Celebrities are Protesting for Palestinian Rights

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

Celebrities are Protesting for Palestinian Rights

This past weekend, Bella Hadid protested for the rights of Palestinians in light of the recent violence in Gaza. The model was among a crowd of thousands in Brooklyn, the protest taking over Interstate 278 to properly make a statement on the conflict in Gaza. This is not the first time Hadid has been vocal about Palestinian rights; she also protested four years ago in London, her demand for an end to the violence remaining throughout the years. Though the issue does not “directly” affect those living in the United States, Hadid is inspiring her peers to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

 

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3 Companies That Have Used Their Platforms to Educate Their Consumers On Global Issues

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

3 Companies That Have Used Their Platforms to Educate Their Consumers On Global Issues

Now more than ever businesses need to step up and use their platforms for good. No matter the ethnic background they come from or what kind of consumer they are, most multicultural people in America are impacted by more global issues. It is only right that a group that has access to a wide variety of people use their platforms to inform and take action. 

Despite this responsibility to be vocal, very few companies are actually vocal about the issues our world is facing. It’s almost as if they are afraid to disrupt whatever societal order that has been keeping peace by not acknowledging major issues. While some companies have not mustered up the bravery to disrupt and the courage to educate their consumer bases, there are a few companies that have taken it upon themselves to say what needs to be said and to be a force for change.

Lululemon Recognizing Its Privilege

Known for its athletic apparel, Lululemon has become a household name to many in the past few years. The clothing brand promotes a healthy lifestyle, promoting its consumers to live fully through different forms of exercise such as yoga. When news broke out about the devastating wave of COVID-19 in India, the home of yoga that is often left out of conversations on the now westernized practice, many fled to Lululemon’s social media sites to hold the company accountable. Not afraid of the criticism, the company answered many people’s questions with an Instagram post that stated its solidarity with India as well as a commitment to contribute to change. As stated in the post, Lululemon has partnered with different non-profit organizations that are dedicating their efforts towards the pandemic outbreak in India. The company not only acknowledged their faults but also made it a goal to do better and help preserve the culture that inspired them. 

Complex and Sharing Information

Complex Networks is a modern entertainment company that has put out shows such as Hot Ones and has also created unique ddb experiences for their fan base like ComplexCon. On Instagram, arguably its most popular platform outlet, the media company reshares and posts content speaking to different pop culture areas, from film and tv to music and fashion. In light of the recent increase in violence against Palestine, Complex recently used their platform to educate their followers on what has been happening in the area with a thorough and heavily researched infographic post. This Instagram post did what many news outlets are failing to do when it comes to this issue: put the politics on pause and show concern for the people this tragedy is happening to. 

Zoom and the Pledge to Protect All Asian Lives

Although coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, it has most certainly affected every population in a number of ways. One of the impacts has been racism; Asians around the globe have been targeted due to pure prejudice sparked by the origin of the virus. Though initially focusing on those impacted in America, Zoom — the video meeting platform that gave people an option to work from home effectively — is taking a stance against this hatred. The company’s CEO Eric Yuan, along with other Asian American leaders, are pledging $10 million to stop hate against all Asians and Pacific Islanders. The list of contributors includes YouTube co-founder Steven Chen and OpenTable CEO Debby Soo whose contributions to the tech world have significantly impacted how to look at entertainment and dining experiences. 

 

While other companies are using platforms like TikTok and Twitter to acknowledge such issues occurring in the world, the aforementioned are pairing action with education. The mission towards a better future starts with a post, is followed with a move, and creates progress. 


Your Company Needs to Care About Issues Everywhere: Why Being Selective About Causes Isn’t an Option

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Your Company Needs to Care About Issues Everywhere: Why Being Selective About Causes Isn’t an Option

In the past few weeks, disaster and tragedy have struck different international countries. The conflict on the Gaza strip has escalated, increasing the tension in the area. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis in India has now become the world’s worst outbreak, with 400,000 cases being recorded daily, mass cremations taking the place of traditional burial processes, and a shortage of oxygen as well as basic hospital supplies. An unjust tax reform proposal in Colombia led to uproar, with thousands of protesters being met with police brutality. And those are just a few of the things reported by mainstream media. 

