The Mandingo Manifesto: Branding The Black Sex Master

You probably don’t know this, but The Black Sex Master is actually the fourth iteration of my online personal blog/journal.

The first one I started right after high school when I attended Penn State. It was the first time I lived outside of New York and I needed a space to jot down my culture shock. The second version was called De Los Otros (From The Others) after the book of the same title. It’s probably the most important book regarding changing my career trajectory from journalist to sexuality scholar. I was also embracing my weirdness and thought it fit. This is also where The Quotes of the Week were born!

The third was named after my AOL hookup screename, but it was private and didn’t last too long.

When I returned from my Master’s program I had so much to say, so much on my mind. But I didn’t just want to write another blog. I also wanted to conduct an experiment.

At orientation, the former director of my program (a White man) warned us of what was to come (paraphrasing):

“You will be ostracized for studying sexuality. The legitimacy of your scholarship will always be in question. Other social sciences will look down on you…”

And he wasn’t wrong. In my day job I’m surrounded by MPH’s, MS’ and social workers who often not only think they’re better than me, but think their skill set is better (it never is).

This stigma is also internalized in the field and intersects with my other identities. I originally wanted to do my thesis interviewing porn stars. I was working in the business for a few years at that point and wanted to formally document what I was experiencing. But several of my teachers encouraged me to do a more “formal” thesis…especially if I wanted to subsequently get into a distinguished PhD program. Funny enough, they “let” a White gay man in my cohort do his thesis on porn. And I get it. Their goal was to get me prepared to be a professional gay. Black gay men need all the help we can get in the “good Negro” visibility department.

Speaking of the politics of respectability, did you know there’s this Asian professor who made his own straight porn to show Asian men are desexualized in media representation? Think a Black man could do that and still have an academic career? I doubt it. Especially ten/twenty years ago.

And then there was that defining moment second year. I was in the waiting room of our program staring at a wall of pamphlets. I realized our program’s tri-fold brochure had a Black women on it. And I thought to myself, “Wait, how many Black students have actually been in this program?!” Come to find out there were only four (out of roughly 40): two gay boys (one of which was in my cohort), a woman a few years before and myself. Pathetic.

And clearly there are other Black academics who have expertise in sexuality but have a “generic” degree, but I think my point still stands. They may market themselves as having an expertise in sexual orientation/gender (read LGBT), but not broader sexuality. The oversexed stereotype of Black folk is so powerful it was covertly eroding my ability to chart my career the way I wanted to. Ironically, the Mandingo effect: that Black men have big dicks and can’t stop fucking was preventing me from studying dicks and fucking for a living. Ain’t that some shit?

So I thought to myself, “If I’m going to always be more valued for my body than my mind, how the hell do I market myself as an intellectual and remain true to myself and my ideals.

Well, I didn’t have the answer to that question, but I figured out a fun way to proceed on my journey.

Looking at other blogs I enjoyed surrounding race and stereotypes, I realized some people were having fun with their branding. There’s Angry Asian Man; get it? He’s Asian, and angry, but no one cares because Asian men are feminine and non-threatening. Anti-Intellect, The Uppity Negro Network, the Field Negro, etc. But all the Black ones I read didn’t explicitly deal with sex (some LGBT, but that’s different).

At some point during the program, we started calling each other “sex masters.” And sure enough this URL was available. So I wanted to test a hypothesis: what if I have this crazy URL, but fill it just with words? Little to no crazy images, just the best writing on sexuality I could produce. What would it look like? How would people respond? Would that garner me the respect I so eagerly craved?

Four years later, I can answer that question; it’s a resounding NO.

Black man grinding

Black sex master

Black man rent

The Mandingo effect is so durable, I’m continually amazed. You wouldn’t believe how many people find this site googling for Black men to degrade, humiliate and fuck the shit out of them. I expected that in the beginning, and many of the earlier posts were designed to get these page views back when I expected to put advertising on the site.

Bitchtouse

It’s the same with the Facebook page. There’s no smut on it whatsoever, however not a week goes by without someone hitting me up out of pocket (as Joaquin would say) looking to be used and abused. Although, the about page isn’t really filled out (on purpose) If you click on the links, follow me on Twitter and read the posts you get of sense of what I do and why I named this site the way I did. The joke’s not that hard to get.

The Facebook page is also interesting because many of the people I know in real life (and who read and love this blog on a regular basis) refuse to interact with it because they don’t want their friends/family asking why they “associate with a Black Sex Master.” They’ll go straight to the site, refuse to like the page or share the posts. Even other sex masters! But I get feedback privately all the time. The number of FB fans is probably around half of those who read this blog on a regular basis.

But in the end, none of that matters. To many people, I’m nothing more than my genitalia. And that makes me sad. To paraphrase India.Arie, I am not my dick. I’m much more than that:

I’m a video game lover, especially Halo
I’m a loving uncle and brother
I’m a tech enthusiast and Apple fanboy
I’m probably the biggest Christina Aguilera fan you’ll ever meet

I should be able to talk about all these things and more. I should be able to be proud of all these facets of my life/personality. I should be able to name a site The Black Sex Master and not be blocked by spam filters when there’s no porn on the site.

My full humanity should be recognized and honored; personally and professionally.

It is my belief that as long as Black men (gay, straight or otherwise) are put in this box of hyper masculinity, we will never be free.

This blog is my resistance. And to be honest, it’s the only sanctuary I have left.

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