Secret History of the Black Pin Up: From Tease to Sleaze
I recently wrote about the seemingly lackluster existence of Black pin up models from the 1950′s… here and here. A collector, historian, and publisher by the name of Jim Linderman contacted me and divulged that he’d written and self-published a book detailing the life and experiences of Black pin up and porn models. He’d amassed an impressive collection of vintage adult periodicals and pictures showing Black women in various stages of undress and posturing and included some rare finds his paperback: “Secret History of the Black Pin Up,” which is 118 pages and includes some interesting history along with the visuals.
“There is a whole generation of young women who idolise Bettie Page and such, but they have no idea how UN-glamorous it was for her and the others. I wanted to show some of that, as well as make some points about racism of course.” Linderman explained in an email.
The book explains the good, bad, and ugly sides of how these Black only periodicals came into existence, which includes exploitation, bigotry, ethnic fetishism, and very little pay. Less than their White models received for appearing in pin up and fetish spreads, which wasn’t much. A Black woman’s sexuality is tricky because it is rife contention, stereotypes, and confusion… even in this day-and-age of Video-Vixens and King Magazine cover girls. And just like in the 1950′s, men are at the helm of many of the images we see today, in music videos and on the cover of publications geared toward men.
“One of the first, if not THE first slick magazine to display African-American women in the buff was Tan N’ Terrific. Great name but a crappy magazine with no date and the publication information limited to a tiny WWNC logo, top right. World Wide News Corp. Cleveland, Ohio… which means Reuben Sturman.
Sturman was no artist, and he was certainly not motivated by a desire to help African-American models achieve equality. He was motivated by filthy dollars.”Linderman writes in his book.
We’re also given some insight about prolific Black photographer, Howard Morehead… who took a more artistic, elegant, and non-lecherous approach to photographing Black women.
“Secret History of the Black Pin Up” is definitely a thoroughly archived book and presents some compelling history about an era that conveniently omitted the
participation of and its effects on Black women in the industry; many of who appeared nameless or under a made up moniker for paltry pay. The history of the Black pin up is also riddled with the perpetuation of racial stereotypes and ethnic fetishism. Above all, it’s an interesting and honest study that’s definitely worth reading about.
- The book can be purchased HERE.
- Additional information about Jim Linderman, his other work and collection of rare finds, can be found at Dull Tool Dim Bulb and his blog Vintage Sleaze.
Coffey, Fire starter and chronic insomniac subsisting off a diet of coffee, red wine, and possibly your soul. “I love to write… I write to lust.” Coffey’s writing can be read at www.coffeerhetoric.com