How Social Tokens Capture the Value of African Culture

Multidisciplinary artist Dada Boipelo shares how social tokens can capture the true value of Africa's historical and cultural assets.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on google
Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 3 episode 20 welcomes Dada Boipelo, a multidisciplinary artist, creative director, and NFT artist based in Nairobi who’s fully immersed in growing her artistic expression and community-building skills within the Web3 space. She also leads the community at AfrofutureDAO ($AFTR), a Socialstack community that aims to grow a vault containing hundreds of hours of raw video footage and thousands of photographs of African history. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 2:53 – Physical vs Digital Creative Energy
  • 6:08 – AfrofutureDAO
  • 13:41 – Future of AfrofutureDAO
  • 19:19 – Digital Divide in African Art
  • 28:26 – Why Capture these Moments Digitally?
  • 32:05 – Outro

…and so much more.


Thank you to Season 3’s NFT sponsors!

1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/

2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/

3. Socialstack – https://socialstack.co/

Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!


Intro

Dada welcome to mint. How are you doing thank you for being on.

Thank you so much, Adam. Like, I feel amazing and I’m very thrilled. It’s been a long time coming, the mint X Afro future dial collaboration. So I’m happy to be here. I’m doing great. And I hope everyone is. Happy New week,

Happy, happy, new week GM to all and everyone that is listening. You’re right. It is the long awaited Afro future do X mint collab. I scope a lot of communities across crypto-Twitter across all these platforms and Afro future Dao stood out to me specifically because I thought I had a unique mission. I don’t want to sell it for myself. I want you to talk about it, but before we even get into that, can you quickly give me a quick brief about you? Who are you dada? What should we know about you? But more specifically, what were you like before crypto.

Who is Dada?

Dada Biopelo is just one of my very many alias is as an artist. I like creating alias’, which is something that also drew me into the NFT space randomly because, you know, PFPs and stuff like that. I was really drawn to them. So I just recently started investing in crypto like last year and, joined NFTs early this year, around, February, end of February, March. And, it’s been an interesting journey. It’s been life changing for me cuz  before crypto and before NFTs in particular, I didn’t sell my art. It’s not that I didn’t sell it. It’s more like, I didn’t have an audience I could sell to, so I never sold my art. I was basically, a starving artist and boom NFTs are here. And I don’t know, it’s like interesting to be the face of NFTs in like my country and to be able to make a living as an artist. So I’ve juggled so many creative careers because you know, I’m trying to make ends meet solely as an artist and not do art and other things. So I’ve been like a photographer, creative directory. I’ve done a little bit of modeling and also like I’ve been practicing traditional art for like probably 10 years eight and drawing, painting, water colors, oil pastels and even wooden sculptures. So I’ve been really tapped into my creative energy for quite a long time and I’m just happy to be able to express it through NFTs and be able to actually make a living out of it. Cuz currently I’m working online, with Afro Future Dao as you know, and also full-time as an NFT artist. So it’s literally a whole new world. It’s like a dream come true for me.

How is the creative energy different between creating things that are physical versus digital?

Physical vs Digital Creative Energy

For me specifically, I have, I’m quite sentimental with my art and I’m not saying that just because it’s physical and digital, but I’m like a lot of people a lot of collectors in the physical art realm have not gotten like a liking to my art or I haven’t really tapped into people who can appreciate my art to the capacity, that I wanted to be like I would be selling an a one canvas at probably $50 or even $45. And I have to do like an extra detail painting and I’m like, the difference is so massive because when we come to NFTs I’m mostly working on digital computer, which is like my work on pad. And it takes averagely maybe an hour to three hours for me to create this piece. And like a collector’s gonna come and just drop $4,000 on it. And I don’t even know if they know how life changing that is for me, but that’s wild. It’s been a crazy relationship between me moving from physical art to like digital art and also finding like an in between for physical art and digital art in NFTs. Like I’m just settling in.

Yeah. I wanted to ask you like, because you’re just settling in like what have been some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve experienced as initially a physical artist now migrating into the digital world? Like what are some of like those big things that you thought or one thing that actually ended up being another thing?

