Word of Colour

Sexual health platform featuring risqué short stories launched

Women of colour-generated stories about the sex lives of women of colour are few and far between. Award-winning copywriter Almaz Ohene has decided to buck the trend with her daring sexual health platform featuring the exploits of Kayleigh Daniels who dates widely and has an active sex life. Ohene explains her vision and why she is using fiction to realise her vision.

We currently live in a world where lots of us are free to be who we want to be, sexually. We have access to a lot of raunchy material, but raunch is very rarely combined with useful information about sex . So, I’ve commissioned doctors, therapists and facilitators from the fields of gynaecology, sexual health, sex therapy and psychiatry, to demystify some of the taboos surrounding women’s sexuality.

Playing on the concept ‘sex sells’, the web platform ‘Kayleigh Daniels Dated’, launched in the summer, pairs 12 risqué short stories with 12 informative health features with all pieces accompanied by full colour illustrations and multi-media graphics.

In the mainstream media, the discourse surrounding female sexuality has been largely viewed through white women’s experiences. In a bid to challenge the status quo, I’ve created the fictional character Kayleigh Daniels, aged 30 – a darker-skinned woman of colour – who is unapologetically licentious. Her dating exploits are published each month for a year on bespoke website kayleighdanielsdated.com, accompanied by a hot, full-colour illustration.

The responsive website, featuring original illustrations by Parys Gardener and iconography by Nat Mortimer, has been designed with a nod to millennial aesthetics – bright, clean visuals are teamed with a pared-back user experience and carefully curated social media channels.

Gardener’s visual vocabulary focuses on pop art techniques utilising block colour, tone and pattern across digital media. She’s passionate about communicating theories surrounding identity and culture, and often takes inspiration from her own Caribbean background.

Gardener says: “I’m massively inspired by the strength and the legacies of my grandmothers, who were part of the Windrush generation. The more I learn about their lives, the more I’m inspired to place women of all backgrounds as the centrepieces in their own narratives.”

Graphic designer Mortimer is producing a variety of multi-media pieces across the site and social media channels to accompany the expert features. Mortimer says: “It’s great to be involved in such a unique project. We hope we can to reach women all over the world to help educate them about their bodies and sexuality.”

My friends and I have graphic conversations about sex and our bodies, but often can’t find appropriate and accessible information we need about a specific issue. I’ve got 12 experts lined up to guide us through some common issues, ranging from dealing with post-coital cystitis to exploring BDSM. And what’s more, all these experts are mostly women of colour.

As a writer, I’m heavily influenced by the dirty realism and transgressive themes in novels by the likes of Charles Bukowski, Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, but noticed that there weren’t many women doing a similar thing. When a man writes shocking material, he’s describing ‘The Human Condition’. But there’s a prevailing presumption that women writing explicitly about sex – particularly if we’re young and attractive – are brazenly selling themselves, rather than working within a comparable literary framework.

I’ve always been fascinated by the performative nature of desire and have come to realise that people fancy whoever is put in front of them – proximity is access. I’ve never seen someone who looks like me, with my cultural and educational background, represented in anything similarly risqué before. So, this project is big opportunity to centre a different kind of protagonist.

I’ve also deliberately cast Kayleigh’s dates as many different physical and socio-economic types, because it’s important that readers understand that, not only does Kayleigh have lots of great (and sometimes not so great) sexual experiences, but they are also with different kinds of people, who are all into her.

Join us on Kayleigh’s journey, we guarantee you’ll learn loads.

Image credit: Parys Gardener

 

About the Author



Almaz Ohene is an award-winning creative copywriter currently working at a leading London-based digital content agency. ‘Kayleigh Daniels Dated’ is her debut self-initiated project, reflecting her belief that multi-disciplinary collaborations can bring about seismic changes in the ways in which sexual expression is viewed and accepted. Almaz is also an enthusiastic violinist, and has appeared on stage, national television and at music festivals with several London collectives including Basement Orchestra, Sinfonia Tamesa, Women of the World Festival Orchestra and The Hip Hop Orchestra.