A Form Of Reparations: Black Dominatrix Speaks On The Healing She Experiences Inflicting Pain On White Men

February 14, 2018  |  

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Y’all know the Malcolm X quote, “The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.” Sadly, that wasn’t a quote that needed further explanation.

Most of us live out these words every day.

But one woman has found a bit of respite from the bottom of the totem pole. Mistress Velvet manages to shift the power structure for one hour when she beats White men…and then educates them about Black Feminist Theory.

In a recent interview with Huffington Post, Mistress Velvet, a Chicago-based dominatrix, who is also a graduate student, explains the relationship she has with her White, cis-gendered male clients as the one in control, how her work as a domme, over White men specifically has served as a space for healing, and how her Black feminist assignments have helped her clients become more aware of their privilege.

Check out a few excerpts from the interview.

How she got her start

I got started a couple years ago when I was working full time. I was like, I need more money, or I’m going to get evicted. I had a friend who had done it for six years, and it seemed really interesting. I asked her more about it, and I thought, well this could be something really fun, and also it’s a lot of money, so why not try.

I was not good at it at all. My first client ― he was so nice. After a few attempts, he said,

“Honestly, you will never be a Domme,” because I would apologize every time I hit him.

I think that him saying that ― it kind of felt like a challenge to myself: I can be a Domme, I can do this.

When she started becoming invested in her clients.

My relationship with it has definitely changed. Of course, it provides economic stability first and foremost. When I started, I was engaging in survival sex essentially, because I needed to make money and not get evicted and get out of this relationship that I wasn’t enjoying.

Eventually, I realized, wow, I’m emotionally invested in my clients. They’re getting this safe space. The ways that patriarchy impacts men, they can’t really be submissive in a lot of contexts.

They come to me looking for a safe space to explore the parts of them that may not be seen as masculine, or they might have a lot of shame around. They may not have opportunities to be their full selves in a lot of ways, including sexually, because of those societal constraints.
I really liked that aspect of it, and that’s what drew me to it more. Also, I was doing a lot of theorizing about it.

How her work acts as a form of reparations

I would say, first and foremost, that I describe it as a form of reparations ― not in a systemic way like we’re getting land back, but definitely on an individual level, it provides me with an emotional sense of reparations. That’s because of the nature of the dynamic ― that [my clients] usually are white men, that they’re straight, and they’re usually pretty well-off to be able to sustain a relationship with a Domme.

I started to think more about my relationship with them. A lot of them were asking questions. Some people were saying, “This is really impacting me in terms of how I think outside of our sessions.” A client said he started to notice he would only hold the door open for black women.

One client started an organization for black single mothers in the South Side of Chicago.
It made me think. I am now given this platform to make white, cis men think about things in certain ways. Just allowing them to be submissive doesn’t always allow for the more drastic shift in the framework and thinking that I want. So I have to bring in my girls, like Audre Lorde and Patricia Hill Collins, and make these men actually read about black feminism. Then, it’s moving from them simply fetishizing black women, to realizing: This is a systemic issue I’m contributing to by the virtue of being a white man and being rich.

BDSM as healing for Black women

One of the chapters that I wrote [for my thesis] was a little bit about my work as a Domme, but also just generally the idea of BDSM as a space where we could really work through a lot of the stuff that we experience. So what I mean by that is what kind of emotional, mental and social benefits could be cultivated in a space where a black woman is dominant over a white man? What kind of benefits does that have in our lives?

I’m not arguing that it really has systemic benefits necessarily, but I’m arguing that, in the sense that there is so much black femme trauma, to be able to be in a space for an hour, then you leave that space and go back to being one of the most oppressed group ― in that hour, it can be really liberating. It can be a form of self-care.

I argue that because that’s certainly what I have experienced for the most part. Not to say it’s not without its complications.

What kind of feedback do you get when you introduce that concept to the people who come to you? Are people usually up for it?

Well, I don’t usually ask their permission [laughs].

But truthfully I don’t know. They don’t ask, “How did I do today?” I just make them do it. The feedback is that they’re still there. And they come back. And they get very into reading the essays. When I give them permission to think through the readings, and we talk about it and they’ll say, “I’ve just never thought about these things, this was really helpful.”

The literary she orders them to read

I usually start with Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought. Sister Outsiders by Audre Lorde, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The Black Body In Ecstasy by Jennifer Nash, The Color of Kink by Adriene Cruz, and selections from the anthology This Bridge Called My Back.

Black women in BDSM

Coming from the perspective of a Domme that has a Domme community, I think there are actually a lot of black Dommes. The reason why we are erased is because ― the truth is ― most people who are looking for women are looking for white cis women. There are a lot of Dommes, there are a lot of black Dommes and we do a lot of things together. But when you think about us as a group versus our dom friends that are white, we are making much less money. We have much less traffic to our website. People aren’t looking for us as much, but we’re here.
I find domming and sex work to be such a microcosm of the overarching systems at play. The things you’ll see happening in other jobs and other industries, you’ll see happening in sex work.

You can read the full interview over at Huffington Post.

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