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  • A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography

    Author(s): Mireille Miller-Young
    Published: 2014
    Pages: 392
    Illustrations: 40 color illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $99.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5814-5
  • Paperback: $27.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5828-2
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  • Preface. Confessions of a Black Feminist Academic Photographer vii

    Acknowledgments viii

    Introduction. Brown Sugar: Theorizing Black Women's Sexual Labor in Photography 1

    1. Sepia Sex Scenes: Spectacles of Difference in Race Porn 23

    2. Sexy Soul Sisters: Black Women in the Golden Era 66

    3. Black Chicks: Marketing Black Women in the Video Era 104

    4. Ho Theory: Black Female Sexuality at the Convergence of Hip Hop and Pornography 142

    5. (Black) Porn Star: Aspirations and Realities in Porn Work 180

    6. Behind the Scenes: Confronting Disempowerment and Creating Change in Black Women's Porn Work 226

    Epilogue. Behind the Camera: Black Women's Illicit Erotic Interventions 263

    Notes 283

    Bibliography 315

    Index 355
  • Winner, 2015 John Hope Franklin Book Publication Prize, presented by the American Studies Association

    Winner, 2015 Sara A. Whaley Prize

  • “This much-needed volume reminds scholars of the need to deepen porn studies and strengthen its interdisciplinary possibilities through various theoretical lenses and critical approaches.  Supporting her book with abundant images, Miller-Young thoughtfully exposes readers to concepts both visually and intellectually. …  A necessary volume for academics as well as those interested in popular culture studies that have a dialogue with race and/or women. Essential. Graduate students/faculty.” — M. Martinez, Choice

    “Reading A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography on a New York subway train will earn you some very interesting looks. Adorned with a cover photo featuring the beautiful porn star Jeannie Pepper topless in a white fur like something out of Superfly, and the customary wall of text that comes with academic books on the back, it brings out New York's best double takes. … A Taste for Brown Sugar offers fine scholarship, done with the utmost respect of the subject and the workers chronicled.” — Sydette Harry, make/shift

    "Through meticulous research and a masterly melding of the best of theoretical, conceptual, and empirical work in black women’s sexuality, A Taste for Brown Sugar analyzes African American women’s agency within the adult entertainment industry.... If A Taste for Brown Sugar can produce a solid analysis of such a difficult, controversial topic, Miller-Young has set a high bar for similar projects that study oppositional knowledge." — Patricia Hill Collins, The Journal of American History

    "[E]ssential reading for anyone seeking to understand new work on feminism, critical race studies, pornography, and film history." — Svati P. Shah, Women's Review of Books

    "A Taste for Brown Sugar is a necessary, long overdue text that should interest scholars and students of various fields and backgrounds, particularly those interested in feminist theory, media studies, histories of black women, sex work, and of course porn studies.... The book is impressive, cultivating a rich and diverse tapestry of urgent voices and images, revealing the complicated interplay between labor and representation." — Laura Helen Marks, Feminist Media Studies

    "Everyone interested in understanding the industry and the people, especially the Black women involved, in front of and behind the cameras, should read this book cover to cover.... There is a wide audience for this well-researched and well-produced book.... The general public as well as researchers from film and media studies, history, sexuality studies, African American studies, labor studies, critical race studies, sociology, and anthropology will appreciate A Taste for Brown Sugar." — Sherri L. Barnes, Feminist Collections

    Awards

  • Winner, 2015 John Hope Franklin Book Publication Prize, presented by the American Studies Association

    Winner, 2015 Sara A. Whaley Prize

  • Reviews

  • “This much-needed volume reminds scholars of the need to deepen porn studies and strengthen its interdisciplinary possibilities through various theoretical lenses and critical approaches.  Supporting her book with abundant images, Miller-Young thoughtfully exposes readers to concepts both visually and intellectually. …  A necessary volume for academics as well as those interested in popular culture studies that have a dialogue with race and/or women. Essential. Graduate students/faculty.” — M. Martinez, Choice

    “Reading A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography on a New York subway train will earn you some very interesting looks. Adorned with a cover photo featuring the beautiful porn star Jeannie Pepper topless in a white fur like something out of Superfly, and the customary wall of text that comes with academic books on the back, it brings out New York's best double takes. … A Taste for Brown Sugar offers fine scholarship, done with the utmost respect of the subject and the workers chronicled.” — Sydette Harry, make/shift

    "Through meticulous research and a masterly melding of the best of theoretical, conceptual, and empirical work in black women’s sexuality, A Taste for Brown Sugar analyzes African American women’s agency within the adult entertainment industry.... If A Taste for Brown Sugar can produce a solid analysis of such a difficult, controversial topic, Miller-Young has set a high bar for similar projects that study oppositional knowledge." — Patricia Hill Collins, The Journal of American History

    "[E]ssential reading for anyone seeking to understand new work on feminism, critical race studies, pornography, and film history." — Svati P. Shah, Women's Review of Books

    "A Taste for Brown Sugar is a necessary, long overdue text that should interest scholars and students of various fields and backgrounds, particularly those interested in feminist theory, media studies, histories of black women, sex work, and of course porn studies.... The book is impressive, cultivating a rich and diverse tapestry of urgent voices and images, revealing the complicated interplay between labor and representation." — Laura Helen Marks, Feminist Media Studies

    "Everyone interested in understanding the industry and the people, especially the Black women involved, in front of and behind the cameras, should read this book cover to cover.... There is a wide audience for this well-researched and well-produced book.... The general public as well as researchers from film and media studies, history, sexuality studies, African American studies, labor studies, critical race studies, sociology, and anthropology will appreciate A Taste for Brown Sugar." — Sherri L. Barnes, Feminist Collections

  • "A Taste for Brown Sugar is a game changer, a courageous and bold book that shifts the discourse on the contested history of race and porn. Mireille Miller-Young's rigorous historical and ethnographic research disrupts the 'good versus bad' binary that has dogged debates about pornography for decades." — E. Patrick Johnson, author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

    "A Taste for Brown Sugar is a thorough and compelling look at a subject steeped in society's anxiety and imagination: black women in pornography. Mireille Miller-Young dives head first into a thorny topic with clear, nuanced thinking. This book tackles complicated issues of race, sex work, feminism, pleasure, and representation in a rigorous, thoughtful way. Finally: scholarship that centers black women's labor and ideas in both academia and the sex industries and gives crucial voice to underrepresented workers and feminist thinkers. Miller-Young's approach is intersectional, engaging, and, above all, accessible to scholars and general readers alike. This book will enrage you, enlighten you, and make you rethink everything you know about race and sex." — Tristan Taormino, author of True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and Perversion

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  • Description

    A Taste for Brown Sugar boldly takes on representations of black women's sexuality in the porn industry. It is based on Mireille Miller-Young's extensive archival research and her interviews with dozens of women who have worked in the adult entertainment industry since the 1980s. The women share their thoughts about desire and eroticism, black women's sexuality and representation, and ambition and the need to make ends meet. Miller-Young documents their interventions into the complicated history of black women's sexuality, looking at individual choices, however small—a costume, a gesture, an improvised line—as small acts of resistance, of what she calls "illicit eroticism." Building on the work of other black feminist theorists, and contributing to the field of sex work studies, she seeks to expand discussion of black women's sexuality to include their eroticism and desires, as well as their participation and representation in the adult entertainment industry. Miller-Young wants the voices of black women sex workers heard, and the decisions they make, albeit often within material and industrial constraints, recognized as their own.

    About The Author(s)

    Mireille Miller-Young is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a coeditor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure.
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