Iris Nevins creates black NFT brand to ‘rebalance power’ in the marketplace

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CNBC reported 29-year-old Iris Nevins and her team have launched a new one NFT mark (non-fungible token or digital item that can be sold and resoldline). The brand is focused on black art and uplifting black creative in NFT space. Nevins told CNBC that she found NFTs to be a more effective way of promoting artists rather than selling their images online.

Nevin’s study, Always create, aims to manage artists and create a marketplace community, according to CNBC. A few sub-brands have also been released under Umba Daima, including Sort NFT Art, that NFT Roundtable Podcast as well as The unseen gallery.

From CNBC:

“We’ve noticed that the artists who were very successful had these really strong communities around them that promoted or reposted on social media or participated in their drops,” Nevins says. The studio launched Black NFT Art “in an effort to create that kind of experience for black artists.”

An example of Umba Daima’s success is artist Andre Oshea, who led the company for about four and a half months. His NFT sales were low when he first started working with Umba Daima, but now “Andre Oshea is one of the best black artists in the space,” Nevins says.

CNBC reported that the brand had a turnover of 140,000 in 2021, including sub-brands. However, she and her team volunteer for their efforts to maintain this platform. “We are a good way from being profitable, but I hope it can happen soon,” she told CNBC.

Another mission for Umba Damia is to diversify NFT space. Nevins told CNBC that not only is it hard to find black artists, but also those who have a significant number of sales. Additionally, as this digital space is exclusive to artists who have applied or been invited in, many black artists tend to be left out.

“It’s problematic, because if you’re not actively building relationships with black people in space, how are you going to get black artists on the platform?” Nevins told CNBC. Nevins also said that marketplaces can benefit from collaborating with grassroots organizers like herself.

More from CNBC:

Looking ahead, Nevins is excited to see the growth of Black-owned NFT platforms, including The Well and Disrupt Art, this year. She is also excited to see more film, music and dance NFTs on the market.

In fact, Umba Daima’s first one-of-a-kind NFT drop is scheduled for February and will include work by popular artists such as Shaylin Wallace and Dominique Weiss, among others.

“We want to be able to help all the artists we work with get their flowers and grow through that process,” she says. “I think most people’s affiliation with NFTs is CryptoPunks. In fact, they have not sat down and looked at what ordinary artists create.”

We are not aware of how many spaces have been created with the intentions of keeping colored and black people out. In those cases, we need more people like Nevins who choose to balance the playing field with create their own. Now, Black artists have a space that elevates their work and gives them the mentorship they deserve to grow in their craft.


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