Although people have the moral obligation to help in any way that they can, through donations or spreading awareness, this humanity seems to be lost on most non-media companies. While the world seems to be on fire, most businesses carry on as if their own world is not affected, especially businesses from “western cultures.” There is a working assumption that the traditional, American consumer is not impacted by the issues the rest of the world is facing and so there is no need to speak on them. But in a 21st-century society, is any of this true?

According to the Census Bureau, groups once seen as “minorities” will reach majority status by 2044 and by 2065, there will be no “single ethnic” or racial majorities.

The real truth that is not often taken into account by most corporations is that America and other western societies are more diverse than thought to be, not just in general ethnicity but in nationality and cultural background. People’s lives extend far beyond the borders of this country, meaning their concern is not just with the events of the nation but of the world. With social media and the widespread of information at any level, we are given the opportunity to pick  and choose which people, even companies, deserve support based on their stances for social issues.

Ultimately, we live in a time where performative empathy and care will not be rewarded. People don’t want hashtags that don’t provide anything to those in need or change problematic systems for the better. They want statements of solidarity, contributions to reform, and to know that the businesses they are investing in invest in better futures. Picking and choosing when to be “woke” and for the people will also discredit a business’s empathy. To make a comment on one global issue while turning your back on another goes against the mission to make a difference. If you fight for one marginalized group, you need to fight for them all.

Raising awareness for issues that communities around the world are facing is a great way to connect with consumers but to all wear company beliefs and morals for all to see. But there is an insincere way to go about it. Businesses need to be educated, open, and transparent about their beliefs. And no issue is too small to acknowledge through your platform. 


We Need to Support Multicultural Artists Communities: How You Can Contribute to the Second Renaissance

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

We Need to Support Multicultural Artists Communities: How You Can Contribute to the Second Renaissance

For anyone in any industry, a strong sense of community and connection to the people who share your career-oriented morals and motivations is important. But for artists of color who have chosen a less traditional path often started on their own, it can be hard to find your people. On top of this, some groups are not granted the same resources and support as other, more mainstream groups. And although many in the art industry predict that multicultural artists will be the leading force in the second Renaissance, there is still a need for support to help them reach another historical milestone. 

So what exactly should these communities look like? To organize multicultural artist communities by mediums and cultural backgrounds would be too easy and too dismissive of crafts. The connections people make go far beyond a bond over using the same pencil type or even having a greater understanding of a particular culture. People, especially artists who turn their experiences into masterpieces, need to be surrounded by people that will help them translate life into art. They need inspiration, motivation, and acceptance. Similar to group therapy settings, they need peers that will be reciprocal in the support and care they are willing to give them.

16% of curatorial staff members in museums were people of color in 2018 according to a survey conducted by the Mellon Foundation, not even coming close to reflecting the 40% of POC in the United States.

The purpose of these communities goes beyond supporting creators; its mission should also be to decolonize art museums and spaces that don’t accurately represent the artists in the world. The only way for this to happen is to give those in other positions in the art industry the resources they need. From museum staff to auctioneers, we need to make space for people of color in the administrative, more traditional art management positions. These will be the people who seek out and prioritize giving multicultural artists of all time periods and movements the chance to share their work and, ultimately, their perspectives.

How should people outside of these communities support artists? The simplest answer would be to purchase and promote multicultural artists at any chance you get. But, realistically, that requires a lot more research than supporting other artists might. Using platforms such as Patreon, finding communities on social media platforms like Twitter, and becoming a full-time follower of these groups will give you the best access to multicultural artists. On top of this, you will also connect to these artists on another level, learning about their personal lives straight from the source, witnessing their creative process, and recieving a better understanding of an artist’s life. You won’t just be supporting multicultural artists; you’ll be their close ally. 

Artists of color are going to lead the world of creation in the next few years, just as they have been doing for centuries about now with the public’s acknowledgement of their craft. And, to ensure that these creators get the recognition they deserve, we need to support their communities and make way for their supportive spaces to exist. Whether you donate to a group or buy a crypto piece from a multicultural artist, you will be contributing to the rising art revolution. 


This is How Black Artists are Reinventing Comics

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

This is How Black Artists are Reinventing Comics

Military veterans Manuel and Geiszel Godoy are pairing social justice with comics to give another platform for storytelling back to Black illustrators. The duo founded Black Sands Entertainment, under it the Black Sands Publishing app that will offer free access to 26 original comics. The point of this company and its many projects to come is to reverse the trends of an industry once deeply rooted in racism and alienation. The Godoys want to give comics as a medium back to Black activists who want to express the vision of the future that they have, rather than prolonging narratives of trauma and struggle. 

