Reading Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape and the dialogue surrounding it as a most fecund site for the collaborative laboring of black male sexuality, authenticity, and spectatorship, this article reveals the constitutive relationship between authenticity and spectatorship in the production of black manhood. That is, the tape facilitates our understanding of how performances of race, gender, sex, and sexuality are equally induced by subject as by spectator. The tape not only speaks to the constitutive links between authenticity and spectatorship that pornography reveals but also to the intersections of racial and sexual authenticity for the black male body. Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape offers a posthumous performance of Hendrix's already contentious racial, sexual authenticity. This essay interrogates the collaboration of multiple motifs of authenticity working within Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape and the discourse that frames it: the authenticity of the celebrity body, the authenticity of sex (real sex resulting in tangible, visible pleasure) and most of all, racial, sexual authenticity. The polyvalence of authenticity operating in Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape is matched only by the plurality of spectatorship and the multiplicity of gazes at play in the making of this authenticity. Specifically, the tape illuminates the reflexive constitution of an authentic black masculinity via the white female gaze while further revealing pornography's investment in the imaging and imagining of a genuine black masculinity as being still underscored by a racial, sexual authenticity coded somatically in the “body” of the black male genitals. Jimi Hendrix: The Sex Tape shows us that to really understand how pornography functions as a critical medium in the production of racialized, gendered, and sexualized subjects, we need to recognize pornography as both performance and spectatorship.
Ariane Cruz; The Black Visual Experience: Hendrix, Porn, and Authenticity. Camera Obscura 1 May 2011; 26 (1 (76)): 65–93. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2010-015
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