Now Reading
Pornhub is releasing a non-porn film and it’s lesbian high art

Pornhub is releasing a non-porn film and it’s lesbian high art

  • Shakedown looks at black women in a queer strip club in LA.
Shakedown: in the club.

Pornhub – the world’s biggest porn site – is going into the documentary business and has chosen a queer film to lead the way.

Pornhub’s first ever non-adult film will be Shakedown – but they haven’t left the world of sex behind altogether.

Shakedown is a feature-length documentary from conceptual artist Leilah Weinraub. And it looks at black queer women and men from the lesbian strip club scene in Los Angeles in the early 2000s.

Despite the risqué subject matter, the film is officially high art. It’s been around since 2018. And it’s previously been seen at New York galleries MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art as well as London’s Tate gallery.

Moreover, it has also toured a wide-range of international film festivals, premiering at the prestigious Berlinale in Berlin, Germany.

What is Shakedown really all about?

Weinraub, is best known as the former CEO of the fashion brand Hood By Air.

But in 2002, aged 23, she visited a black lesbian strip club in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles.

And she was amazed by the Shakedown Angels, the club’s all-black female performers, both femme and butch.

So she asked Ronnie, the club’s butch lesbian owner, if she could work there.

In the subsequent years, she captured over 400 hours of footage of the Shakedown Angels. And she edited this into the 71-minute stream of consciousness film.

Her film focuses on Shakedown’s heyday, before police shut down the main venue in 2004. At that time, increasingly gentrified Los Angeles started to arrest and ticket nude performers for soliciting.

But as well as providing a glimpse into the women’s lives, Weinraub examines other obsessions.

For example, at the time of filming, she was interested in the idea of cash, how it feels and looks and how it operates in small communities. And the trailer shows how she captured this interest in the film.

Likewise, it asks questions about private spaces. The black queer women carved out a space in Shakedown, but ultimately others wanted to take their invention. And that cultural appropriation damaged what the women had originally created.

Now available on Pornhub

Of course, only time will tell how Pornhub’s audience relates to these artistic themes.

The movie is now streaming on Pornhub for the whole of March. After that, Criterion Channel will broadcast it before it moves to the iTunes store by the summer.

And it’s certain Pornhub will open Weinraub’s film to a far wider audience. The site currently has around 115million visitors a day.

Watch the trailer here: