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Gay Men Of Color Form Sex Clubs

to Meet the Needs

of Their Community
By Jim Merrett,
The Advocate, April 15, 1992


     LIDELL JACKSON knows first-hand the frustration of cruising gay sex clubs as an African-American male. "It drove me crazy," recalls Jackson, a tight-bodied Broadway dancer who was featured in the movies Fame and All That Jazz. "I’d go into a club where there would be 100 white men and three men of color. And the three of us would get together and socialize and find a sanctum from this sea of white." While he is not accusing mostly white sex clubs of discrimination, Jackson says he and his friends have all felt the sting of racism in these establishments at one time or another. "If you walked up to someone, you were pushed away," recalls Kobi, a computer operator and friend of Jackson’s. "No one would bother to deal with you." Jackson concurs: "Racism is alive and well in the gay community."Instead of putting up with minority status, Jackson and Kobi decided to form Jacks Of Color, a New York jack-off and safer-sex club for Blacks, Asians, Latinos and other nonwhites.

     On a recent Saturday night, a culturally-mixed crowd of 60 gathered at the club’s space on 14th Street in Greenwich Village, dropped their clothing into big green garbage bags, and started heating up a sex room with walls fashioned out of hanging sheets of plastic. Although there were white men prowling around, they were a definite minority. The father of this kind of sex club is Alan Bell, the publisher of BLK, a Los Angeles-based publication for African-American gays and lesbians. In 1986 Bell founded the longest-running all-Black gay sex party in America, Black Jacks, in Los Angeles. After six years the club is still meeting in Southern California, still emphasizing a mixture of talk and hot sex, and still all Black. "So far there hasn’t been any great cry to integrate," Bell says.

     Unlike Jacks Of Color, Black Jacks invites only African-American men to meetings. "We’re essentially talking about a club that discriminates racially," Bell acknowledges, quickly adding that "when minorities get together it’s different than when whites get together. It makes sense to have women-only bars, Black colleges and gay magazines. Before Black Jacks there was no place for Black men who were into having safe sex with each other in a group setting." So far, Black Jacks has spawned only one clone – in Chicago. Author Max Smith brought the Black Jacks home to the Windy City after visiting the Los Angeles club in 1988. "The idea [of a Black-on-Black sex club] was really hot to me," Smith recalls. With 20 members at its peak, Chicago Black Jacks came to a happy end in 1990, when a majority of the members paired off and formed relationships. "But," Smith laughs, "people still call me up and say, ‘We should do that again’." It’s 11 pm on a cold Friday night in New York, and the 21st monthly Jacks Of Color party is in full swing. Kobi is playing doorman, his buffed torso popping out of a black leather harness, his tongue sharpened for the role of fashion policeman. "We don’t want you walking around in your street clothes," he shouts at a recent arrival. "Strip down to your shorts!" Kobi’s stern tone also warns white men who stumble in on the wrong nights that "this is a private party" – a duty not entirely unpleasant because, he says, there’s a unique tone at parties for men of color.

     "There’s definitely more of a bonding here," he notes. "People say hello or smile at you, and even with the sex play, things can go more into a group thing. Whites don’t seem to have that." In the sex room, about 15 guys are indeed getting into a "group thing." Bilingual safer-sex posters featuring Black men and Latinos line the walls, a pile of condoms is available nearby, but there are no sex police. "We’re all grown-ups," Jackson explains as he distributes free cups of juice and soda to men wearing nothing more than their running shoes. "We know what we’re doing." The main objective of Jacks Of Color is to showcase Manhattan’s male melting pot and to provide a safe meeting place for men of color. For Jackson, keeping the club mostly nonwhite is essential to the group’s success. "I didn’t form Jacks Of Color so I could have 20 or 35 men a month pawing my body," he laughs. "It has all to do with creating an environment where men of color can really let their fantasies run wild!".

To RSVP for J.O.C. Parties


JacksOfColor@Gmail.com -or-
JJacksOfColor@aol.com -or-

THINGS TO KNOW [ Please Read All ]:

  • EVERYONE will have to sign Entry Sheets -- so PLEASE be sure to bring Picture ID when you arrive.
  • You must arrive by the appointed door closing times, or else you won't be guaranteed admission.
  • As a rule, we institute a Mandatory Streetclothes-Check -- underwear, leather, fetish gear or nudity fine -- nudity is actually preferred [ NOTE: The "Nudity-Only Policy" at "Chelsea Space" is Relaxed for REGULAR JACKS OF COLOR ATTENDEES -- New Attendees will still have to undergo the necessary dick-check upon entry. ]
  • Condoms and Lube available.
  • NO SMOKING at "Paddles."
  • Water and soda for sale at the front / free munchies will be provided as well.

Policy & Procedures

The following FOUR paragraphs are for the sake of newcomers to the "Jacks of Color" Events & Parties:

  1.      For those of you who consistently refer to Our Jacks Of Color Web-Site -- it's been revamped by Our Web-Master.. DEVON, My Web-Master for Our JACKS OF COLOR WEB-SITE, has asked me to remind everyone of the following special situation . . . It seems some of you access the site, only to discover that it hasn't been updated -- well, it has! . . . But it seems that if you access the site through INTERNET EXPLORER or MSN , you don't get the full complement of features on the site -- and sometimes, you might even be directed to a previous version of the site, especially if you have an old bookmark in your browser . . . So Devon suggests that everyone use MOZILLA FIREFOX to access the site -- for some reason, that's the most complete Internet server for viewing ALL the features on the site, including the most updated info, PLUS the location info for BOTH "Paddles" and "Chelsea Space" . . . And again, Make A New Bookmark for JACKS OF COLOR right now, while you're reading this: www.JACKSOFCOLOR.com ! . . .
  2.      "Paddles" has a NEW entrance; the adjacent parking lot has been closed in preparation for construction of a high-rise -- so the new entrance to "Paddles" is DIRECTLY on the side street [ NO LONGER in the parking lot ], and merely inches beyond the orange barrier . . . You'll see signage that says "JACKS OF COLOR HERE TONIGHT" -- and if anyone has any problems finding it, call me on my cell at 646/441-7081 . . .

  3.      A word about "Last Call" -- I never really like the practice of ending a party by turning on the lights and throwing off the music at the appointed end of the night, without any warning -- seems to have a sort of "bum's rush" aspect to it . . . So near the end of every event I'm going to make sure that My Staff will announce a 30-minute "Last Call"; I think You Guys deserve the decency of knowing how long you have to, uh, "wrap things up"! . . .

  4.      And As is our custom, the location of each Jacks Of Color Party is ALWAYS placed on the club's web-site the day before, under "Party Notices / News" . . . And if you RSVP you're already on the list, so even if you don't get a confirmation, feel free to attend anyway -- just get the location info from the web-site, and be sure to come before the door closing . . . [ As a rule of thumb, it's always a good idea to check the web-site before coming anyway, just in case there's a last-minute change or cancellation -- it happens. ] . . . Lastly, feel free to call me on my cell -- 646/441-7081 -- during any party, in case you get lost, have to come late, etc. . . .