With anything we enjoy present-day (porn included), we should take time to reflect upon the contributions provided us by people of color - not just in February for Black History Month, but year-round. The adult industry, while not without its own problems regarding race, created markets of influence and opportunity for black performers early in the business' inception, and continues to do so to this day. This isn't an all-encompassing list of influential black performers, as there many still, but these stars undeniably made a name for themselves in adult entertainment and paved a way for their successors. Here are 25 porn performers who shaped the adult industry with their unforgettable careers.

1. Johnnie Keyes: Active 1972-2013

Johnnie Keyes

A legend of the Golden Age of Porn, Johnnie Keyes enjoyed decades of success working in the adult industry, remaining in the public eye up until his passing in 2018. Johnnie's most-memorable role in the 1972 classic, Behind The Green Door, was considered a "landmark" interracial porn scene and a groundbreaking moment for pornography in general. Johnnie later admitted to receiving multiple death threats for this scene, also starring Marilyn Chambers, which understandably affected him greatly. In 2015, Johnnie Keyes received a shoutout during the "Weekend Update" segment on NBC's popular Saturday Night Live program. Comedian Michael Che made the argument that Johnnie deserved a U.S. postage stamp made in his honor for facing the criticism of being "the first black man in an interracial porno." Beyond his work in adult, Johnnie was an active boxer, participated in musical theater, and served in the Vietnam War. His interesting life was also profiled in the 2017 Netflix documentary, After Porn Ends 2. The importance of Johnnie Keyes' contributions to adult entertainment, and the other communities whose lives he touched, cannot be overstated.

Johnnie Keyes & Marilyn Chambers in Behind The Green Door
Johnnie Keyes & Marilyn Chambers in Behind The Green Door

2. Jeannie Pepper: Active 1983-2011

Jeannie Pepper

Jeannie Pepper found success in the adult industry purely based off her authentic desire to share her sexuality with the world. In an interview about her decision to enter the mostly-white world of adult film in the early 80s, she's quoted as saying, "I just wanted to show the world. Look, I'm black and I'm beautiful. How come there are not more black women doing this?" Jeannie was the first black female inductee into the AVN Hall of Fame, and later entered the XRCO Hall of Fame as well. She sought to represent and showcase black female sexuality at a time and in an industry sorely lacking it, and her prolific, award-winning career is testimony to her achievement in doing so.

Jeannie Pepper
"Look, I'm black and I'm beautiful."

3. Ray Victory: Active 1984-1996

Ray Victory

Muscular, well-hung classic stud Ray Victory was a staple star in porn productions in the late 80s-early 90s. Prior to his retirement in '96, Ray shot hundreds of films, like his memorable moment in the classic, Night Trips (1989). Ray Victory put in a great deal of work in the decade-or-so he spent in the adult industry. After meeting and falling in love with fellow performer Jean Afrique, the two left the industry and moved to Denmark to pursue a new life together.

Ray Victory

4. Ebony Ayes: Active 1985-1997

Ebony Ayes

Ebony Ayes is another unforgettable legend of the classic-porn era. Known for her incredible, all-natural 36JJ breasts and beautiful smile, Ebony reached peak popularity in the late-80s, filming dozens of movies a year. Ebony's rapid rise to stardom gave her recognition as a "crossover" performer, with a variety of genres she was known for and a broad audience and fanbase. It's no wonder compilations like Ebony Eyes Collection were made to commemorate her transcendent appeal. Check out our star profile of Ebony Ayes here.

Ebony Ayes

5. Heather Hunter: Active 1988-2004

Heather Hunter

Superstar Heather Hunter is one of the most well-known black porn stars of all time, and the first black woman to become a Vivid contract girl. The Hall of Fame performer got her start in the adult industry at age 18, filming the instant-classic Heather Hunter On Fire (1988). Heather wasn't just a porn vixen, however; she was featured as a dancer on the TV show Soul Train, appeared in the music video for Tupac Shakur's single, "How Do U Want It," and released her own rap album. While she experienced great success as one of the most-loved classic porn stars, nowadays Heather Hunter could be considered a pop-culture icon more than anything else. With famous ex-lovers like Charlie Sheen and Bill Maher, Heather Hunter's reach and influence extends far beyond adult entertainment.

