As a sex coach and educator, I have faced my fair share of “offers” that are not real offers – from “It’ll pay in exposure” to “we will send you it for free to “if you pay for shipping.”
For months, a company that I worked with still ghosts me every time I ask for the stats on how much money they made through my many, many posts and reviews.
Lately, it seems that companies are patting themselves on the back for merely including a Black person in their ads, while behind the scenes, folks have been calling out those same companies for not paying them their proper earnings.
Whether the companies have the budget or not, Black creators and sex educators are underpaid, underrepresented, and undersupported in our industries.
I recently had the pleasure to meet with Venus Cuffs (she/they), a sex educator and former dominatrix, to discuss her experiences with this issue.
As you can imagine it was a fantastic start to my week! However, as I write this, I wish it had been on better terms.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a conversation that we all desperately need to have but one that is all too often left on the shoulders of us BIPOC.
In short, Venus Cuffs was offered 15 dollars to model lingerie for one of the US’s leading mail-order sex toy companies.
Another Black sex worker was offered three dollars to promote for the same company.
This company brings in around $10 Million dollars a year, yet can’t find the funds to pay the BIPOC creators they recruit? Sus.
“This is bigger than anyone company or two or three; this is an industry problem,” Venus points out, “In the sex-positive industry, it’s almost like because it’s about sex, it should just be acceptable because Black women are seen as hypersexual already.”
That is the real issue.
Black women, Black creators, and BIPOC folks are delegitimized in our industries because of how we are seen.
Delegitimized because of how we are stereotyped.
Now, I can get into how colonialism, slavery, hell, even the patriarchy did this, but honestly, that’s draining.
We Black folks have spent so much time educating, writing, and explaining how our positioning in the world is caused by the US’s historical mistreatment of us, but that’s not changing anything for the creators and educators struggling to pay their bills this month!
“We have less opportunity to have the resources we need, and we are most likely to struggle with homelessness and poverty. When that individualism kicked in, nobody cared about us. There was a whole Black Lives Matter movement last June. That is the most in my entire life of being Black that’s the most I’ve seen people actually care, and once again, it was only after somebody was murder. After somebody died,” says Venus.
We have BIPOC creators not being valued at this very moment.
Recently, we lost an amazing community member with the passing of Miss Velvet— dominatrix, Black liberator, and sex-and-pleasure educator.
Venus Cuffs and I began discussing how to not only honor them but honor Black folks in the sex industry in its entirety.
“You don’t support them by commenting RIP once they die. You gotta support them while they’re still here… and to be honest it’s traumatizing a little bit. If that were me, this is the way I would be handled. I wouldn’t get the love, grace, and benefit of the doubt until I’m gone. I am more valuable dead than here doing the work that I am doing. My work means nothing until I am dead and once I am dead it still may not matter,” shared Venus.
She explains, “People need to start caring about Black people while they are still here. There is really no care for us– if we eat, if we don’t eat, if we starve, if we have clothes, if we are behind in bills. Nothing has really amplified this viewpoint of mine more than this pandemic. How many people of color, how many Black and brown people, how many indigenous people have died?”
Underpaying (or not paying) BIPOC creators is another form of silencing.
It is another form of devaluing our bodies.
It is another perpetuation of violence, colonization, and slavery.
We do not exist to serve non-POC. Our work is not lesser, cheaper, or easier.
We are unique, diverse, and multifaceted. We deserve just as much and a whole lot more.
This is why I was inspired to establish change alongside the RW Team.
Our team has created the BIPOC Educator Fund.
This fund will be established via Venmo, where all the donations will be public.
Essentially, any BIPOC creator that works with us has access to a percentage of this fund! Every month this fund will directly go to BIPOC creators on top of what we pay them to work with us.
This is where you (the reader) come in.
Donations have opened and we are asking you to contribute!
Things won’t change without each of us taking steps in the right direction.
Donate here via Venmo (make sure you title it “BIPOC Educator fund”): rachel-wright-111
We have also created the “Anti-Silence Sheet.” This forum will be open to the public and list non-POC and BIPOC deals established with sex industry companies.
Whether or not you are financially able to donate at this moment, we hope that you break the silence. Please share how much you made, what company, and what was required of you on the Anti-Silence Forum.
For white sex educators, coaches, and brand partners, this is where sharing your information matters the most.
Let’s fight against inequity in the sex industry.
Donate Here via Venmo (make sure you title it “BIPOC Educator fund”): rachel-wright-111