Image by Chris Visions
Mistress Velvet specializes in the subjugation of white men.CREDITS
Jordan “Candy” Carlile, slave
Mark Ristich, voiceover
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano – Toi – FRKWYS Vol. 15: serenitatem
Ensemble Entendu – Centri Petal – Selected Rhythm Works, Vol. 1
Palmbomen II – Teleac – Memories of Cindy
Mary Lattimore – The Warm Shoulder – Collected Pieces
Palmbomen II – Peter Accepts Death – Memories of Cindy
Craig Leon – Four Floods Of The Point Part 1 – Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon
June Chikuma – Oddman Hypothesis – Les Archives
Time Wharp – Triple Rewards – Feel No Pain
Joseph Shabason – Tite Cycle – Aytche
Rimarimba – Steady State – Below the Horizon
Mary Lattimore – Hello From the Edge of the Earth – Hundreds of Days
Mistress Velvet: She’s like a black mermaid goddess with long natural hair. Her name Mami Wata, like M-A-M-I W-A-T-A, is like pigeon mother and water. She is very like selfish in some ways and also like longs for a lot. She’s a bit devious and a bit vain and will maybe steal things from westerners if they come to Africa. Steal things like combs and like a mirror and kind of fantasize about the foreign lands and what pale skin people lives are like. I’m really attracted to water. I love being in water myself and there’s so much sadness like in the Atlantic Ocean. With people drowning, crossing the slave trade.
I was in Mexico over new years and went to this part on Isla Mujeres and it was like the most eastern point. The waves are just crashing kind of violently across the cliffs. But also the water is so blue and beautiful and I actually thought about Mami Wata living in the water at a place that can be very healing as well as the place that could be very destructive and violent.
Nick van der Kolk: From Luminary Media, you’re listening to Love and Radio, I’m Nick van der Kolk. Today’s episode black feminist thought featuring Mistress Velvet.
Mistress Velvet: So, my first dom client, he was like maybe 49 or 50 he was like on the younger side, so kind. I was in a really tight financial bind. My roommate at the time was my ex-boyfriend and he like doesn’t paying his half of the rents and we were going to be evicted. I was like, I need some money. I found this guy on back-page and he’s like, “I’m looking for someone to take control of me. I’m an alpha male on the streets, want to be a sub in the sheets.” He was really generous, gave me a couple hundred dollars to start to buy some like Victoria Secrets stuff to get into the mood of being a dom. I was so awful. I would hit him and apologize immediately. He was really creative and made a strap-on connected to like the things that ketchup comes in a restaurant, you could squeeze it. He made this like cum out of flour. I supposed to squeeze it when I was coming out of my dick and come all over his face. When I did that, I was like, “My God, is it in your eye?” I started freaking out.
I was really bad at it and he told me really kindly, and really constructively, “You will never be a dom. You were just too nice, this is not you and that’s fine. But I just need to let you know that you aren’t … I’m not getting what I’m looking for with you.” I was like, yeah, I am so sorry. But then I was also like, my God, fuck that, I want to be a dom. I think I could do it.
Mistress Velvet: I saw you just last week.
Mistress Velvet: How are you? Let’s talk a little bit.
Anne: So what do they want from you in the way of services?
Mistress Velvet: They want to touch my feet. Do they smell?
Slave: Smell good.
Mistress Velvet: Want to be putting panties? Let’s try this thong first. I do some corporal punishment. That’s with ashtray, sometimes some double dom stuff. You like being fucked by anyone?
Mistress Velvet: They want to be called a bitch or be my bitch specifically. You like to be this little slut, don’t you? That’s why I call you. What do I call you? Candy? Who is Candy? I call people slave. They love that word. Lots of humiliation. Your penis is tiny, basically nonexistent. I would say the bulk of what I do is humiliation. You’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re white. Can I keep you anyways? Anything I could ever have possibly thought of, I have been asked. I know what I want. I’m going to leave a few lines on you. I like the evidence. The only good thing about white skin is the evidence of me hitting you. Your skin is so frail, it turns red immediately. It shows weakness. You are weak, you are weak. That’s why you do the things that you do, right?
Almost all of my clients in my entire life as a sex worker have been white.
Most of my desires focus on women of color. I have no idea when but I developed an intense love of black women, especially.
Everyone is like older 50s, 60s, well off. They have to be well off to afford how much it costs. Then they’re white because they are specifically, specifically looking for an African. They like the ideas of reparations and subjugation of white men.
