Friday, June 20, 2008

A CONVERSATIONS EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with Bobby Blake

Conversations Book Club is pleased to share one of the most intriguing interviews we have conducted to date! The man who is known in the adult film industry as Bobby Blake is no stranger to attention. Now after retiring from the entertainment world, he has penned a memoir that people of all walks of life will be talking about. MY LIFE IN PORN reveals much more than he could have exposed in any movie, and his story of how his path could not have been any different is one that will resonate with many.

This is our conversation:

Bobby, thank you for taking out the time to talk with me about your new memoir MY LIFE IN PORN. There is alot I want to discuss with you about the book, but I first want to ask you why did you decide to write and release it now?
Although I have been retired from the porn industry for seven years now, thanks to the internet my work continues to be available all over the world, and my fan-base has continued to grow as a result of that. My fans have so many questions about my life in the industry, and many of them have no real understanding of the business and how it works. That in part caused me to want to answer their questions about my time in the adult industry and from that came the book. People also saw - and see - me as something of a role model, and come to me for advice and guidance, so I also wanted to share with them the complex human being behind the Bobby Blake facade, and let them know about the experiences I went through in my life that made me who I am today.

Your faith is something that is talked about throughout the book. Like myself, many may not realize that you were a minister before you became involved in the industry and are a minister now. My obvious question to you is how has your faith affected the decisions you have made?
My faith in God is very strong, and has always been with me. But like many gay or bisexual people I felt pulled in many directions by the way the world treats us. On the one hand I was a minister, yes, but on the other there was a journey I needed to go on out into the world, like the Prodigal Son, who has to go and have certain experiences before he learns better and returns, contrite. And I returned, tempered, able to give back to the community in a way I could not otherwise have done. So I believe that, strange as it sounds, my sojourn in the world of porn was all part of God's plan for me. After I retired from the industry I took time off before reentering the ministry. The power of God is stronger than eyes could see or ears have heard. I believe that and will always believe that.

What about those who attended your church? What was their perspective of your career choice?
When I was a minister my congregation were in fact very tolerant of the fact that I was in partnership with another man. This was because of the way I carried myself. I neither hid nor flaunted my sexuality, and always presented myself in a masculine, respectable way. I stepped down as minister at that church before I became involved in the adult industry: the two roles didn't seem to me to belong together: they were like oil and water. At the church I work at now, as a counselor with young people troubled by their sexuality, everyone knows about my past and accepts it. They understand that it is because I've had the experiences I've had that I am able to advise without judging. And for my part, though I often enjoyed it, I would never recommend anyone to become involved in the adult industry. But in the end it's not about me. It's about what is right and wrong to God.

Bobby, one of the parts of the book that really touched me was when you were ministering in the hospital to those who were afflicted with HIV/AIDS. You say in the book "Burnt onto my mind is the face of a young woman who had lost her child to AIDS shrieking to God, "Take me and leave her here! It's not her fault!" She, herself was HIV+, but her daughter had died firt, over in another hospital. I had to tell her that her daughter had passed. How can you comfort someone in that situation? But Id did the best I could. (p.109)" How has the disease affected the way you live your life?
For years you know that HIV/AIDS was considered a gay disease, but you have children being born with the disease at no fault of their own. It's something that affects everyone, born or yet to be born. When I saw that scene my soul cried out to God for understanding. We have situations like this because of lack of knowledge. Because of the lack of knowledge of the parents and the world about HIV/AIDS we have senseless infections and death. You need to know your status. Everyone should. That is why the Bible says that God's people perish for the lack of knowledge. We have to educate ourselves in order to protect ourselves.

You realize that many people look up to you for what you have accomplished in the entertainment industry. They look at what you do in the movies and some try and emulate you. Do you feel that pressure when it comes to the public and how you are perceived?
People watch tapes or dvds of me and pick up some of my ways. When you are in that business, people may take things that they see and use them in their own lives. I realize, that some of the things they pick up on aren't good, including unprotected sex. Because of that I feel a certain responsibility to conduct myself in a way that is accountable to my fans. I'm particularly proud that through my work I improved the situation for my fellow black performers and that I helped open doors for other minorities within the adult industry. Also that I projected a black masculinity that many have found in some ways attractive and admirable.

That last question is a great transition into how you separate who you really are (Edgar Gaines) from the character you created on film (Bobby Blake). How much do the two differ and how much are they alike?
I had created a name and a certain type of character that I wanted to portray and that is what I did. A lot of what people see on film is me, of course, and I enjoyed portraying that persona. Inevitably people were more interested in who I portrayed than who I really was. That was the persona I put out there, so I understand that. But after I had taken that persona as far as I could go I felt a need for people to get to know the real me.

On your website there is a video interview that address your view of Gay Marriage as well as a posting on your website that addresses it as well. Tell our readers about your stance on the issue.
There have been quite a few people who have come up to me or written to me saying they agree with my view on this. I don't believe in gay marriage. However, I will support anyone else's decision to do it: it's between that person and God, and you have to live according to your faith. I do believe in civil partnerships, though: two people in a relationship, whatever their sex, should be allowed to arrange their lives in relation to hospital visitation rights, living wills, inheritance and all those things. All of us should have equality in law. But faith is something different, and I cannot change what I believe is God's will.

Another issue that you address in the book is that of drag queens and how you refused to do a scene with a man dressed in drag. If you were being paid to have sex, why not do the scene?
I wasn't going to do a scene with a drag queen because that's not my type: drag turns me off sexually. I have friends that are female impersonators, but I am not sexually attracted to them. That is true with all people, gay or straight: you know what you like and what you don't. And I was at that level of success within the industry where I had broad approval of who I worked with and who I didn't. Obviously the sex is hotter when your partner turns you on.

What do you want people to learn about you after reading the book MY LIFE IN PORN?
That there is a great difference between the actor and the person they portray. And whether you are Bobby Blake or Denzel Washington we all want the same thing: to be loved and to be able to love others.

What do you hope they learn about themselves?
I want them to see the importance of learning who they really are and dealing with that. I want them to be real and honest with themselves, face up to the things they want to work on and honestly work on them. It's also important that they realize that you may lose all of your material things but there is one thing that can't be taken away from you and that is knowledge. Knowledge is power. It is authority. When the career is gone then reality sets in. You have to be able to live with yourself.

Thank you again, Bobby, for this look into your life. We appreciate your providing such a revealing look into who you are and how we can learn from your journey. For more information about you or to order the book MY LIFE IN PORN: "The Bobby Blake Story" they can visit you online at

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