'P.O.P.' Documentary Strips Down Stripper Stereotypes
4 months ago
Director Artemus Jenkins wants to give "voice to the voiceless."
People who go to strip clubs are most likely seeking an escape from reality and to live out a fantasy of some sort. It is the stripper's job to provide that ("hands off") fantasy. But what many don't realize is that even the fantasy providers themselves have a reality to return to when the music stops. Filmmaker Artemus Jenkins' online documentary "P.O.P." takes a beyond-the-pole look into the lives of dancers at the popular Atlanta strip club Magic City. In it, women share their usually ignored stories about everything from how they ended up in the profession to how some have used it to create lucrative businesses.
Loop 21 caught up with Jenkins to explain why he thought this sub-culture was worthy of a look through a different lens.
Loop 21: The title sounds direct and to the point, but tell us how and why you chose to roll with it?
Artemus Jenkins: The title was loosely inspired by the song "Power of the P---Y " by Jay-Z. It was kind of a no-brainer title to me, people do crazy things before, during and after when dealing with p----. The power that strippers command is very poignant due to the fact that they don't have to give you sex to control you, such is the case with women period. I'm sure I could have called it "Power of the Cookie," but since it's the Internet, there is space to be more liberal with titles. Of course there were thoughts about how people would respond to the word; it's just one of those words that slaps you in the face. Knowing the power that just the word itself had, also went into my decision to use it. If somebody walks in a room and just started shouting "p----," with no context behind, people would still start listening for a a few seconds. However, the title doesn't stand just because I wanted to say p---- a whole bunch, I think once the whole piece comes out and people see all the episodes they will understand.
Loop 21: What was your vision/agenda going into filming the documentary?
A.J.: My vision was really to put a voice to the seemingly voiceless. Most of what we see that deals with strippers paints them as victims. Although they have vulnerabilities because of the field they work in, they aren't all helpless or stupid. At the same time, I wanted to share some of what I've noticed over time about the culture and leave it to everyone to possibly paint a new picture or at least add to the one they already have of strippers.