Jamie Foxx’s song Unpredictable is on constant rotation on MTV. The video opens with him smoking a fat Cuban cigar flocked by gorgeous, scantily clad women. He sings about his strategy on how he is going to spice things up in the bedroom. He is going to show them things they have never done before. In a cameo appearance, Ludacris claims he is going to bring some excitement to these ladies’ lives. He’ll be their Tylenol. Take him before they go to sleep. The video sells a lifestyle where opulence and sex are paramount. Foxx ends the song with, “Some say that sex is overrated but they just ain’t doin' it right.”
Like many other music videos and images in pop culture, Fox’s message is located squarely within the conventional wisdom that “sex sells”. But apparently, this is not always the case. What if sexual desire does not register for you at all? How do you find a place for yourself in a world that seems to be propelled by sexual energy? You know you are in the minority, but deep in your heart, you simply don’t respond to the way others do. You feel weird – you don’t fit in. Well, welcome to the plight of 1% of the population. Welcome to the plight of the asexual.
As a young filmmaker, I was drawn to filmmaking by groundbreaking films about identity such as Kathe Sandler’s A Question of Color and Marlon Riggs’ Black Is … Black Ain’t. Both films look at how prejudice and intolerance divide and separate and how, in order for us to be united as a people, we all must reconcile ourselves to each other, to our differences. Their forms of storytelling were innovative in exploring larger societal problems through personal stories.
As an African-American woman, issues surrounding inclusion and belonging have always been an interest of mine. After reading an article in The New York Times, I began having conversations with people about asexuality and more so, what they thought of this as a growing social movement. I realized what a hot and controversial topic asexuality is. People would often say to me, “There is something wrong with these people,” “They are repressed. That is not an identity.” I noticed that many of the same arguments that were being made against asexuality paralleled those made against the GLBT community in the ‘60s & ‘70s. People’s resistance to asexuality shows an overall resistance to tolerating things we do not understand. I knew that this was the genesis of a film.
Combining intimate interview, verite footage and animation with fearless humor and pop culture imagery, the film will explore this emerging subculture at the point of its birth. (A)sexual is a window into a subculture that people know very little about, a subculture that is growing. Our film will use humor and popular culture to make this serious subject interesting and accessible. Like the influential The King of Kong and Scratch, (A)sexual will engage the public in dialogue about a community that they never knew about, or considered seriously, before seeing the film.
Additionally we will conduct “man-on-the-street” interviews asking people about their familiarity with asexuality and their thoughts about sexuality in general. This element will provide funny, candid and universal reactions from people from all walks of life about asexuality, sex and love. These interviews will act a Greek chorus of sorts, giving the audience a point of connection and a moment to step back and think about the larger themes of the film.