It’s true — The Black Community is EVERYWHERE. We shape EVERYTHING.
Yet, I can’t help but feel alone sometimes. I enter spaces hosted by people that don’t look like me and honestly didn’t have me in mind feeling lost, aimlessly wandering as I search for some sort of familiarity. It’s one thing to know that I belong in any room that I walk into but it is another thing to boldly declare that there should be more people that look like you in that room. If you have ever felt this way or believe that we need our own spaces, keep reading…
When it comes to physical or IRL spaces, we have those in spades! Whether it’s the barbershop/salon, the diner that has been in the community for decades, or even the proverbial “cookout”, there seems to be an imaginary Bat-signal that goes out that acts as a beacon bringing us together. When it comes to digital spaces, we face two different challenges:
A) they are so public that they lack the intimacy required for tough conversations and shared resources as others are able to casually sit adjacent to our conversations and content (for example, Black Twitter).
B) they’re so private that it’s virtually impossible to get in if you aren’t already in, meaning the network effect of the group is near finite and people who need help or can add value aren’t able to join (for example, your favorite group chat).
To that end, we want to try something different. We’re creating a virtual community space for US. As Black founders, creators, investors, and community builders, there are few places online that allow us to be ourselves unapologetically and authentically. We want to blend the best of the online experiences with the best of offline experiences in hopes of creating a digital — and, occasionally physical — space that gives us the ability to add value by sharing knowledge while also serving as a place to simply rest amid overstimulation and emotional assault that we all experience online, in the workplace, and as we walk about this world.
We also know that when it comes to access to capital, social capital is the most valuable resource in our community. We’re aware of the various groups that are created for the uber-successful and wealthiest among us and we have no desire to take anything away from the value created by those groups. After all, we are not a monolith so we’re building this community with that in mind.
So let’s build it. We’re creating Black@ to connect us to resources. to business opportunities. to social experiences. to one another.
Phase 1 is a token-gated private group chat that will span geographies, areas of expertise, and interests. I believe that we should treat knowledge more like a library and less like a vault so that’s where we are starting. Sharing of information, resources, and opportunities. To pull this off, we’ll be working with Black artists to create culture-inspired NFTs (we can’t wait to show y’all what we’re making…) that each of our members will have.
Phase 2 begins with hosting virtual events for our members to learn and connect. Add in the fact that there are many unwritten rules in the various industries that we operate in and that leaves many of us underprepared and disconnected from resources necessary to deal with difficult questions/scenarios. While our events will open to the public, members will get in for free (and when the economics work, have access to guest passes).
Phase 3 will focus on creating “pop-up” style events at conferences and events where our members will be present. Think Happy Hours and coffee meetups at events like Art Basel, SXSW, etc. This goes back to the idea that we are never truly alone despite occasionally feeling like that at times. Simply put, if you’re there, we’ll be there!
As a proponent of web3, I see the unique value that using tools like NFTs will create for our members. That said, web3 can’t solve all the ills of the world so to ensure that our members feel safe, we’re starting with two really important things:
#1 — A fully doxxed leadership team.
While this will be a community effort, this project is being led by Shondra Washington, Audrey Akwenye, and myself (Harold Hughes). Our goal is to be as transparent as possible with our intentions and actions to make sure that this community feels supported.
#2 — Terms and Conditions for membership to our group chat and events (virtual & IRL).
When we talk about the Black community, we talk about ALL of us and EACH of us. Misogyny, homophobia, and other hate speech or acts will not be tolerated. It is hard enough to navigate the various triggers and microaggressions that this world throws our way — yes, even during Black History Month — so we simply won’t stand for that in this group. Can’t have the call coming from inside the house…Ok!?
The Details — The drop date is 2.28.222
We’re creating 500 memberships (ERC-1155 tokens) with the mint price starting at 0.1 ETH for the first 125 members. From there, the price will go up gradually (in batches of 50) up to 1.5 ETH. We will reserve 50 tokens for marketing, partnerships, and promotions. Join the drop here. Here is a breakdown of the proceeds of the token sale:
Community Operations — 20%
Founding Team — 30%
Treasury — 50%
We understand that any private community that has a cost to enter is by design exclusionary. That said, we believe that the value that the collective group can offer will be greater than the amount that is set for entry. Also, to make sure that we are continuing to give back to the community and create space for people who are unable to pay the membership fee, we will give away 25 member passes and new and different ways to share group knowledge outside of the private group (newsletter, podcast, etc.).
Members will immediately have access to a private Telegram group (once accepting the membership terms and conditions). From there, we will begin working with members to figure out what kind of programming you are interested in seeing and will begin hosting our first events next month.
We’re really excited about what this space can look like for each of us so we hope that you’ll be vocal about what you need and how you can give to the community to make it better. Our hope is that simply being in this group will create loose connections, open the door for opportunities, and expand your network of friends, colleagues, and business partners. From a private token-gated group chat to virtual and online events, we want to ensure that we’re creating connections for each member to change the trajectory of their businesses and professional careers. We know that our Community travels and we’re willing to do the work to make sure that we use the inclusive we as opposed to the exclusive we.
Join us for our Twitter Spaces convo on Wednesday 2/23 @ 5pm ET where we’ll be talking more about what we are building what we are not building, and learn more about what we’re expecting as we create an all-Black web3 community.
Harold, Shondra, and Audrey
P.S. — For those of you who aren’t familiar with NFTs but are interested in joining in, be sure to download a wallet (like Metamask or Rainbow)