 

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NFTs and Physical Art Are Joining Forces

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

NFTs and Physical Art Are Joining Forces

Bricks-and-mortar spaces are being created for the display of digital art, giving visitors of the space an opportunity to experience crypto content beyond their personal devices. CryptoPunks, one of the main trading spaces for NFTs, has been promoting a NFT exhibit — Virtual Niche — in Miami. And that’s just the beginning; news of similar spaces opening up in other major cities like New York have gotten crypto fans excited to take their appreciation of the digitized goods to another level. Though some fear that NFTs will completely replace physical art, these spaces provide a hope that the two could possibly live in harmony with one another. 

 

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NFTs are Recharging the Art Market

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

NFTs are Recharging the Art Market

When the pandemic sent the world of art into chaos, restricting access to galleries and museums, NFTs emerged just at the right time to give art fans another way to appreciate their favorite creators. Many have said that the shift to digital art has increased an interest in the field, with people auctioning millions to win one-of-a-kind digital pieces. In fact, this proclaimed “second renaissance” is predicted to outshine its predecessor, evolving our traditional methods of viewing art into something more accessible. But how will the art world protect its creators and fans from over-commercialization? 

 

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Don’t Use, Appreciate: How to Support Black Artists the Right Way

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Don’t Use, Appreciate: How to Support Black Artists the Right Way

The death of George Floyd and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in pop culture lead to this need to support smaller Black creators and businesses, especially from the corporations guilty for not doing their part in defeating systemic racism. Muralists were commissioned to paint the letters “BLM” on main streets in cities, brands partnered with Black creators to create pieces that expressed the Black experience, and an influx in series and films that told Black stories by Black writers and directors came into society. And while this may have given a few creatives the exposure and career opportunities they deserve, is this the kind of support the community should be receiving? 

After receiving a shockingly insensitive email from M:United to paint a mural in the midst of communal grieving and protesting for Black lives, Ms. Martin and other Black artists wrote an email back to the corporation. Ms. Martin shared with The New York Times that the blunt request showed “a telling and dangerous opportunism.” Rushing to show tangible solidarity that people would photograph and post all over their feeds was just another version of systemic racism. Ms. Martin and the other artists stated that “the instrumentalization and exploitation of Black labor, ideas and talent for what is ultimately their own benefit and safety.” 

While corporations should be supporting Black businesses and creators any chance they get, there also needs to be a genuine interest in the crafts and processes of these innovators. We are far past the point in the timeline of this society where public support of protests against racism is enough. In news about a lack of diversity and the presence of prejudice in work settings and industries, it is clear that the reversal of the system won’t just be done on social media. Real change will take place when Black workers are treated in the same way as other employees or when Black art is respected in a way that it has not been throughout history. 

So how should larger companies support Black creators? The simple answer is being consistent in the requests. To throw out one project to a plethora of talented Black creators on a topic that affects all creators will only discredit your company in its efforts to support them. Similarly, if a company wants to show public support for the lives of Black Americans, they need to listen to the artists and storytellers building the projects. To punish Black creators for speaking out against strategies that don’t seem genuine is part of the problem. Accountability does not stop at recognizing past faults; it needs to be followed up with giving Black people a space to speak and listening to their opinions. 

People can see through attempts to just participate in this movement, this fight, for Black lives. They want to know that companies are making true efforts towards supporting Black innovators and for ultimately ending the systemic racism they have participated in for far too long. Support Black artists is not just about having them paint “BLM” on streets; it’s about giving them the opportunities prejudice has kept away from them for centuries. 


Why NFTs are Benefiting Artists of Color the Most

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Why NFTs are Benefiting Artists of Color the Most

In early March, a 41-year-old digital artist that goes by the name of Vakseen accepted large bids for the first of six versions of a digital painting that featured Michael Jordan. Since the auction, Vakseen has been commissioned for other digital art pieces, giving the Black artist exposure that he never quite had before. Vakseen’ struggle art was even featured in a digital gallery that features work from all over the world by Black artists. This recent success was made possible by NFTs and the rise of digital collectibles. 

