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Video Team

Christian Mann, 43, began working at Video Team in 1989 and for the past 10 years has been owner and chief operating officer of the company which has quickly developed, under his direction, into one of the largest and most powerful adult video companies in the industry.

Mann is the father of three and is confident enough to tell parents at his kids school about what he does for a living. The guy sits on the PTA, for Petes sake, and hes bluntly honest talking about issues in his industry. VT was started in the mid 80's as the video distribution (one-stop) division of CPLC, a one stop supplier to stores of magazines, novelties, 8mm film and video. At some point, prior to my tenure, they began to produce their own movies (No Man's Land, etc.) plus they acquired other lines such as the now defunct Classic Editions catalog. I was hired in 1989 to manage that division, produce movies and do some sales.

In 1994, after a series of events which included me being on trial in Texas on an obscenity charge, the shareholders decided to sell VT and I had an opportunity to put together a consortium to buy VT. At that point I became the President of the company and since then I have acquired ownership from the previous shareholders.

Q. VT has always focused primarily on black stars, but is a company run by a white man. What peaked your personal interest in the black side of the biz.

When I first started working at VT, our headquarters were one block from the corner of Normandie and Adams in South Central L.A. I became aware of a burgeoning market that was clearly under-represented. A local businessman/owner of a small video shop in the neighborhood, named Willie S. would come in to buy product and complain about the lack of quality non-offensive video for black consumers or fans of black women.

"He and I co-produced VT's first truly ethnic themed series "In Loving Color", a parody of the Wayans produced TV show that was airing at the same time. We had great success with this, which started us in the interracial market. A year later (1991), Domonique Simone, still in the early stage of her career called me up. She was in tears because the producers of "In Living Color" had rejected her bid to be one of the fly girls (ironically, J-Lo got her start as a fly girl) because they told her "Baby Ain't Got No Back."

"She explained to my dumb white ass that they were making a reference to her lack of butt size and to the Sir Mix-A-Lot song "Baby Got Back". I hadn't heard the song, but I immediately did the research. When I did, the thing that struck me was that John Stagliano was making a big impact with his new series "Buttman", the theme and the gonzo style package. I assumed that if this was working in the white market, it should do great in the ethnic market. I produced "My Baby Got Back" with three girls on the cover a la "Nasty As They Wanna Be" album cover.

"My box, which was an homage to both Too Live Crew and Sir Mix-A-Lot (featuring Domonique and an early Janet Jacme) was arguably the first aimed at the new culture: hip hop marketing for fans of all black porn. I remain proud of the fact that we gave the first major exposure to stars like Sean Michaels, Ron Hightower, Persia, Janet Jacme, Domonique, etc.

Article Courtesy of FleshBot

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