Heather Hunter

6. Sean Michaels: Active 1988-Today

Sean Michaels

Sean Michaels has been a staple in the porn industry for decades, continuing to push himself and redefine what it means to be a porn legend. Sean first found success doing runway and print modeling, as well as working in nursing, before finding his way to the adult industry in 1988. He was inducted into AVN Hall of Fame in 1995, and shortly thereafter he got his first directing gig with his very own company, Sean Michaels Productions. His first releases, like 1992's In Loving Color, were released to critical acclaim. Later in his career, Sean began expanding his performing repertoire by including cuckolding titles, and later, trans content. Read our recent exclusive interview with Sean Michaels about his boundary-breaking career here.

Sean Michaels
Sean Michaels' first trans scene in Hot For Transsexuals 6

7. Janet Jacme: Active 1992-2011

Janet Jacme

Chicago-born Janet Jacme got her name from the R&B legend she resembles, along with a play on the sexual command, "jack me." Janet rose to fame in the 90s and gained popularity for her anal and double-penetration scenes, still considered pretty extreme, advanced acts at this time in the industry. While Janet Jacme received plenty of attention from the mainstream porn world, she often took issue with the racial double-standards that she witnessed while working within it. Later in her career, she got her own production deal and began releasing content through Janet Jacme Entertainment, where she was able to bring her vision for black adult entertainment to life.

Janet Jacme

8. Lexington Steele: Active 1994-2018

Lexington Steele

Lexington Steele found his way to the porn industry from the world of high finance, where he was working himself to exhaustion while pulling in six figures. One of Lexington's coworkers introduced him to some adult industry contacts through a network of Wolf of Wall Street-style parties they attended together, and Lexington figured porn could be his way out of a career he'd grown tired of. After moving to Los Angeles, Lexington began filming for amateur productions and attending industry conventions to get his name out there. He managed to work his way up through the business, eventually stepping behind the camera and directing titles for his own Evil Angel imprint, Lexington Steele Productions. Over his storied, decades-long career, Lexington Steele has amassed an impressive number of industry awards, and was the first star to receive the AVN Male Performer of the Year title three times.

Lexington Steele & Nikki Benz

9. Jada Fire: Active 1998-2012

Jada Fire

The beautiful, all-natural Jada Fire proved her versatility and work ethic over the course of time that she graced our screens with her performances. In the 14 years we were able to enjoy her, Jada shot over 900 titles in genres like anal, BDSM, lesbian, group sex, and solo content. Her retirement in 2012 sent shockwaves through her loyal fanbase, but she explained to her fans that she'd given enough of her life and time to porn, and that it was essentially time to make way for the younger generation.

Jada Fire

10. Wesley Pipes: Active 1998-2017

Wesley Pipes

Wesley Pipes entered the adult industry in the late 90s and made a name for himself by uttering the most iconic, hilarious phrases while having sex. Some classic Wesley Pipes quotes include (during a blowjob), "Let me put my kids in your mouth bitch... I'mma turn your throat into a foster home!" Besides his quotable moments, Wesley Pipes directed features for Woodburn and West Coast Productions, like Asian Cheerleader Cavity Search 3. Wesley Pipes was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame in 2015.

Wesley Pipes

11. Cherokee D'Ass: Active 1999-2015

Cherokee D'Ass

Cherokee D'Ass answered an ad one day and found herself in the porn industry by accident, but what a happy accident it was! She and her famous behind were a blessing for booty-obsessed porn fans in the late 90s, and Cherokee soon found herself booked for major studios like Evil Angel, Hustler, and Black Ice, among many others. When you think of big-booty black porn stars, Cherokee's name should be one of - if not the - first on your list. Thankfully, we have her collectors'-edition Big Butt All-Stars movie to remember those outstanding curves.

Cherokee D'Ass

12. Mandingo: Active 1999-Today

Mandingo

Most people, whether they're willing to admit it or not, have heard of Mandingo. In 2013, The New York Post reported that Mandingo was the #1 most-searched-for male porn star in the world, and for good reason: Mandingo is considered to have one of the biggest dicks in porn. A single father, Mandingo joined the adult industry after college to support his family and put his natural endowments to good use. A decade into his performing career, Mandingo was selected to direct his own titles for West Coast Productions, spawning popular series like Big Ass Anal Heaven. When he isn't directing, Mandingo continues to star in series that pay homage to his incredible cock, like Hard X's Meet Mandingo series, and Jules Jordan's Mandingo Massacre series.

