Monday, August 2, 2010

Laurence Fishbourne's Daughter, Would be Porn Star?

The Blackosphere is buzzing with the news that Montana Fishbourne, daughter of Laurence Fishbourne has decided to break into Hollywood by releasing a sex tape.
TMZ has learned Montana Fishburne is starring in a porno flick for Vivid Entertainment -- explaining, "I've watched how successful Kim Kardashian became and I think a lot of it was due to the release of her sex tape."

Unlike the celeb she admires -- Montana who also goes by the name "Chippy D," is not arguing that her tape was stolen or obtained illegally.
I circled back and forth regarding this story.  On one hand we need to respect Montana's agency.  She is going into this with her eyes open and with strict career goals in mind.

I have to be completely honest and admit that I am not a fan of porn -- for me, there will always be a level of degradation in it that is insurmountable.  I can recognize the fact that many women choose to participate in it without restraint and this seems to be the case when it comes to Montana; however, far too many women fall into the sex trade  to feed a drug habit or to earn a living due to the economic restraints placed upon women by patriarchy.  It is a known fact that with the down turn in the economy, more and more women are choosing to become strippers.  Choice is not always as cut and dry as it appears.

Clearly, Montana grew up with class privilege because her father is a very successful Hollywood actor who has appeared in the Matrix trilogy, "The Tuskegee Airmen", "Boyz in the Hood", and even "The Colour Purple". One would think that like many children of Hollywood actors that she would be able to use her fathers name and connections to get her foot in the door, instead she says that her "home training" is what has made it comfortable for her to be in front of the camera for the porn flick. Montana wants to be a star. There have been plenty of kids with famous parents who have managed to become successful in their right, for example: Drew Barrymore, Sean Penn, Nicholas Cage, Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Tracy Ellis Ross, Kelly Osbourne, Sheri Belafonte, Jamie Lee Curtis,Tatum O'Neal, Kate Hudson, and Kiefer Sutherland, none of them have done porn.  If having sex were the path to success, porn actresses would be revered instead of reviled.

There have been women like Jena Jameson who have turned porn into a virtual empire and it cannot be denied that mega star Madonna used sex to help reach the pinnacle of her career. Then you have women like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian whose sex tapes launched them to fame.  Neither of their tapes were willingly released and this is a fact that Montana seems to have missed.

The Black Snob, Danielle Belton had this to say:
See? They understood the rules. Make money. Get the fame. But still try to stay within the nonsensical rules of female sexuality in a patriarchy -- which is "chicks aren't supposed to want the sex or pimp the sex in their favor." You're supposed to be SHOCKED and SADDENED and CRY to Oprah. This is a sex tape release disaster.

That said ... OMG! People are ADMITTING to releasing sex tapes on purpose to jump start their careers now? That's a thing? This is it. This chick just killed celebutante sex tapes!
I don't think that this tape is going to end up taking Montana where she wants to go.  I think that she will get her 15 minutes of fame and quickly disappear no matter how good of an actress she is.  She will become just another commodity that people will quickly consume and then discard.  She is not releasing a sex tape, she is releasing porn and I cannot think of any woman who has been able to turn that into mainstream success. There is a first time for everything, but somehow I believe if and when that opportunity is offered, it will go to a White woman and not a WOC. Karrine Steffans has never lived down the "Video Vixen" and even Ron Jeremy, could not escape  his porn roots when he attempted to become a stand up comedian.  If a White man cannot use his privilege to change his public image, what chance does this Black woman have?

Whatever fame Montana does get from this will not be the kind she thinks.  We live in a sexist world and women are not elevated from being sexual and they certainly are not elevated when they do so profit.  Like many women before her, she will be slut shamed -- just ask Ashley Alexandra Dupre, Spitzer's high priced call girl.  She is now writing a sex column for the New York Times; however, Dupre still cannot get a record label to sign her.  Sex may sell, but it is not always the path to success, furthermore; what you will be known for, is what is between your legs and not between your ears.  Halle Berry is the winner of an academy award, and is to this day is slut shamed by members of the Black of community for the topless scenes that she did in "Swordfish" and "Monster's Ball". So, if a woman as successful as Berry cannot catch a break, what the hell makes Montana think she will?

No matter how hard I try to take a positive spin on this, I simply cannot.  I won't go as far as the naysayers and predict doom and gloom for her and I will respect that she is doing this of her own free will.  I simply cannot believe that celebrity is worth your dignity.  Mentally, I cannot let go of the fact that Black women are continually slut shamed by the media and her actions will simply uphold this negative construction in the social consciousness.  Montana may be an individual, but her body will be used as a representative for a large community, because people of colour do not have the privilege of being seen as individuals.

Lawrence Fishbourne has won a Tony, an Emmy and has been nominated for an Academy Award. Is there something here we don't know?  Aspiring actresses/actors would kill for the kind in that Montana has.  I cannot believe that her father could not have helped her to get ahead had he so desired.  So I have to ask, how does someone with her kind of privilege wake up one morning and decide to do porn?  Even Nicole Ritchie, who has done some serious shit did not resort to porn.  No matter how you look at it, this is not going to end well.