“I was trying to capture a certain kind of energy that I felt was outside of London,” says photographer and activist Ajamu X in a sensual new short film by Stephen Isaac-Wilson about the private sex party Ajamu hosted in the mid-90s. Black Pervert’s Network ran for three years in Ajamu’s Brixton flat and provided a respectful, imaginative space for black and Asian men to “experiment, play and fuck” completely on their own terms.
“Ajamu is a fine art photographer who’s work explores and challenges understandings of sexualities, desire and pleasure,” Stephen tells It’s Nice That, when we catch up about the new film, which was commissioned as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts. “Black Pervert’s Network was a chance for black and Asian men to meet in a space they could call their own. A place for experimentation, connect with other men, but mostly to have fun with no inhibitions.”
Stephen and Ajamu first met at a club night called Body Party, where Ajamu was taking portraits. After shooting Stephen, the pair became friends and when Random Acts reached out to Stephen, it seemed like a perfect chance to collaborate. “We admire and respect each other’s work and points of view, and learn so much from each other,” Stephen tells us. “It’s the true beauty in cross-generational friendships."
Stephen started developing the film by interviewing Ajamu, who allowed him to ask absolutely anything over a period of several months. “He has a brilliant mind and has really lived a life,” says Stephen. “Towards the end, I decided to hone in on the Black Pervert’s Network – it simply fascinated me the most. With no photography or footage from Ajamu’s parties, the film was a chance to imagine and reinterpret what a space like that was, or could be.”
Featuring a series of frankly gorgeous men, dressed – or undressed – in style, the final film has a dreamy, introspective quality that expresses the emotional stimulation of the party, as well as the sexual. Stephen tells us he’s thinking of the film as a trailer for a longer project – keep a look out.
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