Mandingo & Brandi Love

13. Brian Pumper: Active 2001-2016

Brian Pumper

Brian Pumper is a self-styled porn mogul and viral-video star, known for the widely circulated clip of him cracking an egg over a woman's forehead while having sex with her. His comedic antics aside, Brian Pumper's 15-year career is another example of a young black entrepreneur finding success for himself in porn. Brian created his own production company, Freaky Empire, with which he released hundreds of titles, including one in which he performed with Hollywood actor Lawrence Fishburne's daughter, Montana Fishburne. Brian switched focuses later in his career, choosing to pursue his passion for music. He later released numerous rap singles.

Brian Pumper

14. Nat Turnher: Active 2002-Today

Nat Turnher

Appearing in over 700 titles over the course of his career (and still counting), Nat Turnher has remained a force to be reckoned with in the industry for decades; his consistency is hard to match. Nat worked frequently with Justin Slayer International, a studio with which he directed a few titles himself between 2009-2011. Lately, Nat can be seen performing for top interracial sites like Blacked RAW and SheWillCheat.com.

Nat Turnher

15. Shane Diesel: Active 2003-2018

Shane Diesel

When you have an insanely girthy cock like Shane Diesel's, your career in the porn industry is basically made for you. The former-bodybuilder appeared in thousands of scenes and directed hundreds of his own throughout his illustrious time in porn. His cock became so in-demand that it spawned numerous series based around women's obsession with his penis: Shane Diesel Does Them All, She Only Takes Diesel, and Face Full of Diesel, to name a few. Later in his career, Shane began shooting cuckolding scenes, which became a genre he excelled in. A mold of his famous member was also made to sell the 'Shane Diesel Realistic Extra-Large Dildo,' which was - unsurprisingly - met with plenty of commercial success.

Shane Diesel

16. Tyler Knight: Active 2003-2018

Tyler Knight

Tyler Knight is a modern renaissance man; he's an award-winning, veteran performer, as well as a published author/columnist, former fashion model, and ultramarathon runner. He attributes his porn success to his predecessors, Sean Michaels and Ray Victory, citing specifically that they made his career in the industry possible. He insists that, although he's appreciative of his awards, accolades, and nominations, his primary goal when shooting a scene is to make his partner feel "as if I’ve waited my entire career to work with her. Like, it’s an event." Tyler Knight's ability to ignite passion with his scene partners is evident from his critically acclaimed performances, like his scene in The Craving (2007).

Tyler Knight

17. Prince Yahshua: Active 2004-Today

Prince Yahshua

Known for the trademark Timbs and kneepads he wears in almost every scene, Prince Yahshua is both a big sweetheart and a formidable powerhouse of sexual energy. If you're not familiar with how Prince puts it down in the bedroom, you should familiarize yourself with his signature move: the F150. Prince puts everything into his scenes, even at the risk of his own personal health; he's sustained penile fractures twice while on-set, and that still hasn't stopped him. Prince directs and produces for his own studio, Silverback Entertainment and his Jules Jordan - Prince Yahshua imprint. Read our exclusive interview with Prince Yahshua from a couple years back here.

Prince Yahshua with Honey Gold & Lisa Ann

18. Pinky: Active 2006-2014

Pinky

With her trademark-pink hair and dangerous curves, Pinky is a porn star few could forget. Pinky was best-known for her incredible blowjobs, which she detailed and demonstrated in Pinky's Dick Sucking For Dumb Asses. She's not just an expert at sucking dick though; Pinky's twerking skills are second-to-none too. The business-minded beauty stepped away from the film-side of the industry in 2014 to focus on other pursuits, like feature-dancing, her wig business, and prospective music career.

Pinky

19. Nyomi Banxxx: Active 2006-2013

Nyomi Banxxx

The beautiful Nyomi Banxxx derived her name from famous black supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, and won multiple industry accolades over the course of her successful porn career. Nyomi's model looks coupled with her radiant sexual energy made her perfect for crossover success, filming with top studios like Black Ice, Elegant Angel, and Vivid Premium. Nyomi announced her retirement in 2013 and went on to record her own radio show, "Chocolate Love," on SiriusXM. In 2016, fans were treated to a non-sex scene cameo by Nyomi when she appeared in Suicide Squad XXX, for which she won the 2017 AVN for "Best Non-Sex Performance."

