SEATTLE, Washington - Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton is claiming that he was a pimp years ago in France, because he scrounged up clients for intimate congress with a female friend. He may have done this, but that doesn't make him a pimp.
The actual pimps interviewed in the Hughes Brothers documentary American Pimp clarify that procurement of clients is not the correct definition of pimping. Even most dictionaries get this wrong, as pimp Danny Brown notes in the movie:
In the dictionary, the pimp is a guy that solicits customer for prostitutes or brothels, and I've never done none of that.
The pimp serves as a business manager, consultant, and protector. They may instruct the girls on how to attract clients or how to maximize revenue, but actual procurement is left to the girls. The role, origins, and necessity of the pimp are discussed throughout the documentary.
Fillmore Slim notes:
First there was the hooker. Gettin' money - but didn't know what to do with it. 'Till the guy came along and showed her the part where... "let me manage your money" - they was managin' their own money, but they didn't know what to do with it. Then they had to get the pimp, he was for protection.
Priests need nuns, doctors need nurses, so hoes need pimps. They need our instructions, they need our guidance, they need our protection.
Kenny Red adds:
If a ho don't get no instruction, she gonna' be headed for self-destruction.
Any bitch can get out there and sell some pussy. She can get out there and sell some pussy all day long. But she don't know the ins and outs and the ins and outs and the outs and ins.
Further evidence that Lipton was not really pimping was his statement that "We were earning our living together, this young woman and I, we made a rather good living, I must say." The pimps in American Pimp are very clear about who gets the money, when they are asked about what "cut" their women get:
Schauntte: "What cut they get? Oh no. They ain't get no cut."
Charm: "No percentage."
Bishop Don Magic Juan: "Zero Percentage."
Kenny Red: "A bitch of mine better not keep a dime."
Fillmore Slim: "None. None."
Danny Brown: "If one of my women had proven to be stronger than me, a better manager than me, then she could have been the leader. But I was the master of the house, I was the leader of the program, so all the money came to me. It wasn't like I had part of the money, she had part of the money - that's like, a divided situation."
Pimpin' ain't easy, Mr Lipton.