What is Your Scene Name? Pharaoh Khaf-Ra
City and State of residence? Fairburn, GA
Region of Residence? Southeastern US
What are your pronouns?
What is your gender Identity? Male
What is your sexual identity? Heterosexual
What is are your racial identities? African American
What is/are your ethnicities? (Culture, nationality, ancestry, language) African-American
How did you first get into Leather and/or Kink? Offline
Give a Brief Description of your entrance into Leather and/or Kink Introduced to Kink by a Dominant Couple in 1995, was formally mentored by him as a Dominant for a period of two years, with conversations concerning Leather and Leatherfolk during that time. Entered into Leather indirectly in 2004 through various acquaintances, but formally entered into Leather by Master Obsidian via mentor relationship in 2010.
What was your local scene like when you were starting? How is it now, by comparison? My entry was before the Internet had reached its maturity, so to speak. Yahoo groups and Yahoo messenger, word of mouth to find real time folks, AOL chat rooms, nowhere near the ease that is enjoyed now. If you didn’t know someone who was connected to someone through degrees of separation, it was difficult to get a real grip on where things were and what events were going on. Social media has definitely put kink and Leather on the map, whether it was FetLife when it first came out, Yahoo before transitioning to Facebook and other virtual places that have come and gone.
Who’s the most influential Black person. In your life and why? That would be a list of people, hard to pick one, as they have all been an influence in my journey in one form or fashion. Away from kink, my father, my grandfather and my uncles were most influential in who I am as a man today. Literarily speaking, Eric Jerome Dickey and E Lynn Harris were direct influences and teachers in terms of my journey in the literary world. In Kink and Leather, the list is endless, but I would be remiss if I did not mention them as integral to my growth and journey: Lady D, Master Obsidian, Master Black Zeus, and Goddess Lakshimi.
What book have you read that influenced your life and why? Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Without question, it was the first book that I felt could be written in any decade within the past century, up to the current decade, in which the concept of being black and invisible would still resonate with anyone who identifies anywhere on the African diaspora while living in the United States.
Talk about one of your favorite experiences in your local Kink and/or Leather Community. Twisted Toyland during the Christmas holidays, Frolicon in the Springtime, SELF in the summer and First Fridays with the Men of Onyx (when the schedule permits). That has been the normal rotation for as long as I have been active in the Atlanta kink community. Used to do DomCon during the Fall before they left Atlanta recently, so there was no shortage of things to do in the A.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote? If so, please share. Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of their life, every quality of their mind, is written large in their works.
Name of Clubs you have been a part of? (Please also notate duration, leadership positions if any, and membership levels) NLA-Atlanta and NLA-International (member, five years), Men of Onyx SE (honorary member, 14 years), Leather Houses of Color Coalition (full patched member, webmaster, two years)
Are you a founding member of any club(s)? No
If you answered yes to previous question please list club(s), or write n/a. N/A
Are you a founding member of any organization? No
If you answered yes to previous question please list organization(s), or write n/a. N/A
Were there any other Black leather folks around in the leather scene when you came into the scene/community? Yes
If so, did you find that you gravitated more towards each other? If not, how did this affect your experience? Did you build your own community? Say more about your experience. The quick answer is yes. Since there weren’t a lot of us, we tried to keep up with each other as best as possible, considering the technology of the time. There are some I am still friends with twenty-plus years later, while others have become extended family.
Do you think being Black has hampered your experience in the leather/kink community at all? No
If it has, what kind of things did you do to try and remedy those issues? If it hasn’t, please describe. I was never one to worry about whether I had to have nothing but black people surrounding my experience in order to learn, grow, and enjoy myself. It was born out of necessity and survival a lot of the time, while in other times, it was a matter of wanting to learn all I could from whomever was willing to teach. The majority of the time, it was a non person of color.
Is there a specific instance where you feel your Blackness enhanced your experience in Leather? Yes
If you answered “yes” or “maybe” please explain. I was able to add my own flavor to an alternative community that I felt needed it. It sounds a bit arrogant, but it’s my truth. From the music selection in the dungeon to the rhythm of the scening we were doing, it was the connection of the culture to kink that simply made the experience that much more, at least for me it did.
What is a specific challenge you had coming up in Leather that was unrelated to race/ethnicity? Being “seen”, which was a challenge in a lot of circles. To not become invisible meant having to make a way where sometimes a way needed to be made. Once they saw, they couldn’t avoid seeing more and more. Evolution is a wonderful thing.
How do you find you’re treated in the Leather community vs. the greater LGBT community? Being a Het Black male and Dominant, that’s an interesting question to answer. Because I’ve always been comfortable in the skin I’m in, I had no problems being in LGBT spaces (especially when my Beloved is a part of that community). I never felt the need to be more than a spectator in a foreign space, to be able to learn how to co-exist and not be an overbearing presence, but show out when the occasion calls for it. In Leather spaces, the same thing applies, but I think because the times have changed and more of us have found our way inside, that the treatment is similar for me regardless of Leather or LGBT.
Do you feel that the leather community and embracing blackness has a positive outlook? Maybe
Please explain your previous response. Double-edged sword. Tolerance is worse than acceptance. We found that out in various spaces over the past couple of years that there is still a lot of conversation that needs to be had with regard to understanding that BIPOC are not going anywhere any time soon. Some spaces have been welcoming; others have not. It can happen, but the work must consistently be put in to keep the relationships solid and connected.
What advice would you give to newcomers in the Leather scene who are Black? It’s nice to want to be at “home” but don’t be afraid to find out what is going on with other neighborhoods. You never know the connections and the friendships you may develop, or the things that you may experience. If anything, it might enhance what you bring “home” for the rest of the folk to experience.
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