Male Voiceover: In my private life, I’ve tried to do what I could to make reparations for a debt I can never really repay.
Buying groceries, paying bills for random women of color, paying for their order if they get behind me at the store or the drive-through. Little things like that bring me great pleasure.
Mistress Velvet: We become like this myth for them. I use that myth to market myself. I talk about that I went to grad school and that’s a big piece of what brings people to me. Is that they’re like, you’re so smart for a black woman. It’s like gross but I also have to do it.
Male Voiceover: I have direct links to great grandparents who have stripped African-Americans of their identity and pride and basic human rights for their own benefit.
Literally turned them into animals. I crave to have that reversed.
Mistress Velvet: I had a slave that I named Pet 306, he was one of my favorite slaves. I lived in apartment 306 and I started to describe him as home because he was like one of the owning slaves that I would let into my home. So I named him after my apartment. He would come to my apartment after work and he was like still in his business suit. He wore a suit every day to work. I don’t know where he worked. Would, I kid you not, be my automate. He really liked the idea of being my automate and really just being used. There’s a picture of him in my living room on all-fours. He had made me food, then was on the ground and my feet were on him. I’m eating and like watching TV or playing video games and he stayed like that.
Anne: How long would that be roughly?
Mistress Velvet: I would say up to an hour. Maybe within that hour, he would go from being on all-fours on his knees and hands to maybe knees and elbows to different positions. I would allow him to adjust and then if he was tired we would find something else for him to do or maybe he would leave. I remember one time he had to go on a business trip to North Carolina. He asked me to accompany him, he paid for my ticket. In the evenings, we would be in a hotel room together. The first night I made him sleep on the floor. He only had a little towel to cover himself. Then he like very humbly, the next night was like the floor was really hard and my back hurt. Then I was like, okay, you can sleep next to me but I made him sleep at my feet.
Slave: I’m just glad you’re here.
Mistress Velvet: He brought his tax documents.
Slave: essentially we don’t pay taxes.
Mistress Velvet: Read to me like how much his various homes cost and how he spends his money.
Slave: The cars, the flights, the hotel. Obviously, I can-
Mistress Velvet: Also in that weekend, he talked a lot more about his family, particularly about the inadequacies he felt as a father.
Slave: I keep a roof over their head.
Mistress Velvet: He was married to a woman of color. She was not black, but she was a woman of color.
Slave: She can’t talk about these things.
Mistress Velvet: His children are biracial and that he couldn’t prepare them for racism because it was something that he had not experienced. Could not talk about it in a way that he wanted to.
Slave: These are the things that weigh on me daily. I think about their [inaudible 00:09:35].
Mistress Velvet: I’m sitting on the bed and he’s at my feet kind of crying, talking about all these things. So I said, “I don’t know how to help you but these are some of the things I’ve read in school.” I gave him some PDF that was from one of my classes. “Read this and write some words for it by tomorrow.”
Slave: Miss Velvet, when I started, I thought my task was to read it and give my opinion on it as an academic exercise. After reading it, I realized I was projecting my belief. That my opinion on the subject mattered in any way to you. My own egocentric, privileged white male perspective and my opinions are important to you needed to be eliminated. I realized that I have many biases and sometimes negative perceptions about some black people and black women and bias colors my actions. Over the last five days, I gave thought quite a bit about myself and how I need to change my viewpoint on both women and black people. That you are going to change me for the better.
Mistress Velvet: So after he wrote that paper, I punished him for things like I think he used the term blacks. I hate that term. So I made him like drink out of the toilet. Truthfully, it was like the cleanest toilet ever, this really nice hotel. I would have drank out the toilet, it was so clean. But the symbolism of drinking at a toilet, I don’t like the language you used in this, I don’t like your analysis on this. Here is a very like palpable punishment. But also internally I was like this was really cute that he did this. So genuinely and was really passionate about doing it and took time out of his day to do it. It was really exciting and fulfilling. It was like a high, this person that’s like basically the bourgeoisie, read black feminist texts, cried about it and thought about his whiteness and wants to make change. What have I done to deserve that? So that’s how it started.
Male Voiceover: I love to read and I pray that you will find me an apt and worthy student of whatever readings you assigned to me.
I will have the paper for you ASAP.
I can’t wait to prove to you my will to submit to your knowledge.
