Organizer Stixx Mathews is the coordinator of Memphis Black Fashion Week, or MBFW 901, which took place in Memphis in Spring 2019. Ahead of the big event, the Campaign for Southern Equality spoke with Stixx about his vision, the event’s impact on the LGBTQ community, and more.
“I learned the hard way about getting my foot in the door, especially as an effeminate gay man who is flamboyant in my style of dress,” he said. Stixx is based in New York City but is originally from Memphis. Part of the concept behind his Memphis Black Fashion Week was to teach what he’s learned in New York to designers and aspiring fashion industry workers in Tennessee. “When I go back home, folks in Memphis always have a lot of questions for me,” he said. “They want to know how they can get into Fashion Week, how they can do makeup, etc.”
Stixx goes back to Memphis on a semi-regular basis. “Going home brings back a lot of old memories. But things are improving. For one, we didn’t have a space like the center, where we’re hosting MBFW 901. Now, I can comfortably go home to people who have a passion, it’s fulfilling to go home and stoke that passion and say, ‘Hey, you can do this.’ I don’t like the word ‘tolerance,’ but I like it better than ‘ignorance,’ and things have become more tolerant in Memphis. The newer LGBT community in Memphis is different than it was when I first came out. The community is increasingly accepting.”