Okay. the first thing that I really thought NFTs would be is like a get rich quick scheme. So a lot of the videos on YouTube that I was watching, a lot of the content I was reading is like, oh my God, look at this 18 year old, who’s making $300,000 from NFTs. This, I dunno, 24 year old, just made $1 million from NFTs. NFTs will make you rich. This is how to get into NFTs. And I’m like, I think it takes a lot more work than physical art and a lot of the problems that I see within the physical art world or within like physical art environments is like, they all kind of like transcend into the digital world. So like I end up getting burnouts as an artist. Like it’s very easy because you have to share, you have to join clubhouses, you have to really sell yourself and make value for yourself and your community in order to like really succeed within this industry. So that’s one thing I wasn’t particularly ready for putting myself out there and pushing myself out of my comfort zones. But now it’s something that I’m comfortable with. It’s something that I do on the regular and it’s something it’s like a culture I’m trying to cultivate within my life where I can push myself myself beyond boundaries of money and yeah, even the beyond boundaries of what I think I can create.

Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. And how did that kinda like transition to you being a part of Afro Future Dao?

AfrofutureDAO

It’s so interesting because Afro Future Dao came at a time of my life that I really, really wanted to completely immerse myself into crypto. So I got into Afro Future Dao they collected before I got into Afro Future Do actually they collected one of my pieces and I was like, that’s how I found out about Afro Future Dao. And I was like, this is like a really cool Dao. I was reading their statement and their website and just looking at some of the historical pieces that they have on foundation. And I was blown away because for me it’s intimate because that’s my history, you know, like it’s my history and it’s a point of like time that I didn’t know about. So I was like Afro Future Dao is really cool. Fast forward into like around August, I think it’s OctoberAfro Future Dao works in this way that each quarter, there’s like five images that drop from the Mohammed Amin collections. And that’s just one of the stuff that’s in the archive. And we also have like five artists who drop amazing pieces, which are not themed. It’s actually quite open. And you get to to explain what you think Afro Future means to you as an artist and visually translate it into like a composition in an NFT. So I happened to get chosen to be one of those artists and I feel very lucky. I feel pretty lucky to have gotten the opportunity to express what a future means to me. And it’s been an intimate journey since then. And after I was chosen to like become one of the commissioning artists I ended up attending one of the governance calls and they were expanding their team. And, you know, I signed up because I wanted to take part in building the black community in specific the black NFT communities. And it’s so important because the percentage of Western artists, the African artists in the NFT space is actually crazy. And I’m trying to make that easier. So that’s how I got into after future doubt. And that’s how this magical moment happened for me.

Let me ask you this. Why do you think web three may be the perfect medium to unlock the value of Africa’s history?

I feel like a lot of the issues that come up within African history is either the stories being hidden or the stories not having access to like expression or just a lack of access and ways to express ourselves. And I feel like web three will help in a way that not only will it validate and authenticate like where the stories came from and make it easier for us to understand, like who in particular came up with this story or who in particular, does this story involve in a certain particular time? I think it builds value in the community whereby anyone can access these stories. And it’s transparent to the point that everyone can also share these stories. And I feel like that can really build the community because a lot of black voices and black stories are like lost and I’d like to say diluted or yeah, diluted in particular. So I feel like web three really gives the artist and the storyteller and the creator, the opportunity to tell the story as they want to, or as it is, or as they want to express it. And that is really powerful to me. That’s an opportunity, a lot of artists don’t get to do. I feel like artists are really, we are really dictated on how we should create how we should live, how we should earn like a living and what we should say, what we should express. So yeah, those, are my thoughts on web three and the artist African community and historical assets.

Yeah. People reference web three as this like new cultural Renaissance driven through technology. And the last year we’ve seen like the rise of NFTs. We’ve seen a lot of new creators enter the space. What typically was like a lot of like non-sexy talk like cryptography and infrastructure type of discussions have now evolved into colors, art, music, culture, all these really, really sexy things that kind of attract an audience and build a lot of excitement around a new, I guess, a new medium. And one thing that I think is super interesting about Afro Future Dao is it’s really capitalizing on this, the sexy side of crypto by taking really cultural pieces and eloquent pieces that are like timestamps in history, right. Photography, essentially putting them on chain and making them even more permanent. Right. And I guess, like as I guess as what’s the word I’m like blanking out over here, as legit as that sounds as aha and like, obvious as that sounds, it’s one of those things where are capturing African culture and doesn’t have to be African culture specifically, any type of culture in the form of photography, I think is very, very valuable. And then let alone putting it on chain, then let alone starting an entire community around it with a social token to kind of create and sustain awareness is super brilliant.