Mistress Velvet: Maybe our first session they’ll write an essay about why do you think it’s important to submit to a black woman? So that essay is usually like because black women are beautiful and have the most beautiful feet or something gross. Then I’m like, all right, let’s read some Patricia Hill Collins and see how some of your thoughts around black women are stemming from like historic tropes around blackness and womanhood.
Male Voiceover: The author discusses controlling images that basically our roles to society is given to black women, to justify the oppression to them and their families.
The Jezebel portrays black women as these you sexually aggressive women and sex objects.This image of a woman who is seen as a whore, it might be used to justify the sexual assaults of white slave owners and white men against black women.
I realize that the historical issues that black women have had to endure are beyond my comprehension.
What I didn’t think about is how much bias still permeates every facet of a black woman’s life.
E.g., standardized tests that are written by white people from a white person’s perspective and many black people taking this test have no viewpoints.
I’m sure there is something problematic in what I’ve written above and I welcome any and all criticism and correction about my thinking.
Mistress Velvet: It’s not a graduate course, they are all really just awful and stupid. That’s mean. But also it’s true, they just are not … One guy would write me erotica and he would create this world on another planet that was just only black women and white men and it was just like slavery but reversed. I loved playing into that, I think it’s a fun fantasy. I don’t think it’s a real fantasy. It’s not on my actual communist political agenda but it is certainly in Mistress Velvet’s fantastical imagination. Of like black female supremacy and utopia.
All of the black women are being served by white male slaves or they just don’t exist at all and we are all happy. But that’s the far off future.
Anne: Does doing the dom work, do you feel like it’s increased or decreased your level of rage?
Mistress Velvet: I think it has helped with my rage because it has given me an outlet physically. An outlet to be dominant. Also, intellectually an outlet to talk about it. But then because it’s not a perfect space, because I can only make these white men so good. They’re like fundamentally flawed. There is that kind of ongoing frustration. God, white men exist and they’re so gross and that’s just always going to be the case. I think that contributes to my rage.
Anne: So when a slave is like saying you’re a goddess and I suck, I’m a worm, a toilet, are you just playing along to some extent when you say like, yeah you are? Do you really feel-
Mistress Velvet: No, I do. Yeah, they do completely suck and I’m so much smarter than them, so much better than them. They need to be put in these situations where they are realizing this because they haven’t ever been told. White men get pat on their back their whole life. It’s like a big responsibility as a god to put you in your place and be like, actually, you are not shit. I’m here to tell you that and fear me. They do fear me and I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing because I think it to be true. I do think I am better than most if not all white men.
Anne: Do you think of yourself as a goddess?
Mistress Velvet: Yes, I do. I feel like a lot of African women are goddesses just kind of by default. So I feel very comfortable owning that as well.
Anne: If you close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself as a goddess, what do you see?
Mistress Velvet: Sometimes I think of myself on a Beyonce video. Sometimes I think of myself as white Jesus coming back, I don’t know. He died and he was in the tomb for three days and then … Okay, I don’t really know the Bible that well, but I guess he came out and then it’s Judgment Day and maybe he’s coming down on the chariot and that’s me. My outfit is flowing, there’s flows to it, lots of curves. The ends of it became kind of feathery or reminiscent of water. I’m higher up like I’m floating off of the ground. I think of my hair as natural and afro and not straight, which is how I used to draw my hair back in the day when I was a child.
Thinking of myself as a goddess is not an act of arrogance or like I’m really conceited. It’s actually a political decision for me to think of myself this way because I have hated myself for so long. I’ve hated blackness and I’ve hated being a woman, like a black woman. I’ve hated being African and now I’m putting myself on a pedestal. Honestly, as a tool of survival, I need to love myself in order to like live every day.
Anne: You know it’s so funny because I had the impression before I got to kind of see you in action with the client. That you didn’t actually care about them that much as people. But it kind of sounds like you do.
Mistress Velvet: On one level, I resent a lot of these people. I resent them because of their gender, I resent them because of their race. I resent them because of their privilege and they’re very ignorant. They come to me and they’re [fetishizing 00:19:56] me and all of these things that we’ve been talking about. But then as a person that’s providing a service and as a person that is very sex-positive and thinking about like there are not a lot of spaces for us to venture out of like normative sexual scripts. We meet as strangers, they find out about me online. They don’t know who the fuck I am and they come to trust me with their kinks and with secrets. It’s a huge responsibility, I take that very seriously. In a weird way, I feel very honored that they are coming to me in this way.
