Yes, you do still need consent from former and current sex workers
Their previous careers in sex work do not negate the fact that they are just as entitled to respect, compassion, privacy, and protection.
by Tynesha M. McCullers
A video of Blac Chyna performing oral sex on her former partner, Mechie, was leaked recently. Immediately, people on Twitter and other social media accounts shared the video, retweeted it, and posted comments openly laughing at and critiquing the model. While this response from the public is not a surprise to me, it is still a huge disappointment.
This isn’t the first time that Blac Chyna has endured something like this, having been exposed and violated via revenge pornography from her ex, Rob Kardashian. That fact does not make this particular moment any less impactful.
Both Blac Chyna and Mechie deny leaking the video of themselves. And the two expressed disdain regarding the leak. Attorneys and investigators are getting involved to determine how the footage was obtained and who leaked it.
I’m thankful that the two are seeking legal counsel in order to get justice for this matter. They recorded a video in the privacy of their bedroom and now it is being exposed to the world because someone feels as though they, and the rest of the world, are entitled to Blac Chyna’s body. They feel entitled to criticize it, and rate it and her sexual abilities, all without her consent. It’s just disturbing that she is being subject to this treatment, and that people are sharing and delighting in this revenge porn, and feeling entitled to do so because of Blac Chyna’s previous and current career choices.
There were similar sentiments when Cardi B was caught on video going off on a “fan” who grabbed her butt without her consent. While some people supported Cardi B, many others offered nothing but criticism to the rapper. “What did she expect?” they asked. They felt that because Cardi B used to be a stripper, she should be used to people touching on her body in that way (despite the fact that the vast majority of strip clubs have a “no groping” policy that will get you removed if violated).
What has happened and keeps happening Blac Chyna and Cardi B is an express violation of their consent. Their previous careers in sex work do not negate the fact that they are just as entitled to respect, compassion, privacy, and protection as anyone else.
Consider now the amount of support and praise non-black women receive for exposing themselves, even as Black women are shamed for it. Kim Kardashian West’s and the Kardashian/Jenner family have all made a lucrative living off a sex tape that Kim created with her ex, Ray J. Since the release of that video, the family has received numerous deals including a TV show, a clothing line, and cosmetics lines.
Whenever a nude photo or a video of sexual nature is released or leaked of Kim Kardashian people flock to it with praise. Her whiteness protects her from the criticism that Black women have to endure for exposing themselves. The double standard is exhausting and it’s getting old.
Most recently an incident that has paralleled Blac Chyna’s video leak was the leaking of a nude video and photos of rapper and Nicki Minaj’s ex, Safaree Samuels. It’s been said that the images of Samuels “broke the internet”. Many people shared and tweeted them, so much that it was trending within a day. While it isn’t clear where the video and photos exposing the rapper originated from, there has been speculation of the images being released as a result of revenge porn.
What has been apparent in the midst of this situation is the amount of praise Safaree has received. Twitter users could not stop thirsting after Samuels’ assets. While some people may argue that the praise was all fun and games, we can’t let that take away from the fact that all of these responses to Samuels’ nude images, sharing of his images, and flooding of his DMs without his consent are indeed sexual harassment. We must also acknowledge the double standards of sexual exploitation when looking at Blac Chyna and Safaree as well. A real disparity that we have to not only acknowledge but be willing to unpack as well.
The bottom line here is that no one is entitled to Black women’s bodies, regardless of whether or not they have been sex workers. They are not anyone’s property and should not be treated as such.
Stop sharing leaked photos and videos that are exploitative of these women. Stop tweeting or commenting on these photos and videos that do not include consent from the person in them. Sexual exploitation and revenge porn are just as disgusting as sexual harassment, relationship violence, and sexual misconduct, and no one deserves it.
Tynesha is a strong-willed higher education professional in the DMV with a passion for social justice. Born and raised in North Carolina, Tynesha is true to southern roots. Tynesha has a B.S. in Human Development and a Master of Education. Tynesha’s interests include watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, singing, painting, traveling, and writing.