Some of you may have heard the name India before. One of the few black porn queens that was able to crossover and become a big name in the business. One hundred and fifty porn films later, she abruptly decided to leave the game. Why? Well, thatís a question that I had to ask her.
Today, India is sitting pretty on a cushion of money and pursuing her first love Ė music. During porn convention week, I got a chance to have dinner with the Black Widow and get her to open up about the industry, taking your work home with you, racial bias and her future.
B&B: So letís start this off right Ė what made you get into the porn business?
India: I got into the business back in 1997 and my career started in 1998. The reason I got into the business wasnít a financial thing, it was more like all of the girls that I saw in the magazines Ėdifferent girls, black girls. I just looked at it like ďoh my god, I can do this" and I thought that there was a market for black girls to really take off and we could build something and take it to the next level. So that was my whole thing. I came in and I kind of knew where I wanted to go and if I wasnít there by that year then it wasnít happening. So I set out knowing I wanted to be with this company and that I wanted to be a contract girl and thatís what I did. I came in with a plan. Thereís money of course and its good but at the same time I just knew that it was something bigger than just the money. I can build something here for the rest of my life where Iíll be okay financially.
B&B: Since you didnít get into it because of the money, were you a fan of the industry prior to becoming a part of it?
India: No. One thing about me is I donít lie. I donít want to sugarcoat anything and make it seem like I did. I didnít watch porn but I knew there was something there because porn was becoming more commercial. I knew of certain people because of the magazines I saw. I knew the names but I wasnít into watching the movies. If you would have told me a couple of years ago that I would have been a porn goddess, I wouldnít have believed you. But my friend actually said I would be. When I was 16 or 17, we were having dinner and she was like ďMeka is going to be a porn star when she gets olderĒ and Iím like ďNo Iím not!Ē And itís just funny that I turned out to be (just that). I didnít know much about the industry so I did my homework. I didnít just jump in to do a movie. I researched it.
B&B: What was it like when you did your first scene? Were you nervous or overwhelmed?
India: No, I wasnít nervous which is kind of crazy because most girls are but I was actually relaxed. I donít think this is done often but they let me go through a big book and I got to pick out the guy I wanted in my first scene. I met the guy, he was really cool, his name was Nick. The only thing that I was worried about was that I had never went down on a guy. It was my first time. Thatís the only thing I was nervous about. I wasnít nervous about sex because I look at the body as a beautiful thing that you shouldnít be ashamed of. If I do it, Iím going to do it all the way. Iím not going to half do it.
B&B: How many movies have you done?
India: On the list it says 149 and actually thatís not a lot of movies for somebody like me who hasnít been in the industry that long. There are girls like 100 movies in maybe three weeks. I think thatís good because you want to pace yourself. The less you have on catalog then the more your worth is. Most girls donít know that. Some think that the more you do the bigger you are and itís actually the opposite. The less you do, the bigger you are. You can go to them and ask for money and bigger things because they want you. Youíre in demand.
B&B: Being one of the top tier porn queens, how do you think that you got there. Do you think it was because you had a different look.
India: I think I did have a different look. Itís not like there arenít any pretty girls in the industry. But itís how I approached it. Thereís a certain way you have to approach this industry. I surrounded myself with the right people. I had a team. Iíve never been out there by myself. I was quickly picked up and schooled. I learned real fast what this industry is. There are girls whoíve been around for ten years and you barely know their names, which is pretty sad because they do the same thing as me. I wasnít going to settle for second or third. If I canít be at the top Ė no matter what the profession Ė then I donít want to do it.
Iíve always been little. Iím one of the girls who started that trend with black women. After me came Lacey Duvalle and others. At first little girls werenít really in. All the other girls were thicker. I know that there had to be a market for a classy, black girl. I didnít see somebody like me. If they are doing it one way (I thought) what if I come off a different way that they havenít seen yet. Iím always looking nice. My hair and nails are done. Thatís just everyday stuff that you are supposed to do anyway. Looking around thereís not a lot of women like that.
B&B: Did it feel awkward when people would approach you like a celebrity?
India: Should I say that name? Yeah I can say it because heíll be okay with itÖSamuel L Jackson. I met him in Jamba Juice. This was awhile back. I approached him like ďIím sorry, I usually donít do this but you are my favorite actorĒ and he said ďI donít do this but youíre my favorite actress.Ē It kind of broke the ice and we started laughing. I have had so many celebrities be like ďIndia!Ē Thatís why I say porn has become so commercial because they all know me. This career has gotten me far Ė even with my music. It has opened so many doors for me that I thought would be closed. I thought that once you do porn, itís a wrap. Iím seeing that itís not true.
B&B: Thereís a lot of people that will come out and say ďsheís disrespecting herselfĒ what do you have to say to that?