I still hate them though. But I can hate them and despise them and care about them and also love them. I don’t know if that makes sense.
I don’t know if we talked about this before but I’m a very dark skinned. I’m like the darkest skin person in my family. Immediate family and most of my extended family are in Ghana. I used to bleach my skin using creams to lighten my skin. Also just, I would be in the shower and scrub my skin very hard. I wanted to be not only just lighter skin, I wanted to be white. This was like elementary, even high school, honestly. I wished that my hair was straight. I like really internalized these white supremacist beauty standards to the point that like the hatred that I had for myself was so visceral. That I’m causing myself pain in hopes of being someone different.
But really I’m like at a point where, how do I put this? Whiteness is so boring. That, of course, all of these white people a long time ago, would have to do something like global colonialism to make up for where they are lacking, if that makes sense. That’s a mean way to put it but I don’t care. Now I want to juxtapose that with a client that I am seeing also.
Anne: What do you mean I’m seeing?
Mistress Velvet: I’m dating a client. We’ve been dating for a year and a half and I date them as myself as a person and I also see them as Mistress Velvet.
Anne: Can I ask, is this person that you’re dating and also your client, are they white?
Mistress Velvet: Yes, they are, yes. So when I met them they were like a libertarian hardcore capitalists and I was just like I can’t tolerate you, I can’t be around you. I don’t think we’re going to be able to have any sort of like relationship outside of the dungeon. They ended up really listening to things I had to say like here’s everything about anti-capitalism and communism and racial problems and gender issues. If I would go to a political meeting and there was a reading, I would give them a copy of that. I gave them a copy of the communist manifesto. I gave them some readings from Kwame Nkrumah, neocolonialism just like anything that I was reading at the time. These are issues that I see, I recognize and feel every day. when you’re in those positions of privilege, I don’t think that you see and recognize those things. Just having someone tell you that it’s not enough, you have to also work through it. It’s interesting because we work through it in our regular relationship and then also work through it in the dungeon as well.
So it’s been a year and a half and they are completely different person, completely different. It’s just the power of reading radical feminist theory. You just read it and then it opens your eyes and it really ends up in this radical shift. If it’s something that genuinely resonates with you, it will change your life. It certainly changed my life years ago.
Anne: I can imagine some cynical person out there saying she’s just a brand and a business and she’s not really effecting change. What would your response be?
Mistress Velvet: I would say honestly that I agree. I as one person as a dominatrix hanging out with white dudes an hour at a time or so, I’m not going to create that kind of or affect that kind of change. That’s complete nonsense to think that. To the other point, I absolutely I’m a brand and that brand is both very genuine to who I am. Also, those kinds of scripts and fantasies that the society has created about black women. So the things that are true are I’m a dominatrix, I’m a black woman, I’m from Africa. Those are just the things that I am. But then there’s all the additional shit put onto me from whiteness and from [psysheterocal 00:25:19] culture that then creates this fetish fantasy of who I am. I have to decide whether or not and when I want to utilize that and for what reason. In some ways I didn’t create the brand, I’m giving into the brand that society has created around who I am and what it means to look the way I look.
But it is really just like a vacation for me for an hour.
Anne: What is it a vacation from?
Mistress Velvet: The constant reminder of that oppression means that I’m going to be kind of at the bottom of power and equity. That oppression means that like black women are going to be more poor and experienced lots of violence. Those are things that I’m constantly thinking about and I get to go to this almost primal space of being who I wish I was. This superhero or black woman that teaches white men about racism and brings all my black women and friends with me. We can support ourselves and survive and have food to eat and pay for rent.
It’s really nice.
Nick: That’s it for Love and Radio. This episode was produced by Anne Ford and featured Mistress Velvet. The voices of her clients were read by Nate DuFort, Nick Messitte, Peter Gilstrap and Mark Ristich. You also heard music from Visible Cloaks, Ensemble Entendu, Palmbomen II , Mary Lattimore, Craig Leon, June Chikuma, Time Wharp, Joseph Shabason and Rimarimba. You can find playlist of all the music we use on the show up on our website. It’s loveandradio.og. Love and Radio is produced by Steven Jackson and Julia DeWitt. Our managing producer is Phil Dmochowski. We are brought to you by Luminary Media. Thanks for listening.