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This edition of NFT’s Driving Change spotlights Not Your Bro, a metaverse movement celebrating and empowering women and the LGBTQIA+ community, and their new NFT release on IMVU.
Usually, I’ll tell you that Sunday mornings are for lazy breakfasts and good reading in bed. But staying inside would be such a shame with spring in full bloom. I’m writing this myself from my garden among plants I still can’t name and a Robin that flies around now and then. If you’ve read this column before, you know this is your go-to trick for taking your reading outside and hitting some grass. While I can’t promise you a good read, I guarantee something thought-provoking, something inspiring, or maybe even a glimmer of hope.
welcome to NFTs drive change—a monthly column where I highlight projects and creators using NFTs and other Web3 tools to create real-world impact. In this edition, I’m going to introduce you to Not Your Bro, a metaverse movement celebrating and empowering women and the LGBTQIA+ community, and their new NFT release on IMVU.
Not Your Bro is a 10K NFT collection from artist and designer Natalie and social worker turned tech sorceress Georgia. As the name suggests, the project takes on the male-dominated NFT space to represent women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Furthermore project led by all women focuses on using NFTs for good by donating a portion of the proceeds to charity.
When the fundraiser dropped last March, the project donated 10% of its proceeds to several charities. In all, they donated over $200,000 USD to OutRight Action International, Malala Fund, Save the Children and Girls Who Code. Their initiative to support and raise awareness of non-profit organizations earned them the award for Most Impactful Charity NFT Project at the 2022 NFT NYC Awards. They also boast a partnership with Boohoo, a leading global e-commerce retailer.
This week they dropped an NFT Collection in IMVU – the leading social web3 metaverse, with a limited edition set of LGBTQIA+ friendly NFT items. They will also donate a portion of the sale to Outright International.
I spoke with Natalie, co-founder and artist, Not Your Bro and Maura Welch, VP of Marketing, Together Labs, the parent company of IMVUto learn more about their collaboration.
(The quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity)
Natalie: As an NFT project founded by proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we were excited to see IMVU, the world’s largest 3D avatar platform, reach out to bring our brand and message to their users. As part of our collaboration, we’re releasing a capsule collection of Not Your Bro-inspired wearables. They are designed by our team and can be purchased within the IMVU ecosystem.
IMVU is a platform where users can feel free to be themselves, often being their true selves in a community of like-minded people. The campaign with IMVU is in line with Not Your Bro’s values of empowerment and being your authentic self. We believe the partnership will help IMVU users celebrate their identity and help promote inclusivity.
Maura: Since 2004, IMVU has fostered an inclusive culture that embraces individuals from different backgrounds, identities and abilities. As a collective creator-led community, IMVU has the potential to break down physical barriers and provide an opportunity for millions of people worldwide to create, interact, collaborate and share experiences in ways previously unimaginable.
With 67% of IMVU users and a majority of our creators identifying as women, we take a proactive stance in working with inclusive communities on the web3 space. We value and support initiatives like Not Your Bro because they truly give back to their community. And, like us, they are passionate about Web3 and NFT as a force to expand participation. Together, we aim to dismantle barriers and champion a metaverse where everyone feels respected, empowered and valued.
Natalie: Founded as an NFT Project Forever, Not Your Bro has a long history of supporting non-profit organizations. For a project founded by members of the LGBTQIA+ community, supporting the efforts of Outright International is something that is personally important to us. The work they do to help and support members of the LGBTQIA+ community around the world is vital. From helping individuals in need in countries where law enforcement agencies aggressively pursue and prosecute members of the LGBTQIA+ community, to recently helping LGBTQIA+ in Ukraine, Outright International is the largest non-profit organization supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Natalie: The NFT industry has become more diverse and fair than when NFTs first became popular, but we still have a long way to go. It’s great to see that women, non-binary people and members of the LGBTQIA+ community have found their place in NFTs. But unfortunately we are still very much in the minority.
In terms of steps that can be taken to ensure diversity and inclusion in this space, I have been pleased to see the promotion of minority artists and founders of leading NFT marketplaces. Highlighting and sharing the work of these people is a big step in the right direction. Providing a platform for recognition and awareness is something that will help to provide diversity and inclusion. The more minority representing artists and founders can be seen by the masses, the more others will be inspired.
Maura: We agree with Natalie, the NFT art scene has made progress towards creating a fair, diverse and inclusive space for artists, but there are constant challenges. To ensure diversity and inclusion, the industry should focus on accessible platforms, affordable prices and educational/mentoring programs for underrepresented artists.
Natalie: Using NFTs for good was a relatively new concept when we launched in January 2022. For Not Your Bro, we define doing “good” in a number of ways. We proudly donate 10% of all royalties we receive through the sale of our NFTs to non-profit organizations every month. To date, we are proud to have donated 100 ETH to incredible non-profit organizations globally.
Another way we wanted to prove that NFTs can be for good is through the ethos and values by which we define ourselves. When I entered the gathering space in 2021, I struggled to find a community that I resonated with or that contained like-minded individuals. We built Not Your Bro with inclusion at its core. We welcome everyone into our community, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or age.
In addition, the open representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in our founding team has given many members a sense of belonging and camaraderie. In a world where LGBTQIA+ members have historically not been given a platform to represent or have a voice, we have been able to openly support our community members and allies.
Natalie: Not Your Bro is on a mission. Besides proving that NFTs can be too good, we describe what we create as a movement. We are incredibly committed to promoting equality and inclusion within NFTs and the metaverse. It’s been an amazing journey so far and we’re looking forward to seeing all the concepts we’ve been working on for a while now come to fruition.
Natalie: First, believe in yourself; be your biggest fan and champion. Launching an NFT project or expanding your art into NFTs can be daunting. But if you really believe in yourself, you’re halfway there. This place is a rollercoaster at times. Without being your own biggest fan and being confident in your concept, the roller coaster lows can be tough. Be innovative and also focus on building your connections. Sometimes it can be hard to break through that “barrier of awareness” where you know your idea is amazing, but you just need others to hear about it. Leveraging connections and relationships with others in the room can help here.
Most importantly, when entering the NFT space as an artist, be vigilant. There are many users in this area who will offer paid marketing on Twitter. They may say they have 100,000 followers, but chances are the majority of them are botted accounts. Work with developers you know personally or use platforms to create NFTs and NFT collections.
Maura: To aspiring female and LGBTQIA+ artists entering the NFT space, remember you are not alone. The community stands with you, ready to support and lift your creative journey. Embrace your unique perspectives and identities, for they are powerful assets in shaping the future of NFT art. Connect with inclusive communities, seek mentorship, and don’t be afraid to share your voice. Your art has the ability to inspire, provoke change and influence. Believe in your talent and be persistent. And know that your contributions are invaluable in creating a more diverse and inclusive NFT art world.
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