It is, it is. Exactly why my mind was blown during that governance call. So I was like, if I hadn’t attended that governance call that day, I would probably not know a lot of the things that I know now. And one thing about the NFT industry or the community, or the space is that even if you don’t know, you end up learning a lot as you progress. And as you grow into the community, which is one thing I really, really love about this space, it’s a very supportive and it’s a very open transparent space. So that’s just, it’s amazing to me that this can exist and it’s a good time for it to exist as well.

Yeah. What does the future look like for Afro Future Dao, like what do you see it becoming in say 2, 3, 4 years.

Future of Afro Future Dao

I feel like Afro Future Dao is already a digital museum. I’d like to call it a digital museum. I would want to see a physical Afro Future Dao not just like a metaverse Afro Future Dao, somewhere you can walk in and actually find the NFTs that people have bought and that have been stored and that have been curated. And that’s what, I don’t know. I just like the idea of NFTs extending also into the physical realm, and being able to access it beyond digital ways and beyond digital devices. And I feel like Afro Future Dao is headed into kind of like a very cool historical museum that’s packed with information and historical assets and culture. I can’t wait to also see the number of artists that we’ll be able to support and amplify through our commissionings. Like, I can’t wait to see how many we’ll have, because the pieces are dropping about five each quarter and in a few years, that will be quite a lot of art pieces. So I can’t wait to see where that goes.

Yeah. I’d like to take a step back and kind of like put Afro Future Dao to the side, I’d love to talk about more about the creator landscape in Africa, you being a creator yourself. What are some trends or insights that may not seem so obvious to outsiders about what’s happening, what’s cooking with creators in Africa.

When I think about that question in like an NFT aspect what are kind of the tips that I would give an artist who is not sure about joining the NFT space or who has questions about the NFT space? It’s sad, but it’s beautiful at the same time, the amount of culture, the amount of talent and the amount of like craftsmanship and hardworking artists we have in Africa. But I still feel like it’s an untapped industry. Like the creative industry is tapped, but underfunded. Yeah. I like to say underfunded, especially like in my country, Kenya it’s undermined as well. People don’t think artists could make a living or artists actually deserve to make a living for making art, yet it’s one of the things that fuel grows within the country. It’s one of the things that you’ll see everyone post on billboards. So I just like to see a community where artists can actually be artists and make a living out of it. And I would like to actually tell many of the African artists who are out there and are trying to get into the NFT community is, to try something new and to kind of like see NFTs as a catalyst for something that could grow and that could transform their lives. And that could transform the creative economy in general, around every single country in Africa. And that’s kind of like my main tip is also like, just step out of your comfort zone. And it’s also sometimes not just stepping, not out of comfort zone, but also doing something that you like to do that you’d like to express. And I would also just like to tell the artists that be yourself, especially when you’re trying to sell your art make sure that your values are being represented in your art. It’s not all that time that you have to create a story for your art, it’s not all the time that you have to save face or make face for, you know, selling your work, just be yourself. And at the end of the day, I feel like if you just build value around your art as an artist, which means take time to understand your niche, take time, to understand your collectors, take time, to understand what you want to represent. I feel like at the end of the day, you’ll succeed as an artist. And that’s basically like how I live my life.

Yeah. I think you need to live your life very fundamental, whether without NFTs, right. For that to kind of show off and kind of shine through your, like your cryptographic work per se, you know, that needs to be who you are and the values you stand with, I guess from your point of view is what you’re saying kind of thing. Right. That’s how I’m kind of understanding

Exactly, exactly, exactly what I’m saying. Cuz like, I feel like I’ve experienced put or outs as an NFT artist and as a traditional artist and it’s just from all the things you have to do to sell your art, you know, it’s not easy selling your art, you don’t, you don’t just like mint your NFT, enlist it and someone comes and collect it. Sometimes it takes months. Sometimes it takes years. Some people actually don’t sell their art at all. So I guess it’s just a game also of patience. Like how patient can you be and not being too greedy for money. Yeah, yeah. In that line of thinking.

Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. What do you, what do you think I guess is stifling more adoption for African creators to kind of jump on board into this web three movement, tokenizing their work, their art, their craft, what do you think is missing to kind of like drive further adoption?

The Digital Divide in African Art

I’d like to say that a lot of companies based within Africa are not particularly keen on joining the crypto industry. There’s also very strict government regulations within Africa in crypto, very many countries don’t allow these kinds of things or they think like it’s a scam or they just align it with very negative thinking. So I think that that stops a whole lot of mass adoption because when I relate African countries to like the US and I’m seeing there’s Vogue, there’s Times, there’s Forbes. So many people, so many brands, there’s Pepsi. So many people trying to get into like NFTs big, big brands. But when we come to like Africa, I’m really not seeing like the same kind of movement within these core brands that could end up creating formal or like creating mass adoption in a way that they attract more people to like, look at this. This is like NFG and this is going to be big in like the next few years. So I don’t know how long that will take to like get to us because I feel like that would really change the environment to the point where even like the smaller African artists, like us who would practically not be known by many people out there would be able to collaborate with these big, big, big, big African brands. And I feel like just by that it would create a whole lot of amplification and mass adoption. So I’m really looking forward to the point where African artists like huge African artists, I’m talking about Burna boy, I’m talking about Whiz kid and these guys are trying to collaborate with the smaller, I don’t like saying small artists because it sounds so demeaning, but I mean, artists who are not amplified or who are not yet in the scene or who are not yet known in the scene, I feel like that would really be the catalyst to mass adoption within Africa when they really see what’s possible and they have like a valid, organization backing it because Africans are tough, man. I’ll tell you that for sure. Us as Kenyans, we’re so tough to like, come to the conclusion that something is real. They need to see tangible effort, which includes money, which includes, I don’t know, like the person living a lavish life. So I don’t know how far or how long till we get to that point as Africans, but I’m looking forward to it.

Yeah. Can you talk more about like the process of joining Afro Future Dao like, I guess the next step is, how did this kind of come into fold and what kind of like content and footage and artifacts kind of get collected? Like every community has like its sheet of fundamentals, you know, that they look for kind of thing. Like this kind of reminds me of like the whale community, that whale shark kind of co-brought to life and bunch of NFTs that he’s collected over the years. I think it’s like over 200,000 or something probably more at this point. Yeah. It feels like a similar vibe. Like how did that come about? And what kind of content do you guys collect?

Afro Future basically collects Afro-futuristic art and that all narrows down to what Afro-futurism means to you. Particularly for me, Afro-futurism means black people getting to express themselves the way they want to when they want to and how they want to. So when you think of that, it really opens up the, you know, the boundaries as to far, we can go and how different our collection looks like. Like the process of joining Afro Future Dao, we have a collectible collection on the near blockchain and it’s called the Afro future mafia. And it costs just about 25 [inaudible], which should be around a $120. I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure. Like very sure, but yeah, that’s how I ended up joining Afro Future Dao. There’s also very many ways to like earn Afro Future token. So the process of on-boarding onto AF future Dao is pretty easy and there’s so many ways that you can earn the Afro future tokens. And there will be many more ways that we are about to bring up into the, the community that will enable people to have kind of like a rewarding token system. So if you tweet like one of our posts, if you retweet them, you’ll be able to earn tokens. If you comment, you’ll be able to on tokens, if you join and participate in our discord chats and calls and our Twitter spaces  such kinds of things will be taking place actually quite soon, quite soon. So people will be able to earn Afro Future tokens just by doing simple, simple tasks. And this is just how easy like Afro future has made it for the common artist, the common person who does not have like a hundred thousand dollars to get. So there’s in many ways you can onboard into the Afro future community and it doesn’t just end at, collecting one of the Afro future mafia, which is our generative collectible on the near blockchain. That’s just one of the ways that you can join, but we’re about to introduce a rewarding token system, that will allow our users and our participants to earn Afro future tokens just by doing very simple tasks, like liking our tweets, retweeting our tweets, like engaging and live tweeting during our Twitter spaces and Afro Future radio calls, which are so dope. And I think that it’s something easy even for the common artist and the common collector and the common person who is about to join like NFTs to do so there’s nothing really hard and there’s nothing really high valued, or like pricey that you need to like give, to join the community. It’s also about, you know, support the people within the Afro future community. You don’t have to be like part of Afro Future Dao to support Afro Future Dao. So, buy an AF future mafia, retweet our tweets, join our discord community because that’s where a lot of updates go through and you’ll be able to be on-boarded and guided if that’s what you need by one of our team members like our core members and it’s quite easy. And it’s, I feel like you have like a lot to reap as an artist and as a collector in terms of information.

