Despite incremental progress over the last few years, most creative industries are still controlled by white men. And for one reason or another, the artists that these gatekeepers choose to promote also tend to be white men. This has created a cycle of inequality, one which largely excludes women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented communities. In fact, in museums in the United States, 85 percent of the artists who are featured are white and 87 percent are men, according to research published in PLoS One.
However, Web3 technologies are helping individuals break that cycle, shifting the paradigm away from centralized gatekeepers.
More transparent and inclusive economic models
Instead of relying on a publisher, producer, auction house, or other third-party authority for promotion, creators can use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technologies to sell their work independently. This enables artists to bypass gatekeepers and tap directly into their existing audiences, all while retaining their intellectual property (IP) rights and creative control. Additionally, thanks to the features embedded in smart contracts, creatives can receive a secondary royalty each time their work switches hands in the open marketplace.
Nea Simone, Founder of Melanated Studios and NFT Atlanta Con, commented on the significance of this royalty structure in an interview with nft now. “The ability for content creators to receive royalty payouts and to create nonfungible tokens resets the table for the first time in favor of the creator,” she said.
Simone noted that the technologies also increase transparency, which leads to increased financial gains for creators across demographics. “Blockchain technology and NFTs present an unparalleled opportunity for creatives, and disrupt the barrier of gatekeepers through universal transparency amongst all parties,” she said, clarifying that the technologies “remove the undesirable execution of payments through an intermediary that holds and determines payouts.”
In this respect, NFTs are finally doing away with the starving artist stereotype. For the first time in history, creatives of all backgrounds are beginning to have the opportunity to really make a living off their work. As Farah Allen, Founder of The Labz, stated in an interview with nft now, “Creativity has always been a valuable asset within diverse communities, but the monetization of creativity was limited to standard system chain models. NFT and Blockchain technology provides creators with a new, powerful, and potentially life-changing monetization model.”
In addition to creating new opportunities for monetization, NFTs also positively impact wealth distribution. In fact, Simone explains that NFTs are already being used to redistribute wealth to underrepresented individuals and communities. “There are many projects that contribute a portion of their primary sales and royalties to entities that represent their identities and values. This approach to charity enhances the distribution of wealth and thereby diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she said.
By enabling anyone to invest in and sell fine art and collectibles, NFTs also democratize investment in wealth-generating asset classes that underrepresented groups previously had difficulty accessing. And we’re not done yet…
When it comes to creativity and communities, NFTs have served as catalysts for expression and education around various cultures and movements.
Despite its digital roots, few things are more important to members of the NFT ecosystem than the real sense of connection it provides, especially for underrepresented communities. Over the last few years, during times of isolation, civil turmoil, and social injustice, NFTs have often provided a strong sense of community for those who felt lost without one. They have helped uplift those in need and shine light on those who are often excluded.
What’s more, mission-based collections uplifting all races, religions, and genders have been introduced to the world thanks to NFTs. Perhaps none is more notable than World of Women. It’s a collection of 10,000 diverse and powerful NFTs featuring women. Its goal is to celebrate representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. A historic project in the space, World of Women recently signed a deal with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to expand into movies, TV, and educational events.
But that’s not to say that there isn’t progress to be made. Far from it. But the NFT community still has work to do.
The work we still need
Despite more underrepresented communities being heard, the Web3 space is still dominated by white males. To truly make Web3 as inclusive as it needs to be, there’s a lot of work to be done by all parties. Simone articulates the problem clearly, noting that, when it comes to NFTs and Web3 “broad outreach, engagement, and education are all needed to encourage mass adoption in historically underserved and underrepresented communities.”
Ultimately, Simone created NFT Atlanta Con to try and solve this problem. With the event, she hopes to close some of the gaps and bring additional attention to important topics regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). “The reason we launched NFT Atlanta Con is to initiate a much-needed dialogue that DEI is intrinsic to the success of Web3” she said. Simone continued by outlining exactly how the event will help solve the issues that still persist, saying, “We needed to spotlight visionaries, entrepreneurs, SMEs, thought leaders, and creators that are diverse. We decided not to wait for an invitation, but to host our own party and extend invitations. We are far past the time to be othered, we are here to introduce the multifaceted prism of DEI in Web3.”
NFT Atlanta Con is Georgia’s first-ever NFT conference, bringing together blockchain developers, gamers, artists, investors, companies, and fans to exchange ideas and further the adoption of Web3. The event will take place May 24 – 26, 2022. The inaugural event features a world-class panel of over 50 speakers. Through workshops, pitch competitions, and creative installations that include NFTs and other immersive art, creators are able to spread their art far and wide to brand new audiences.
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