Watch this space is our series that introduces new faces and new voices.
This autumn, there was a buzz when Recon, The Fetish Network, published a video and photo shoot by Raf & Way featuring solely people of colour. Brand director, Sandy Pianim, was keen to encourage discussion about how the fetish scene can evolve, in particular how it can become more diverse and inclusive. On launch, the video was introduced by Sandy asking his audience to,
Imagine a space that was created for you.
What would it look like?
Who would be there?
What would happen?
Imagine having the privilege to revel in a space that belonged to you.Sandy Pianim
When we heard about a new black-led sex club being held in London, and always keen to support Black men taking the initiative, we thought we should find out more . . .
BlackOut: Who are you?
I’m your boy DLPlugLondon. I’m now an entrepreneur, and club promoter. I used to be involved with a very different scene, but turned that around, got some qualifications, and now work to develop new businesses.
B: Where are you from?
I’m a born and bred Londoner
B: So what’s new?
Earlier in 2019, I launched brand DLPlugLondon. The brand’s initial focus has been on creating “sexual” spaces where Black people were not the minority. I wanted to liberate us from the microaggressions and exclusion that people report as the pattern on so much of the gay scene. The question was, ‘how’? So I started out by creating a group chat of Black guys who were looking for more adventurous sex with other Black men. The group chat allowed members to connect, build a network and explore sexually.
DLPlugLondon now aims to facilitate sexual exploration for gay, bi, curious and DL guys through several means. It started as a simple London based group chat. It has now developed into a regular sex club night. And we aim to further develop into an adult entertainment brand
B: Wow! We’d privately all admit that it’s about time. Only privately though! Why do you think this hasn’t happened before now?
That’s exactly one of the reasons! Everyone gets horny and open to a bit of fun sometimes. But it still seems to be a very “private” thing. Among Black people it seems to be almost considered taboo if you go to sex events. Whereas other groups tend to be more liberated in this respect. Also – I think I’m allowed to say this, lol – Black guys can come across as difficult to deal with at times. I’ve definitely had an uphill struggle building the network.
My efforts to try to get people together was met with a lot of skepticism and criticism. So I’d understand when a lot of people can’t be bothered with the hassle
B: What has the response been like?
It’s been okay, good even. I’d say 97-100% of people who have attended our events have given it raving reviews. So much so that not only did we retain the majority of our guests from the first event, we near enough doubled the number at our second event due to word of mouth. So yeah man it’s gotten the thumbs up from the community so far.
B: The brand is DLPlug – is this the sex club extension of the closet?
The idea behind the name DLPlugLondon, was about aligning the brand with our target demographic. Every sub-group has their spaces, the DLPlug brand aims to create a network for members of the community who you might not identify as queer on sight, and who might not identify themselves as queer. I’m glad you asked this question because it crops up quite a bit in discussion. To be clear, the events are not necessarily DL events, they’re just spaces where if you are DL you can feel more comfortable. The men we are targeting may not want many people to know about their sexuality. We consider those guys and what they need via some of our ‘features’ or ‘rules’- like face masks allowed and available to buy at the door, and by making sure the space is a mobile phone free zone – no one wants to end up online without their say so, DL or not.
B: Do you bump into people around town and hardly recognise them with their clothes on?
Lol! No, fortunately. I have not been in a situation where I’ve bumped into someone I’ve recognised from an event. Hopefully that’s a good thing.
B: There’s always been a Black presence in sex clubs. We’ve always had sex! What difference does it make when the club night is Black led?
Well firstly, we are able to dictate the narrative of the night bringing it closer to home. We are able to do this through the tone of the event. DLPlugLondon sets the tone through our music choices and “DL/Mandem” theme. You have other events aimed at ‘Scally lads’ or guys interested in leather or jocks, for example. So why not create something equally as home grown, something for the “Mandem”. Most importantly we are able to be the majority and that hopefully gives us control to say what we find attractive.
B: Had you seen this celebration of The Black Perverts Network that Stephen Isaac-Wilson made for Channel 4’s Random Acts in October?
Do you think the next generation will be making films about DLPlug London?
No, I’d not heard of this before now. It’s actually quite fascinating to see earlier attempts at solving a similar issue to the one we’re tackling. I’m really happy to see that it is being documented and depicted using multimedia. I would, humbly, welcome future generations to replicate a similar project for DLPlugLondon. I hope we can have the same kind of impact.
B: What’s the plan for the future?
The plan now is to continue building and developing the events. We have a free Christmas special, for guests to come down and see what the events all about.
Also. we’re looking forward to a collaboration with a well-known club promoter who has a similar target demographic. The vision is to extend the brand into the adult entertainment industry with the focus on representation of Black people. So quite a few exciting projects to look out for in the new year.
B: How can people find out more?
Anyone interested in attending our events, joining our group chats or finding out about future projects from DLPlugLondon should visit our website. Or check out our socials
B: Don’t say . . .
Make sure you have your own mask on, before helping others with theirs.
B: Do say . . .
What happens at DLPlugLondon stays at DLPlugLondon1