A decade ago, Bobby Blake was known as one of the top African-American superstars ( if not the top one ) in the world of gay porn. Last week, Blake—a bisexual businessman and minister who was in Chicago as part of Windy City Black Pride's celebration, and who is promoting his book, My Life in Porn: The Bobby Blake Story—told Windy City Times why he left porn, why he is against same-sex marriage and what he thought of the city holding two Black prides.
Windy City Times: The title is My Life in Porn, but you actually discuss your entire life.
Bobby Blake: Yes. I used 'My Life in Porn' because a lot of people know me from porn and I used 'The Bobby Blake Story' because I want [ readers ] to know the beginning and the period in which I participated in porn up until now.
My life is like that of the prodigal son [ in the Bible ] . I also talk about when I was in the hospital a long time [ after being born ] and being a sick baby. I talk about my transition from one relationship to another, and different circumstances in those relationships. Through it all, it was a learning process and it made me strong. I talk about the porn industry as a whole. It's a book of entirety.
WCT: Now, are you retired from porn?
BB: I've been retired for about 10 years now.
WCT: And why did you retire?
BB: I wanted to do something different. I didn't go into the porn industry to stay for a lifetime; I went into it with a business mind. From day one, I approached it in a manner that it would produce fruit for me. That's what so many people lack: They have fun and they look at today and not at tomorrow. I took a business approach and it paid off; I'm very grateful for that.
I've always been a businessman. Everyone who does a movie is not a star. [ I knew ] where my head was and the way I carried myself—with respect. I wasn't trying to win a popularity contest.
WCT: And you're a minister …
BB: Well, I was a minister before I went into porn; I stepped down. Now, I'm very active in the church, and I enjoy helping people across the board.
WCT: Do you have a church right now?
BB: I'm a member of a church. I'm not a pastor right now.
WCT: Were you ever the head of a church?
BB: I was an intern [ before dropping out to work in porn ] . I'm at the same level now that I was before. I enjoy doing what I do.
WCT: Gotcha. What part of the book was the hardest to write?
BB: I don't think there was a hard part.
WCT: No? I didn't know if writing about the abusive lover or your biological mother [ who had mental problems ] was tough to write about.
BB: I was not hard to write about because you have to [ take ] a direct approach to reality—and sometimes, reality does not taste good to you. I've come to find out that the book has helped so many people who are dealing with issues in their gay lives. I talk about gay marriage and I talk about political issues.
WCT: Yes. I want to discuss that with you. So what is your reaction to what has happened in California with gay marriage?
BB: Well, I don't believe in gay marriage.
WCT: Because …
BB: To be honest with you, I'm from the South. Being reared in the church and in the strongly knitted African-American community, our environment is different than our counterparts', so our philosophy, theology and concepts are somewhat different. [ Whereas ] our counterparts may want to make universal acceptance of gay marriage a goal, my goal is to make equality universal.
So often, when minorities go to Caucasian clubs, they have to show two or three [ pieces of ] ID to get in. I'm sure you remember the situation in San Francisco that [ then-Mayor ] Willie Brown had to mediate. Now, you want me to support your gay-marriage agenda; you get mad because the heterosexual community frowns upon it. But yet, you want to mistreat minorities that are gay and bisexual just like you are. In other words, you want preferential treatment but you don't want to give the same treatment. In other words, it's OK for me to support your gay-marriage amendment, but it's not OK for me to come into your gay [ clubs ] . I find the scale unbalanced. And I'm not a prejudiced man; I've dated all races. But we can't sweep things under the rug—the dirt will become mud.
WCT: What's the biggest misunderstanding that people have about porn actors?
BB: It's just like what you said: 'actors.' They are acting; it's not the real person. That's been the major problem, especially when it comes to Bobby Blake. They expect me to be one thing when I'm something different. People are afraid of me. They think I'm evil, but that was the character I played in the movies. I'm down-to-earth and caring. We can even agree to disagree; I told you how I feel about gay marriage, but if you send me an invitation to your wedding, I'll come and support you.
I was telling a group of people about the Black prides here, and it's very sad. I want you to put this in for the record: They have two different Black prides here. Two groups can't get along. Barack Obama has an opportunity to become the first Black president, but Black folks can't even get along. You have to work on those things that affect the community. This weekend, I've seen a people divided.
Even with my visit at the [ North Side club ] Prop House [ at the official Windy City Black Pride men's party ] , I saw some things by management that were very disappointing. They were not concerned about their clientele; they had guests ( other porn stars ) and acted like they didn't know them. I was heartbroken over how they were treated. They treated me right, but I didn't like how they treated the other guests; it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I want the owner to know that I was very disappointed, and I'll tell that everywhere I go. It's sad.
[ Note: In response to Blake's comment, Bernard, a manager at Prop House, told Windy City Times that Blake 'called us because he wanted to sell his book at [ the club ] , and it was OK because we have an open-door policy towards anything involving the Black gay community.' He added that 'one porn star was showing off porn on his laptop, and you can't [ show ] porn at a club that serves liquor. [ Co-worker ] Kerry told him he couldn't do that, and acted out of hysteria, but he didn't mean to be rude to him. … And as far as them being treated badly? No. We allowed them to come in and give away their products---but you can't get naked here. … I'm upset with Bobby about this, especially [ considering ] we made arrangements for him to be here, and I'm pretty sure his book sold out. ]
We don't want to treat each other right, and that includes the African-American community. People get upset when an African-American brother wants to spend his life with a Caucasian. Something's wrong with that. We should be allowed to choose who we want to spend our life with.
WCT: What do you want people to take away from your book?
BB: So many readers have been helped by the book. I want people to get to know the real person—and to know the journey that has made Bobby Blake the man he is today: a humble, strong, open-minded and wise individual. I hope that the book will inspire and encourage people to open their minds for equality for all.
WCT: Are you happy with where your life is?
BB: I'm extremely happy. I'm a firm believer that all things work together. Every mountain, every stop sign, every yield sign—all of things have worked together for my good and have made me the person I am today.
WCT: What's in your future?
BB: I went back to school and got a degree in criminal justice. I am now working on my master's in business legal studies. I want to teach law. You have to plan for tomorrow today, and yet live today. Whatever you have in your heart to do, don't wait until tomorrow; tomorrow may be too late.
My Life in Porn: The Bobby Blake Story is available at Unabridged Bookstore, 3251 N. Broadway, and other fine bookstores. For more on Blake, see www.BobbyBlake.net .