That makes sense. I guess I wanna ask you a couple more questions. So what would be, I guess the end goal of capturing all these moments, like, okay, you have a vault, a digital vault of all these high quality epic moments in African history. Okay. What, what’s next? Like what do you do with that? Do you, I know you talked about in like earlier about being a digital museum, you know, being able to scout that, but how can it extend beyond a museum you think?

Why Capture these Moments Digitally?

I think also a lot of these historical assets to me, they look like art or they are art, and a lot of them are not tokenized. They’re not capitalized, they’re just hidden or they’re not sold. And I feel like it’s quite an undervalue to not sell these pieces. So I feel like even just by putting some of these photographs up as NFTs and being able to sell them and generate money for the community it’s a way to, you know, crowdfund and it’s a way to build the community just by selling art and putting value on art that would’ve not have any value at all. And would’ve been hidden and would’ve not been seen at all. And I feel like even just by showcasing these images and these cultural and historical asset it’s really inspiring to the community. And it’s a huge step to very many things that we would be able to do in the future. It’s not just about, you know, putting up the art and seeing the photo it’s about being able to actually sell the art it’s about being able to support the community by selling that piece of art by by sharing that cultural asset. I feel like it inspires a lot of African artists to move into the space as well. When they see something that’s theirs and they see that it has value and they see that been valued in the industry. I feel like it really inspires us to work into expressing ourselves and to work also into valuing our culture and our art

Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Makes a lot of sense. So if I was a creator who wanted to make it into the vault, okay, how would I go by doing that? What does the process look like?

So if you do want to access the vault, you need to have a set amount of Afro future tokens or you need to have an Afro future mafia. And the Afro future mafia is probably the easiest way that you can access the vault by having the Afro future mafia NFT, you will be able to get whitelisted and it’s simple. It’s as simple as that, you get a link to the photos and it’s thousands and thousands of historical assets and historical and cultural photos dating from, I think the 1950s all the way till the 1990s. And it’s insane. It’s insane because a whole, a whole lot of these moments are we would like to think that they were undocumented, but they’re documented and they’re just not out there. People just don’t know it. And it’s actually a very, what can I say? It gives me go bumps when I open the vault, like when I can see the pictures in the vault and to know that I can do that from anywhere in the world and any one of us can do that from anywhere in the world. It’s just crazy to me. But yeah, it’s as easy as buying one of our Afro future mafia on the near blockchain. And you can access that through our Twitter. Our Twitter has all the links that you need to know. And also our website is very up to date and has every single information that you need to know.

I love to hear it super exciting stuff, Dada, before I let you go, where can we find Afro Future Dao? Where can we find your work? Give us the entire spiel.

Outro

Currently Afro Future Dao is mostly based on Twitter and Discord. And we are called @Afrofuture AI on Twitter and on discord, we are called Afrofuture Dao, but you can find all our links on our Twitter and even our website is Afrofuture.ai and has every single information that you would need as an artist to join AF future Dao or to even join, you know, the NFT industry. There’s a whole lot of information on the vault and how to access the vault and club Afro future is which is our spot where we showcase art and yeah, all that juice and goodness is on our Twitter, which is Afrofutureai. And for me, I am at [inaudible] or HVR memoirs, memoirs like memories. And you can find my arts on foundation on Zora open C. I’m a pretty experimental girl. So I have very many different pieces touching on very many different themes. And I hope I can expand that collection soon and also like my collection, because I want to be able to collect other people’s arts soon, but yeah, be sure to check in with us and be sure to to give us some retweets and likes and comments. It goes a whole long way in amplifying us and the community in general.

Amazing. Thank you so much. I hope to have you guys again soon. Thank you.

Thank you too. It’s been a wonderful and very easy session. I’m happy to be here

Subscribe To Newsletter

Submit your email below to stayed tuned on all things web3.

More To Explore