Street pimps have long been a subject of fascination in pop culture, and now the documentary ‘Pimps Up, Ho’s Down’ offers a rare chance to gain an inside look into their real lives and work.
The documentary follows African-American street pimps who discuss how they started out and how they use flamboyance as part of their tactics. It also portrays them pimping in various U.S. cities, such as New York City, Detroit, and Las Vegas. We see the recruitment process for bringing a woman into the pimp’s fold as well as what happens when a woman is taken away from another pimp. The rules and regulations of this unique profession are laid bare by the men themselves who make it clear that it’s all about money.
We hear from some of the women who also feature in the documentary about what they want from a pimp along with tales from a legal employee at a Nevada brothel whose white boss is legally registered as her pimp. Both street pimps – some of whom are now retired – and the legal employer present arguments for legalizing prostitution in an effort to protect women involved in sex work.
Through intimate interviews with participants on both sides of the business, ‘Pimps Up, Ho’s Down’ provides fascinating insight into this often misunderstood world and should not be missed by anyone with an interest in human behavior or urban culture. It encourages us to think more deeply about opportunities for marginalized people living on society’s fringes while at the same time popularizing conversations about power dynamics within prostitution cultures.