When NFTs first started to rise in their popularity, we explored exactly what they were and why different art communities found an interest in them. Since more creators have found the new selling system, however, it’s become more obvious that these non-fungible tokens may be helping artists of color get the exposure they need. And it doesn’t just stop and getting their signature style and methods out there; most of these artists are finally getting the financial recognition they deserve. Just one of Vakseen’s digital pieces was valued at $500,000 not even a year after the creator went into NFTs. After finding his success, Vakseen believes that all artists of color will benefit the most from this new world of exchange. 

In 2018, Black artists accounted for less than 2% of the global art auction market.

While it may be harder for artists of color to break out onto the digital art scene compared to their white counterparts, communities are forming with the purpose to amplify minority presence in these spaces. One group, a NFT art club called Black NFT Art, has developed a connection with Black digital artists through social media — with Clubhouse as the main platform — to showcase the artists in the network as well as host galleries for crypto artists. Though the group is fairly new, they have collected over 50 artists who have made over $700,000 together. 

The groups that are uniting and promoting crypto artists of color are also combatting the gatekeeping in the art auction community. Investors who recognize NFTs as a way for minority creators to breakout are developing these virtual spaces so that the people they promote are no longer kept on the outskirts of the action. In its early stages on the mainstream art scene, artists as well as entrepreneurs that believe in them want to make the NFT art scene the most leveled playing field for content that history will ever see. 

Although artists of color are still fighting for their space, even in the digital art scene, NFTs have made it significantly easier for them to gain followings and to earn the money that belongs to them. If you are looking to get into collecting NFTs or need another, more effective, way to support these artists, seek them out through communities such as Black NFT art or use social media as a way to discover and connect with your new favorite crypto artist. 


Partnerships Pave the Way: How Hero Collective is Setting an Example for How Larger Companies Should Interact With Independent Minority Companies

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Partnerships Pave the Way: How Hero Collective is Setting an Example for How Larger Companies Should Interact With Smaller, Independent Minority Companies 

Earlier this week, Hero Collective announced two new, strategic partnerships with Carat U.S. and Bustle Digital Group. While both of these partnerships are unique and focused on different areas of culture, they do prioritize one thing: the minority perspective. Both companies are making an effort to speak to the people of color that have been supporting their businesses for many years. It made sense to team up with a minority-owned media and marketing agency that knows the minority story and can speak to its demographics. So why haven’t more larger companies created similar partnerships with independent companies that don’t just know but are the target audience since the summer of 2020 enlightened society on the severe lack of diversity? 

Aiming to speak to minority groups has, unfortunately, been oversimplified due to the easy access to these groups via social media. Larger corporations that vowed to support Black innovators were not exactly specific in how they would do so. What they gave these communities were info-graphics on Instagram stating facts they already knew, commercials that finally featured more diversity, and more promises for change. But what these communities want, what they need, is actual progress. 

According to Statista, Black Americans only made up 10% of the boards of the top 200 media companies while Asian Americans made up 8% and Hispanic Americans 4%.

Progress ultimately needs to come in the form of a commitment to reverse the inequality of representation in all different parts of different industries. It goes beyond surface-level change that can be posted about once and never spoken about again. People want to see their community members leading the way in finance, film, technology, and everything in-between. They want to be able to tell the younger members of their community that hope exists out there and that they can strive for more, hoping to reach the level of success their leaders have. 

So are CEOs doing their part? The short answer is yes. About 92% of CEOs have stated that their companies have increased a focus on mental health due to the pandemic. However, only 70% of employees say that they are doing a good job at prioritizing mental health. Though that is a good amount of employees, there is still a concern for the 30% that feels unsupported. If leaders want their team to succeed when the odds are against them, they need to ensure that all of their members feel well enough to dedicate time to their work.

While some companies continue to have their DEI observed and displayed for all to track their progress, most are still focused on smaller steps to progress. That being said, the most necessary move towards change needs to be an increase in positions for minority leaders to take up. If industries are concerned with telling the people of color’s stories, they need to have actual people of color executing these narratives. If they want to promote products that are for minorities, they need to have minorities marketing and advertising for them. 

These minority innovators and business owners have been overshadowed by larger companies for far too long. In the movement towards diversity and inclusion that often includes partnerships with independent companies, these larger businesses should be aware of the unjust past in order to make way for a better future. Commitments to change can include information for the general public but, at its core, it needs to be rooted in a willingness to support those that deserve more exposure and higher-level opportunities.