Combining Purpose & New Digital Technology - Nick Fontova and Ja Rule
The Social Innovation Summit run by Landmark Ventures is a global network of leaders discussing the key strategies and business innovations creating social transformation across the corporate, investment, government and non-profit sectors. I have participated in the Social Innovation Summit for almost a decade. My first event was the last meeting ever held in General Assembly Hall, UN Building. Where Robert Orr opened the summit with these epic words, “We will innovate and then we will renovate.”
Recently I was in Washington, DC for the most recent live Social Innovation Summit and I can tell you there is nothing like meeting people in person! Over the course of the next three weeks, I will be sharing a bit more detail on the people I met and the talks that made the greatest impact on me. Starting with an epic conversation about the power of NFTs to build community. Imagine my delight as I got direct eye contact with Ja Rule while he was live streaming on his platform ICONN!
Like many of us, Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, better known by his stage name Ja Rule, accidentally fell into the NFT space. As an avid collector of sports memorabilia such as sports cards, helmets, and jerseys of his favorite players. NBA Top Shot was a place he frequented and that led him into collecting NFTs. As an American Music Awards and Grammy Award nominee with two albums topping the US Billboard 200, Ja Rule is an artist. He understands artists and in his own words:
As I started getting into NFTs and learning what they were about, it was evident that they were about ownership. What it means to artists to own their work and beyond ownership, get paid for their work and perpetuity. That is what has been missing in the music industry. Artists like myself are always looking to own the things we create — our publishing and tthings of that nature. Music labels are always finding a way to wrangle our art, our creations from us and own our work. So for me, the NFT was a special way for artists to create their art and be able to sell it. And every time it is resold, the original artists get a royalty. I thought that was special.
Art has always defined culture. We have all heard of Van Gogh and Rembrandt dying broke and never knowing the cultural and transformative contributions they made. According to Nick Fontova also know as MrPinkNFT, “In the NFT landscape artists are now in control. They are getting rich, creating culture and are empowered. The tangible impact is motivating and inspiring these artists to create even more.”
Previously if you wanted to be an artist you had to appeal to a gatekeeper. If you wanted your art sold you have to got to a museum and a curator would “assess” the value of your art and determine whether it was worthy to be sold to their collectors. In a decentralized Web3 market, creators themselves determine their value. There were gatekeepers for both artists and collectors. Today anybody in the room with a phone has the ability to bid, buy and sell art.
The other impact we are noticing more and more is the ability for NFTs to represent traditionally underrepresented communities. Two wonderful examples are Remarkable Women by Artist Rachel Winters and an upcoming collection called Black is Beautiful with Nick Davis.
The Remarkable Women NFT collection by Rachel Winters is something I have previously written about. The collection showcases powerful messages of hope, inspiration, and affirmation in 15 languages (with featured phrases including “Loved, Royal, Icon, Valid, Queen”) that together make this collection truly remark-able.
Announced for the first time at the Social Innovation Summit was the partnership between House of First and The Painted House, confounded by Ja Rule and business partners Herb Rice. The platform was launched alongside an impressive group of Founding Collaborators with the mission of amplifying and uplifting artists and creators of color and building community across Web3. In Ja Rule’s own words, “The Painted House is geared to offer artists of color a home where they can learn about NFTs, learn about crypto and Web3.” The first project of this collaboration is Black is Beautiful by Nick Davis.
Black is Beautiful is a stunning depiction of the raw emotions of Black Americans navigating both the joys and struggles of everyday life in America. This collection of 1000 unique, one-of-one NFT’s is more than just collectible art — each NFT tells its own story. The images are playful, heartwarming, wholesome, provocative, and inspiring.Collectors will benefit from one-of-a-kind art, community, education, access, events, and special experiences. With a mission of expanding representation, the collection will also be partnering with select HBCUs to further help communities of color with access, education, and insights to empower the next generation of creators and collectors.
The Black Is Beautiful mints on July 14th and there is still time to participate!
Content curator Jennifer Sertl, Rochester, NY July 8, 2022