Last year, Sweet Release presented the first ever Australian adult industry awards ceremony: The X Awards.
The X Awards aim to put a spotlight on, and celebrate, the adult industry in both the business and entertainment sense.
There are more than 30 categories and voting is now open online for the main event, which brings the industry together from across the country to acknowledge the work that goes into adult services.
We sat down with Jett Black to find out more about him, Sweet Release, and the X Awards.
In a few sentences, who is Jett Black?
By day, Braeden Rhys invisibly blended in with the rest of society, as a hospitality, events and marketing industry professional. By night, I transformed into a sexually liberated gay man, with slicked back black hair, smokey eye shadow and leather tights, adorned with silver cuffs and bomber boots. . . Known as Jett Black.
I fast became well-known in the popular clubs of Oxford Street, hundreds of apartments and thousands of men as the sexually confident and “topping from the bottom” bondage-loving twink, available to any man that was seeking adventure and self-discovery in life and the bedroom.
My career in the sex industry as an escort helped me navigate the maze of my own mind to understand my homosexuality, the person I wanted to be in the world and the positive difference I wanted to make, by helping an industry and a community that is misunderstood, misrepresented, shunned and undervalued: the Adult Industry.
Tell us a little bit about Sweet Release Agency and where did the idea come from?
One of the biggest issues I discovered working as a sex worker, was that many adult businesses and entertainers struggled with their marketing, advertising and public relations. I also learnt that many mainstream agencies that I used to work with refused to help businesses and entertainers in the adult industry.
I founded Sweet Release a multi award-winning adult industry marketing and public relations management agency with over 2,300 clients in 110 countries
I am fortunate now to be in a position where I help people and businesses in an industry that helped me discover myself and understand my sexuality; shape their careers and realise their full potential, taking their passion to the next level whether they are an adult entertainer or adult business anywhere in the world.
Sweet Release is the National Chapter Manager for the Global Adult Industry Association, representing adult businesses and adult entertainers in Australia.
Why do you think it’s important to spotlight the adult industry? What do you believe is the biggest misconception of the adult industry?
I strongly believe that people are so blindly led by media and the portrayal of the adult industry in a negative light in movies and in music, that they just never side step and see for themselves how liberating and respectable the industry truly is. Therefore it is important to shine a spotlight on an industry and the people who bring this industry to life in order to celebrate them and treat them with the respect and kindness that everyone else feels entitled to.
It is my mission to bring harmony between what is considered 'mainstream' and 'adult industry' together under one umbrella, merging the colours of blue and red creating one purple umbrella for everyone to come together and appreciate each others' contribution to society, irrespective of industry.
The second X Awards is scheduled to happen this year. What are they all about?
X Awards Australia is an annual awards programme that invites all sectors of the Australian adult entertainment business industry to participate in an internationally sponsored awards programme, with a public voting system that encourages the wider community and industry peers to support the participants, giving the industry the recognition and positive attention that it so desperately needs and deserves.
This year (2020) over 700 adult businesses and adult entertainers were nominated by the general public as well as adult industry peers, which after careful consideration and online interviews with each nominee; 300 finalists were confirmed in this year's programme across 40 award categories; sponsored by the industry.
X Awards Australia culminates with an awards ceremony where finalists and their supporters are invited to enjoy a night of unity, celebration and recognition amongst an incredible line-up of entertainment, red carpet interviews with adult industry media, overflowing cocktails, delicious food and a welcoming electric atmosphere.
How much work is required when it comes to putting an event such as the X Awards together?
As a Virgo, I am meticulous about every detail.
An event of such scale and the only one of its kind in Australia is very demanding, many people think I have a massive team that supports me with this programme. I design and produce all of the marketing material, write every press release, curate the entire awards programme and negotiate sponsorships internationally, while also ensuring that the programme maintains its integrity both in Australia and internationally through social media marketing strategies and public relations.
A lot of effort goes in behind the scenes, nobody sees!
It is worth every sleepless night and anxiety attack.
What was your favourite element of the ceremony in its first year?
Seeing such a diverse array of adult industry peers attend from across Australia in every sector of the adult industry who had never had an opportunity to meet each other, getting along like family members, uplifting each other in such a positive and respectful way, the energy was electrifyingly harmonious.
Having my family there to experience the event, hearing the stories of adult entertainers and adult businesses throughout Australia, seeing their joy and excitement and the sincere thanks and appreciation I was given for producing X Awards Australia, to the point that in its first year the awards programme was awarded by the industry as the Best Adult Industry Event in Australia. It was truly a heartwarming and humbling experience.
I cried. I will probably cry again this year too.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from being part of the adult industry?
The most important lesson I have learned being part of the adult industry is that you can achieve anything in life if you put your mind to it. You do not have to walk to the beat of anyone else’s drum, but your own.
Throughout my career in the adult industry, I have been judged. I have been ridiculed. I have been physically and mentally abused. But I have survived.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to harden my heart, develop a thicker skin, not take people's opinions too seriously, not let negative influences tarnish my reputation and stand up for myself, not letting my sexuality and my career be a reason for me to feel shame for the world not accepting me.
What would you tell someone who is uncomfortable/not fully on board with the idea of celebrating/acknowledging those who work in the adult entertainment industry, so that they might approach it with a more open mind?
The art of asking questions has always served me well.
I would ask the driving force behind their negatively-skewed opinion or thought.
More often than not, the perception people have of the adult entertainment industry is driven by the perspective and misrepresentations of press, quick messages in songs and movies or driven by religious and cultural beliefs which at times are completely reasonable. However, it is important to note that just like any other industry, there is always a minority that destroys the positivity for the majority.
What do you do in your day-to-day life?I work in retail at Lovisa, I’ve ranged from a casual all the way up to assistant manager, but now I’m settled part-time. Besides that, I’m always planning performances for the future, and also supporting my fellow performers. And eating. Ooft!Read more: