browse as they are not the seedy porn stores of the past.
Its basic marketing. Figure out what your clientele wants and give it to them so they can spend money.
It doesn’t have anything to do with gonzo specific genre of porn. The majority of gonzo isn’t even shot with women in mind.

You don’t approve of gonzo’s popularity?
I never said that. I “grew up” in the business with gonzo. I’m merely pointing out the inconsistency of your argument. ? Women aren’t buying porn because of gonzo. Women are buying porn because the delivery system has made it comfortable for them to do so.

What are some of your current projects?  Are you currently producing any content?

I just finished writing an essay for an anthology on Feminism & Porn by Tristan Taormino, Dr. Mireille Miller-Young & Dr. Constance Penley. I’m also launching my new radio show, Sex, Love & Hip Hop on DTFRadio.com March 15th. It’s an relationship advice show for the Urban demographic and will feature topics ranging from love & money to fetishes and dating someone that has gone through the system. My advice column Life, Love & Sinn for TheWellVersed.com will resume this month and my new web series, Friends with Benefits on Blogxilla.com recently launched with an interview with R & B singer Tank last month. The series features intimate conversations with celebrities on a variety of relationship topics with myself, the host Blogxilla & other friends of ours.

I’m also inviting fans into my dungeon each and every Friday at SinnamonLovesDungeon.com (NSFW) in collaboration with Streamate to watch live streaming BDSM shows with male or female submissives or porn stars. I am also shooting a considerable amount of content right now for my Professional Domme Clips4Sale Store (NSFW).

Many people know I’m a poet as well, and will be happy to know I have been performing quite a bit in the NYC area. I’ve headlined Red Umbrella Diaries and Bare Stories recently and will be one of the featured poets at an upcoming Inspired Word NYC: Titillating Tongues erotic poetry event on March 20th.

Since relocating to New York, I spend most of my time writing and working on expanding my brand in ways that I feel are representative of where I am at this stage of my life and career. I’m in no way shape or form retired from hardcore porn… I’m just more selective of my projects.

Are you planning to publish your poetry anytime soon?
I have published some of my poetry in the past, mostly in varied anthologies. Right now, my priority is academic and Hip-Hop writing. I have 3 books to write before I even think about publishing a book of my poetry. Although several DJ & producer friends of mine are trying to push me to do a spoken word album… which of course would mean I’d have to publish a book of poetry to coincide with its release. Poetry isn’t my primary focus right now. I do a lot of college and university lectures. I am speaking at Momentumcon, a feminism, sexuality and relationship conference coming up at the end of the month. My priority is publishing additional works that will further my academic career.

I am so sorry for arguing with you and thank you so much for this interview.  You are truly gracious.
No worries. As an outsider looking in, I know that your views are going to be based on the peripheral—and not necessarily on reality. lol! It happens.

http://sinnamonlove.cammodels.com/

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