Demi Sutra and Fistopher Nolan pen two
fantastic scripts exploring some very hard social situations. This is a
brilliant film that explores incredibly relevant truths. Such is the
modus operandi for Pure Taboo, and everyone involved in these two
projects embraces that truth with vigor.
“Afrodisiac: A Demi Sutra Story” (Demi Sutra, Anny Aurora, Steve Holmes, Riley Reyes and Alix Lynx):
This is a heavy story, but I’m so glad to see it told. Demi is an
aspiring model who’s having a hard time getting noticed or booked by
anyone. No matter how she changes her hair, wardrobe or modeling style,
nobody seems to be interested in shooting her. As the rejections pile
up, the stress begins to weigh on Demi and she’s driven to start
imitating the look of girls who are getting the bookings she craves.
Eventually, Demi begins trying to erase her blackness because in
her mind, the common denominator of success is whiteness. She starts
using skin lightening cream and she covers her naturally curly hair with
a long, wavy, blonde wig. A lot of this takes place in the presence of
fellow model Anny Aurora, who seems oblivious to Demi’s emotional
distress as the two prepare for a dinner they’re both attending.
This was such a powerful scene to me because it speaks to one of
the truths Black people have faced for years. The idea that
white-associated traits are more desirable than Black ones is a reality
so many Black performers (and people in general) have lived. In
addition, Anny’s innocent obliviousness touches on the subject of white
privilege in a way that is honest without anger. She legitimately
doesn’t see Demi’s perspective, and instead finds herself completely
enamored with Demi’s natural beauty.
She doesn’t see the self-loathing and envy in Demi’s eyes because
her own are filled with adoration. When Demi kisses Anny to cover her
awkward interrogation about where Anny got her clothes and makeup, Anny
submits to the sexual advance instantly because she’s truly mesmerized
by Demi’s beauty. This dynamic makes their scene very powerful in my
opinion. The sex tells two stories: Anny is enveloped in a genuine lust
for a beautiful woman who happens to be Black, while Demi feels like
she’s trying to consume the physical body of this white woman because it
will somehow get her closer to being white and seen.
When Demi ends up being the only model at the dinner party who
doesn’t get picked for the photoshoot, something inside her snaps and
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returns to the photographer’s home later that night with the intent
to kill him. However, when the photographer sees her without her skin
cream or wig on, he comments that she’s finally presenting her true
self, and remarks how beautiful that true self is. Again, it’s a
powerful message and the realization hits Demi like a bag of bricks.
Emboldened by her newfound confidence, Demi fucks the photographer’s
brains out and her emotional explosion is like nothing I’ve ever seen
“Health, Wealth and Unhappiness” (Izzy Lush and Jake Adams):
In this cautionary tale, Jeff Adams (Jake Adams) finds himself in
a whirlwind romance with a foreign woman whom he met online. Their love
blossoms quickly and Adams proposes so Izzy can be with him under his
roof in the United States. After only a few months, he changes his will
to make her the beneficiary of his ample estate. His brother Bobby is
concerned about how fast Jeff is moving, but Jeff assures him his
marriage is based on true love from both parties.
Oddly, weeks after making the change to his will, Jeff
experiences a rash of unexplainable, near-fatal accidents. First, Izzy
gets him the wrong heart medication because their regular pharmacy was
closed. Then, the brakes fail on his well-maintained vehicle. Lastly, he
finds a funeral home brochure in the closet and suddenly he’s not so
sure that Izzy isn’t trying to kill him to get her hands on his money.
In a fit of rage, Jake takes his anger out on Izzy with an aggressive
grudge fuck that sees him take her all over the bed.
Izzy manages to endure his aggression, but there’s no denying the
scenario’s exploration of consent within the bounds of marital sex.
There are some very vulnerable positions captured in this scene,
particularly the side spoon and the missionary. Jake damn near pounds
Izzy through the bed during that missionary, holy cow! The tale ends
with Jake still meeting a grizzly fate, but the real twist is the reveal
of the responsible party.
These are two very different films and both bring strong taboo
elements to the table. The racial commentary in “Afrodisiac” stands
poignantly next to the commentary on marital sexual assault in “Health,
Wealth and Unhappiness.” Pure Taboo is known for pushing these
boundaries, but both of these experiences are stories that deserve to be
told. Credit is due to Demi Sutra and Fistopher Nolan for writing with
such care, and Bree Mills deserves credit for bringing these tales to
life. Demi was truly phenomenal in her role.