India: To each his own. I donít care about what you do. Itís really about whatever makes you happy. You can have your opinion and you are entitled to it. I did this for me. Not for anybody else. Nobody forced me to do porn. Iím not crying on my pillow at night. I thought about all the circumstances that come with this industry Ė the good and the bad. I know that I wonít ever be able to run for president. Certain things I can never do because of porn. Iíve weighed my options. I donít care what they say. I have a lot to show for what Iíve done and Iím good with it.
B&B: Whatís it like being a black woman in this industry? Iíve heard grumblings from other black women who donít get paid like white women. Whatís the deal?
India: Itís just like Hollywood. Take a look at the Oscars. What do we have? One or two black people nominated and very few win. Itís no different. Porn deals with the same race issues but on a smaller scale. Itís not surprising to me.
B&B: Have you personally dealt with any racism in your career?
India: Funny enough, I havenít dealt with anything like that. Iíve been managed by a person with all white girls and me being the only black girl. One of my girls was my close friend and she told me her rates and what they told her to do and my rate was just a little less so I said no. If I donít get what she gets then Iím not doing it. I donít play that. Some of the black girls fall for it. They will say ďyou know what, I need it so Iíll do anything.Ē I donít play that. I get paid the same as any other girl out there Ė sometimes a little more. If you want to underpay me and I go for it then thatís my problem. Some of these black girls get $600 for an anal scene while a white girl can get two to three times as much for the same thing. The black girl may do the seen better but she cheated herself.
B&B: So you think there are a lot of misguided girls in the industry?
India: Thereís a lot of them. When you act hungry in any industry, people are going to get you. Some of these girls have managers. I donít want to name any names but their managers undercut them too. We, as black women, need to step up in this industry and learn to say no. Itís not just about taking off your clothes. Itís a business and you have to learn how the business goes.
B&B: What made you leave the game?
India: Because I wanted to pursue my music. Doing porn and music was just too much.
B&B: A lot of people, including the ones reading this interview, are going to say ďAwwwwÖsheís going to do music now? Stay in your laneÖĒ
India: Yeah, people do say that but I came from music, not from porn. But because people know me from porn they think that is my lane. But my lane began singing in church choir when I was young. Music is my love no matter what Iíve done in my life.
B&B: How the hell do relationships work for you being in porn as well as being retired?
India: Iíve been married actually. But when I was married I got out of the business for two years. Being married and staying in the business doesnít really work for me. When I was in that type of commitment, I had to remove myself from this industry and dedicate myself to my marriage. The marriage didnít work out so I decided to come back to the business. You are going to have men say that they can deal with it but they really canít. Now that Iím not in the business itís a bit different. Now I can talk to guys and its different because Iím not doing that anymore. But when you are, itís difficult to come home and have your guy ask you ďHow was your day babe?Ē He doesnít really want to know.
B&B: How do you not bring your work home with you?
India: When Iím on set, itís work. The person Iím working with, I donít know him like that. Itís just work. When I go home to my man itís because I love him. Iím kind of old fashioned. I donít like the sharing thing. I know I wouldnít like it if he was in porn. Dating is better for me today because Iím not in the industry.
B&B: Talk about your company.
India: The company is called Black Widow Entertainment. Itís music and we have three artists Ė 2 rappers and one R&B guy. Iím putting out a girl on girl line of films that Iím directing. Iím not doing any scenes.
B&B: Are you actually signed and is the album coming out this year?
India: Black Widow is coming out this summer. I used to have distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Some things happened so I made a move and got another deal. Iím now at Capitol and thatís confirmed as a distribution deal.
B&B: What direction is the music headed?
India: I think people are going to be really surprised. The content is really edgy. Itís not going to be because Iím a porn star the music is nasty. Itís going to be about things that really happened in my life. Weíre going to touch on sex but weíll keep it going with other stuff too.
B&B: Well you are a woman rapper and women rappers are doing real bad right about nowÖ
India: Yes they are. Because they canít get it together right now. They canít stay out of jailÖ no disrespect to Foxy Brown because I love Foxy. She is my favorite female rapper. But we as females have to fight harder. Guys have it so easy. Some guys are really wack. There are some girls that are better than a lot of these guys. We have to stay on top of ourselves. I have no problems with no females at all but I wish they would get it together. I do think (however) that some of the bigger females in rap are not going to want me to come out because they know that I have talent and I already have a fan base. I put out an independent album with no promotion and sold 15k by myself. Thatís how I got my distro deal.
B&B: Any last words?
India: Iíve got a DVD coming out with the album called India Exposed. We got a couple of new porn girls some music video girls and some new chicks. On some Hip Hop Honey type stuff. So check me out at myspace.com/indiasplayhouse and indiasplayhouse.com. I get so many messages on my myspace and I respond to every message that they have. I take two hours a day to respond to everything.