Written by: D’Shonda Brown
The #ShopBlack Interview Series is a new installation that shines light upon budding and booming Black-owned businesses ran by millennials and Gen-Z’ers who are heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. Introducing Kayla Dixon, the boss chick behind theINTERCOURSEcollection, a brand of apparel and clothing that is perfect for a #HotGirlSummer because these are the sundresses that every young lady needs for Act Up SZN. Read below the in-depth interview between D’Shonda Brown and Kayla as the boss babes talk about being proud of our sexuality, artistic evolutions and the male gaze.
Hi Kayla, it’s such a pleasure to connect with you! I’ve been looking at your pieces for a little bit and I am in such awe! Tell me who Kayla is, and what inspired Textual Intercourse?
Kayla is what she creates. My art is my intimate moments with myself, my art is how I hold myself accountable, my art is how I express my love, appreciation and gratitude, my art is my outlet when I’m frustrated, my art is how I understand and organize information, my art is how I communicate. Kayla is the content you see!
The INTERCOURSE Collection was inspired by a sermon I heard in church back in North Carolina. The story in the sermon went something like, “a son was coming of age and preparing to leave his dad’s nest. On moving day, the father gifted his son with a bible and said to him, ‘any and everything you need is in the book’. Overtime, the son frequently experienced financial hardships forcing him to run back to his father for help, yet the father always replied, ‘Son, any and everything you need is in the book’. That cycle continued for years until finally, the son came to the father one last time, and after the same reply the son decided to take his father’s advice and look in the Bible. To the son’s surprise, he found that his father had lined the pages of the bible with money.”
I don’t remember what the biblical moral of the story was, but what stuck with me about that sermon was the pastor saying,“If you ever want a n-gga to not find something, put it in a book!” I’m weird, so the way I process information is fucked up sometimes, but I built on that pastor’s theory! “If you want a n-gga to read something, put it on a sundress” Men love body so why try to fight that? It makes no sense for me to keep trying to use traditional methods when I’m not speaking to a traditional demographic of people.
Off the top, your clothes remind me of Spike Lee’s refurbished production of She’s Gotta Have It. I imagine that your pieces make any woman feel like she’s channeling her inner Nola Darling. What feelings do you hope women feel when wearing your collection?
That’s wild that you made the Nola Darling comparison because when I saw the show, especially the episode in the first season where she did the “My Name Isn’t” campaign. I said to myself ”Spike Lee has been reading my fuckin’ journal!”
I hope women feel sexy as hell when they wear my stuff! People who know me know I will be dusty as fuck out here in these streets most days out the month, but when I get dressed up, a bitch is bad. I literally want every woman who wears INTERCOURSE to feel that way! After doing pop up shops and talking to these women face to face, I’ve deduced that a lot of women really aren’t happy with their bodies. I’ve always celebrated my curves and been a fan of flaunting my sexuality. Black women are so fucking beautiful; it’s not fair. I’d be jealous if I was anything else but a black woman. I want women wearing INTERCOURSE to feel comfortable flaunting that shit.
INTERCOURSE has really pushed me to take better care of my body and if it’s healthy mentally, I hope it motivates any woman to feel the same push if she’s unhappy with some element of her body. It’s not all about that though; I want any woman who invests in this brand to feel a sense of responsibility to spread the message and engage in conversation when approached about her dress! INTERCOURSE isn’t just about looking cute, but there’s work to be done in our community. I really pray that every woman wearing the brand is excited and dedicated to collaborating with one another to fill these voids in our community. Honestly, if you just trying to be cute, I’d prefer you not even buy it.
The Intercourse Collection is very vocal – “Creating RAW, CHIC, WITTY, SEXUAL CONTENT for n-ggas who enjoy stimulating thoughts and dialogue, or for n-ggas who just get caught very easily in intellectual thirst traps.” Like, my God, that’s super intense and tasteful all at once. How do you feel that overtime the male gaze and hyper sexualization of women has influenced fashion and style evolution?
I believe fashion has fallen victim to hyper-sexualization. I think it’s fair to say it’s a social construct issue at this point, it’s fucking with our psyche, and I’m saying that because I’m aware that I struggle with it myself. The pressure to get a man aroused is definitely an unwritten rule in fashion now. As liberating as it is for women to be able to express that natural sexual element, it exudes unhealthy consequences when it’s the standard. It’s kind of like society’s standard of beauty is being misconstrued, and as a result we’re programming ourselves – both men and women – to believe sexual appeal is the foundation of style.
I’m torn though because I’m very much a fan of raunchy, sexy direction that fashion is thriving in right now. Like everything, fashion has its cycles, trends go and come back like clockwork. I appreciate artists and influencers who play against the sexual standard – it’s necessary! The male gaze will always be a factor because we’re women, we want to be admired and that’s what all of this goodness is here for, but I am excited for this wave of free spirited women who don’t give a fuck and walk out of their house in what’s comfortable. I like to believe that fashion and style should really be judged by aesthetic and character.
“If you want a n-gga to read something, put it on a sundress.” – Now, I can’t speak for every woman, but I can say during my twenty odd years of life, sundresses are like the main nonverbal mating call for men if you’re trying to have a #HotGirlSummer. How do you think hip hop and rap has escalated this?
In real life, I think sundresses are considered conservative when you bring up this #hotgirlsummer movement. I’m a whole fan of this era of women in rap saying what they want. When I heard Megan Thee Stallion say “I wanna look at yo’ face when you in it,” I felt that on a spiritual level.
I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I feel blessed to share this space and time when women are articulating this raw, raunchy element where women relate across the board. For so long, women have had to be ladylike to keep up this appearance, all the while we’re being forced to suppress natural feelings that men can freely voice with no judgment. Rap has certainly escalated the nonverbal mating call, and I’m a fan of it because it’s like as a result of these women expressing their truths without filter it gives other women freedom and permission to do the same without shame. Now I will say, I’m not cut out for this #HotGirlSummer wave – in real life I’m just tryna make love to the same man every chance I get and cook him grits and turkey bacon at four o’clock in the morning.
So, you have a lot of amazing pieces, but I know this isn’t it for you. What’s next for you and where do you see your brand going in the next few years?
Imagine if The Black Panther Party bought Jet Magazine, revamped it, and extended Jet Beauty of the Week to damn near every 3 pages. Ava Duvernay as EIC, Paul Mooney as a creative writer, Rihanna as Fashion Editor, Solange as Art Director, and Michael Eric Dyson, Killer Mike, and Nipsey Hussle covering “Finesse Yo Reparations” segments. That’s what I envision INTERCOURSE becoming!
What’s next for me is to push the envelope! I studied acting at Howard University and I’m honestly just trying to apply my training to the things that come most natural to me. My theatre background bleeds into everything I do so I’m constantly exploring new ways to curate impactful artistic experiences. My professors instilled these two things in me that drive my intention and technique: (a) people don’t want to see mediocre pedestrian moments and create work that leaves an indelible print so strong it’s now apart of their DNA when they leave the theatre (b) when you go into an audition, always look fuckable. I see myself and INTERCOURSE making my professors proud! My mama’s gonna hate it, but my professors will be proud!