Naomi Banxxx

20. Misty Stone: Active 2006-Today

Misty Stone

Sexy, outspoken, and charismatic-as-hell, Misty Stone is both an incredible performer and spokeswoman for the adult industry. Misty is known as the "Halle Berry of Porn," and her iconic afro hairstyle and silky-smooth voice managed to set her apart from the start of her career. Since shooting her first scene back in 2006, Misty has taken it upon herself to mentor newer black starlets on how to navigate the racially insensitive waters of the porn industry. She isn't afraid to critique the double-standards that exist for women of color in porn, and uses her career to work towards evening the playing field for performers of all races. Outside of her work in adult, Misty Stone has achieved mainstream crossover appeal as well; she had a cameo on FX's popular TV drama, Sons of Anarchy, appeared in the 2013 film Don Jon, and did voiceover recordings for the Grand Theft Auto V videogame. Read our exclusive interview with Misty Stone here.

Misty Stone

21. Skin Diamond: Active 2009-2018

Skin Diamond

Skin Diamond is without a doubt one of the biggest porn stars of the past decade. The Penthouse Pet and multiple-award-winning star got her start in the industry filming for alt-porn site, Burning Angel Entertainment, but her "alternative" look soon became widely accepted throughout the industry. During her career, Skin filmed just about everything: lesbian, anal, group sex, and some of the more daring and hardcore BDSM scenes Kink.com has ever shot. While her entire filmography is full of varying unforgettable performances, true Skin Diamond fans may argue that her fetish content is where she truly excelled as a sexual artist. She released her directorial debut, Skin Diamond's Dollhouse, later in her career, before retiring in 2018 to pursue a different passion of hers: singing. Skin Diamond is now working on her music under the name 'Raylin Joy.'

Skin Diamond

22. Ana Foxxx: Active 2012-Today

Ana Foxxx

The gorgeous Ana Foxxx found her way to the limelight after being discovered in the grocery store by a modeling scout. She worked as a runway model for some time, to which she attributes her ability to be comfortable in front of the camera and know her body's angles. She decided porn would be a natural extension of her interests and a great outlet to explore her sexuality further, and after giving it some thought, joined the industry in 2012. Ana had the opportunity to perform alongside one of her porn idols, Nyomi Banxxx, in Finger Lickin' Girlfriends 2, which Ana described as a "dream come true." These days, Ana Foxxx is at the top of her game, and we're sure to see generations of starlets whose careers will be inspired by her.

Ana Foxxx

23. Chanell Heart: Active 2013-Today

Chanell Heart

Chanell Heart is a bisexual beauty whose career began in part thanks to Misty Stone, who gave Chanell a place to live and mentored her when she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue working in porn. Chanell has since secured her foothold in adult entertainment as a boxcover-adorning crossover star, filming with top studios like Sweetheart Video and Devil's Film, among others. Chanell's first anal scene in The Art of Anal Sex Vol. 3 was a groundbreaking moment for her in a number of ways, as she was also the first black star to shoot for Tushy.com, and she landed the boxcover for that exceptionally popular title. Chanell credits that experience with opening her up to even more opportunities, and her XXX career has thrived since.

Chanell Heart

24. Isiah Maxwell: Active 2013-2019

Isiah Maxwell

Isiah Maxwell is one of the most prolific straight male stars of our time, and he's been putting in the work since his career began in 2013. Isiah credits Prince Yahshua for helping him get his start in the industry, as Prince put Isiah in his first scene and mentored him along the way. Now, with hundreds of scenes under his belt for virtually every big studio in existence, it's no wonder why Isiah took home the highly coveted Male Performer of the Year title at the 2019 XBIZ Awards. Work ethic aside, many female stars are quick to note that Isiah Maxwell's beside manner and overall personality are just as winning as his performances.

Isiah Maxwell

25. Teanna Trump: Active 2014-Today

Teanna Trump

Teanna Trump is a star whose fame and notoriety extend outside of porn; she made mainstream news back in 2015 when she was caught in Oklahoma carrying pounds of marijuana (a felony), and she dated famous rapper Trippie Redd in 2018. Teanna's blowjobs are something of legend, having nabbed her the attention of "more than ten NBA players and more than ten NFL players." Her incredible looks, freaky dick-sucking skills, and somewhat 'bad girl' image have done wonders for her porn career too; she was named the first Vixen Angel of 2019, and her most recent scenes have been going viral on the internet.

Teanna Trump


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