STUDIO CITY, Calif. - The top performers, studios and directors in the ethnic adult video market gathered at Platinum Live last night for the first annual Urban Spice Awards.
Organized by director Giana Taylor, the awards celebrate outstanding achievement in black, Latin and Asian porn. For many in attendance last night, the show represented long-overdue recognition and respect.
"It was a poignant night," said Sean Michaels, who co-hosted the show with Olivia O'Lovely. "This is something that needed to be done long ago. When I came into the industry in 1986 - '87, there was a big issue with racism ... and there still is an issue with racism. But there is definitely more promise in this industry's future for ethnic performers and white performers. We all want to be recognized and appreciated. Why exile a huge part of the adult industry when it comes to certain awards shows? It's just really rude and disrespectful. This is a launching pad for many future ethnic events. People need to recognize the relevance of tonight. This is a $13-14 billion dollar industry and the urban community is such a big part of that. It's really just time to recognize us the right way."
The ceremony kicked off with a Hall of Fame induction honoring an esteemed group of XXX superstars. Fans and peers ripped into applause as Jeannie Pepper, Mr. Marcus, Julian St. Jox, Byron Long, Devlin Weed, and Michaels took the stage. Heather Hunter, Ray Victory, Vanessa Del Rio and Johnny Keyes were also inducted into the Hall of Fame, but could not attend.
The evening featured live performances by comedian Evan Lionel, the Punani Poets and J. Strokes. MIC XXL and Dysonn joined Tommy Gunn on stage to debut "(Put It) Right There," a hip-hop anthem recorded for Offset Entertainment's newest edition of Porn Icon. Brian Pumper later performed a track from his Phatty's Rhymes n Dimes series, signing off with a defiant "fuck you!" to the "haters."
Several performers compared the vibe in the room to a family reunion, with West Coast Productions at the head of the family tree. When WCP received a Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Marcus, Mandingo, Alexander Devoe and others joined national sales manager Vernel on stage to speak about the company's role in launching their careers and blazing the trail for black and interracial porn.
"Without West Coast there wouldn't be me," said DeVoe. "[Owner] James Alexander gave me creative rein to develop my stuff. I learned what worked and what didn't."
"If it weren't for West Coast a lot of us wouldn't be here," added Mandingo.
Black Market head James Melendy was happy to win the Best New Company trophy, noting that black and interracial product deserves more credit than it has received from the industry in the past.
"When something represents 35 percent of the industry, you can't overlook it," said Melendy. "Giana Taylor deserves a lot of credit for making this effort to get everybody together and give them the same respect that other companies get. Without Giana, it wouldn't have taken place."
Devoe also expressed his appreciation of Taylor's efforts.
"Giana worked really hard to bring everything together," he said. "There were a few snags, but everything flowed. People have been talking about doing something like this, but no one had taken the steps to make it happen. Giana started planning it three or four months ago. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of stress for her. I was just happy to see everyone here showing their support."
For Taylor, the event was just the beginning of an ongoing effort.
"It was very hectic, but I feel we had a great turnout and I'm so glad everyone came out and supported the movement," said Taylor. "I think next year it will be better. It was definitely a learning experience for me. I know I have to get a bigger venue and more staff! I just hope everybody enjoyed the show and come back next year. The first year is always the hardest."Among those getting their freak on were Shorty Mac, Pinky, Cherokee, Jada Fire, Trina Michaels, Jessica Drake, Julia Ann, Trinity Post, Sophie Dee, Priya Ray, Karen Stagliano, Gianna, Jon Jon, Lee Bang, Tommy Gunn, Brad Armstrong, Ivan, Tony T, Juan Cuba, Grip Johnson, Sara Jay and Byron Long.
The winners are as follows:
Best All-Sex Release - Sneaky Sex in the Shower (Evasive Angles)
Best Anal-Themed Release - Black Ass Addiction 2 (Alexander DeVoe/Jules Jordan Video)
Best Anal Sex Scene - Brian Pumper and Aurora Jolie
Best BBW Release - Infattuation (Female Factory/Black Market)
Best Big Boob Release - Big Wet Black Tits 2 (Elegant Angel)
Best Big-Booty Release - My Baby Got Back 44 (Afro-Centric/Video Team)
Best Feature - Ransom (West Coast Productions)
Best Girl-Girl Series - Sistas (Afro-Centric/Video Team)
Best Girl-Girl Release - Womenopoly 2 (Female Factory / Black Market)
Best Gonzo - Yo Quiero Chocolate 4 (Candy Shop / Red Light District)
Best Group Sex Release - Alone in the Dark 6 (Candy Shop / Red Light District)
Best Interracial Release - Lex on Blondes 4 (Mercenary Pictures)
Best Interracial Series - Phat Ass White Booty (Alexander DeVoe/Jules Jordan Video)
Best MILF Release - Sexy Bootylicious Moms (West Coast Productions)
Best New Company - Black Market
Best Oral - Pinky's Dick Sucking for Dumb Asses (Black Market)
Best Amateur Release - Amateur Prospects (Black Market)
Best Pro-Am Release - Black Moon Rising 6 (Mercenary Pictures)
Best Reality Release - Girlfriend That's My Man (West Coast Productions)
Best Specialty Release - Black Girl's Foot 2 (B. Pumper Productions)
Best Two-Way Sex Scene - Marco Banderas and Marie Luv, Minority Rules (Wicked Pictures)
Best Wall-to-Wall - China Blue (Teravision)
Best Vignette Release - Freakaholics 2 (Alexander DeVoe/Jules Jordan Video)
Best Agency with Ethnic Talent - Five Star
Best Anal Performer - Marie Luv and Jasmine Cashmere (tie)
Best Director (Body of Work) - Alexander DeVoe
Best Director (Feature) - Bishop
Best Director (Gonzo) - Juan Cuba
Best Female Performer - Roxy Reynolds
Best Interracial Star - Belladonna
Best Male Newcomer - J Strokes
Best Male Performer - Mr. Marcus
Best Oral Female - Jada Fire
Best Oral Male - Byron Long
Best Studio- West Coast Productions
Best Videographer- Vanessa Blue
Biggest Ass in Porn - Cherokee
Crossover Female - Roxy Reynolds
Crossover Male - Lexington Steele
Freakiest Girl in Porn - Monique
Hottest BBW Star - Crystal Clear
Rising Star Female - Misty Love
Visionary - Alexander Devoe and Lexington Steele (tie)