Meet Sara Jay: The Porn Star Followed by Barack Obama

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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

In mid-March during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, Sara Jay was trending on Twitter. Given the increased rates consumers were watching porn, it wasn’t that surprising to see a globally recognized porn star trend on a mainstream platform. But that’s not why Sara Jay’s name was trending. Former President Barack Obama was recognized (again) as one of the adult actress’ 1.1 million followers, and the internet just couldn’t get enough of it.

With the tsunami of attention directed her way, Jay seized the opportunity to challenge the racial boundaries within the adult-entertainment industry. Racism in porn isn’t a secret—it’s heavily fetishized and promoted. Jay plans to change that. Through her company, Wyde Syde Productions, Jay will offer performers a unique opportunity to define their own labels and back away from racist themes that have been so prevalent in porn.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Sara Jay discusses what it’s like to be followed by Obama, her responsibilities as a pornographer, why porn needs to keep the term “interracial,” and how it can be used in a less offensive way.

When did you first realize that Barack Obama followed you on Twitter?

Around 2008 it was brought to my attention, and I tried to sweep it under the rug. I like to give people their privacy and it shouldn’t be national news that he enjoys Sara Jay porn. I don’t really want the Secret Service following me around either.

I’ve been trying to keep it quiet but every now and again someone brings it up. I’m like, “Don’t make this into something, it’s not OK.” I was a supporter of Barack Obama when he ran for president and I probably followed him at a time when Twitter was in its infancy. It was probably during that time of, Oh, you follow me and I’ll follow you back, kind of thing. I’m going to assume that’s how it happened. If not maybe he and Michelle like Sara Jay porn, I’d like to think that anyway.

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As an adult-content producer, you’ve stated that you want to normalize and “not fetishize sex outside of one’s own ethnicity” but what does that mean for someone such as yourself who has done a lot of scenes promoted as “interracial?”

A lot of the interracial porn I’ve done in my past is fetishized. Race is fetishized in this way, and it felt like there was room for my company to make regular porn with people of different ethnicities. When I put out interracial products I make a solid effort to mix it up with different ethnicities in the product.

Traditionally, the term “interracial” in the industry has always been for a Black man/white woman but I think that needs to expand. It should be all-encompassing. It should include Black women, white men, and Asian and Latin people. The term “interracial” needs to change.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the term “interracial.” Some feel it’s racist and should be tossed out. How do you feel about it?

I understand the term “interracial” needs to be there. As a producer, I know you have to have SEOs, you need to have search words and key words. When you go into a search engine and you’re looking for something, these are the words we’ve always used. Instead of getting rid of those terms, I think those terms should be expanded to mean something beyond a Black man and a white woman. These are the types of things people look for, but I think that term should expand to mean everybody, and there’s a way to do that without fetishizing ethnicities.

How does your company steer clear of fetishizing race?

I make vignette scenarios with real-world situations outside of race with neighbors, lawyers, bosses, etc. but with people of different ethnicities. I’ve always felt when you see people of different ethnicities coming together in sex it’s a real symbol of love—to me you’re seeing these people overcome historic and traditional challenges just to have sex, and that’s always been hot to me. I don’t think that has to be fetishized.

Should the adult industry take on the responsibility of promoting how society views race?

We have a big responsibility as pornographers to really watch the images we put out there. Those images stick with people for a lifetime. Even though our products are for adults, there are younger people looking at them and it’s important to me to create responsible images—even if that means being mindful every time I create a product. I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want the world to change and I want to help change it.

What does it mean to be the recipient of awards like Best Interracial Star Website and Interracial Performer of the Year?

It’s always an honor to get recognized for your work but to have a category that’s Best Interracial Performer doesn’t mean that much to me. That just means I fuck people with a different skin color [and] that’s a little bit like a slap in the face. “Best interracial” just seems demeaning to the other people involved. Having sex outside your ethnicity shouldn’t be worth an award, and the fact that it is is a testament to the world that we live in.

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Do you recall your first interracial movie?

I don’t even remember my first interracial scene because it wasn’t a big deal to me. I was just having sex with someone. I didn’t mark it that way. I didn’t ask for a higher rate and when I was asked what my “interracial rate” was I thought it was ridiculous. It’s still a penis or a vagina, so who cares what color it is?

Creating responsible content is one of your company’s missions. Why was that important to you?

Black adult performers do not get the consideration that white performers do. I want to be a part of the change. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and I’ve based my whole career on having sex outside my ethnicity. Things need to change. It’s this false information that gets perpetuated over and over, like the Black girls’ movies won’t sell as well or the white girl who fucks a Black guy won’t get as many jobs. It needs to stop.

You’re very passionate about wanting to create change. Have you had any personal experiences that contributed to this?

The subject of race has always been sensitive for me. I grew up in a white neighborhood with white people all around me and didn’t have a lot of exposure. I married a Black man and the things we went through… the way we were treated as a couple and what he went through as a man, it’s just something that’s always on the forefront of my mind.

What changes has your production company implemented to destigmatize performers?

The biggest change has been to ask talent how they want to be marketed. We haven’t been shooting because of the coronavirus, but when we start shooting again, we’ll offer a list of key words for SEOs so the talent can decide how they want to be described. Sometimes we sell these scenes more than once. We might have to rename or rebrand and I want it to be on record what the performers are comfortable with so everybody’s happy. It’s a different way of doing it but I feel like the performers we work with are capable of coming up with words that describe themselves and the scene they are doing in a way that will make them comfortable.

Is your company going to stop using the term “interracial?”

You need to have these search words, and there is definitely something about two people of different skin colors having sex that I think people want to see. And we need a word for that, and since we already have this word “interracial” for that I’m afraid if we get rid of the word “interracial” it’ll actually diminish the people of colors’ searchability. That word has already been established but I think it should expand.

Are there terms you’ll try to avoid?

I’ll try to avoid using words like “Big Black” because we are so much more than the color of our skin. I’ll speak up on set if someone is using skin descriptors too much.

What can the industry do to stop fetishizing race?

I’d like to see a broadened use of “interracial.” I’d like to see producers, agents, and performers, really everybody in the business, just drop the idea of an IR (interracial) rate. That IR rate is demeaning. I can’t imagine being a Black man in this industry and knowing this chick is about to get paid more to fuck you. That’s gotta hurt.

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