educational

The Latino Explosion: 1

Alex Henderson
In recent years, the ever-increasing power of the Latino market in the U.S. has been a frequent topic in the mainstream media, and that power is illustrated by everything from the high ratings of Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the U.S., to the CD sales of such major Latin pop-rock stars as Shakira, Juanes, Alejandra Guzman and Maná.

In heavily Latino cities such as Los Angeles and Miami, the telenovelas (Latin soap operas) “Rubí” and “La Madrastra,” both supplied to Univision by Mexican TV giant Televisa, seriously rivaled English-language programming in the Nielsen ratings in the mid-2000s — and after Univision announced in February that it was being put up for sale (the asking price is $11 billion), it was reported that possible bidders might include Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Microsoft head Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world.

All of these facts and figures are not lost on the American adult entertainment industry, which has seen a dramatic increase in Latin-themed porn in the 2000s.

Brazil’s Porn Valley
Erotic material with a Latino focus is hardly a new phenomenon; Spain has been supplying many of the world’s Spanish-language adult films for a long time, and Portuguese-speaking Brazil is providing so many adult movies that it is considered the San Fernando Valley of South America.

Brazil even has its own adult industry trade organization called the Brazilian Erotic Industry Association (or, as it is known in Portuguese, Associação Brasileira das Empresas do Mercado Erótico e Sensual) — known as the Brazilian equivalent of the Free Speech Coalition in the U.S.

But the big change occurring indicates a much greater interest in Latino talent on the part of English-speaking adult companies in the U.S. — a country that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website, had an estimated 41.3 million Latino residents as of July 2004 (in addition to the 3.9 million people living in Puerto Rico) and will have a projected Latino population of 102.6 million by the year 2050.

From Kick Ass Pictures’ popular “Chica Boom” line to an endless supply of Latin-themed adult websites, the U.S.-based, English-speaking part of the adult entertainment industry has clearly become much more Latino-minded in the 2000s.

“I think the adult industry has been catching on to the fact that Latin erotica is popular and that there are many consumers out there who enjoy it,” explained the Las Vegas-based Latina nude model Justine Sands, whose parents are from Spain and the Dominican Republic. “It has grown so rapidly and has become its own niche market. Every time I go online, I see another new Latin adult website that I’ve never seen before. So I would imagine it is growing quickly every day.”

The U.S.-based webmasters who have been offering Latin-themed content for the English-speaking market include — among countless others — Tucson, Ariz.-based TopBucks with “Fantasy Latina,” the Miami-based NastyDollars with “8th Street Latinas,” TrafficCashGold with “Horny Spanish Flies,” MrSkinCash with “LatinMovieBabes,” SterlingCash with “In Bed With Eva” and Naughty America with “My Naughty Latin Maid” and “Latin Adultery.” And there are other U.S.-based Internet companies offering Latin-themed sites exclusively, for example, LatinTeenCash with La Zona Modelos, Pacino’s World and Selena Spice and LatinCash with both heterosexual- oriented sites NiceLatinPussy.com and WetLatinGirls.com, and gay sites LatinGayLovers.com and LatinBoys.com.

“The Latin scene is ever so popular now compared to, say, five years ago,” Gary Dginger, program manager for LatinCash, said. “With all this hype of Latin celebrities, the Latin niche is here for good. I would say the Latin niche has grown about 200 percent in the last five years. Latin culture and lifestyle is part of our everyday lives, and the Latin presence is very strong in the adult industry these days.”

Sands, who is fluent in both English and Spanish, noted that when she started her website (which is in English) in 1998, it was a rarity to see a U.S.-based, English-language adult website that focused on a Latina nude model. And Mark Kulkis, president of the Los Angeles-based Kick Ass Pictures, recalled that before he started his company’s “Chica Boom” series in 2000, there were plenty of skeptics at non-Latino adult film companies who doubted that Latina-themed erotica could work in the English-language market.

But Kulkis proved the skeptics wrong — and in April, the “Chica Boom” series (which Kulkis described as a consistently great seller) was up to 36 titles. The series proved to be quite influential in the San Fernando Valley, and many English-oriented companies have since launched well-known Latin lines (for example, gonzo porn giant Red Light District’s “Young Tight Latinas” series).

“Now, there are a ton of English-language porn companies with Latin lines,” Kulkis explained. “But when I started ‘Chica Boom,’ no other English-language companies were putting out good Latin lines. Before ‘Chica Boom,’ I would ask directors, ‘Why doesn’t someone do a Latin line? I mean, we’re living in L.A., which has a huge Latino population.’ And they were like, ‘There just aren’t that many Latin girls who would do it — they’re too Catholic.’ But I always thought that was bullshit. I always felt it was just a matter of finding the right girls and putting the package together, and I did that with ‘Chica Boom’ in 2000. Between then and now, I have seen a lot more Latin girls in the industry being offered through agents.”

In part two, we'll see how Latin hotties are fueling consumer's appetites and the language barrier.

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