R&B singer Ashanti recently announced a new partnership with the woman-owned Web3 company EQ Exchange. The move reportedly makes her the first Black female artist to be a partner and co-owner in a Web3 company.
The Los Angeles-based company has developed an NFT-based marketplace platform so creators can access capital. Its platform allows creators to share and monetize their content, and will enable fans to buy and sell NFTs of their favorite artists’ creations. According to its website, it also helps artists and creators to own their equity and build wealth-generating careers. “We believe artists should own their own IP and interact directly with their audience without hidden fees and unnecessary middlemen.”
The company was founded by female tech entrepreneur Janice Taylor, who is white. But with the company’s partnership with Chapter II, Ashanti, 41, becomes “the first Black female artist to be a co-founder of a Web3 company,” reported Complex. According to its website, EQ Exchange offers artists equity in the company and process. The platform officially launched on March 25.
Ashanti’s partnership is reported to include the release of special “creative experiences” and NFTs, all of which will be exclusive to the platform, Complex reported.
Ashanti was just a teenager when she was first discovered for her singing talent. She signed as an artist to Murder Inc. Records in 2002. That year, she was featured on Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” and Ja Rule’s “Always on Time,” both of which became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002. The Grammy Award-winning artist has released six studio albums and 24 singles.
“It’s so important to me to get the message out that artists should own their intellectual property,” Ashanti said of her work with Taylor and the EQ Exchange team. “By empowering myself through new technology, I’m trying to help other women avoid going through the things that I’ve been through. The future belongs to those who take control and make it their own.”
Of the Ashanti partnership, Taylor said, “Ashanti is paving the way for the next generation of artists in the new creator economy. EQ Exchange could not have asked for a better partner as we work together to change the game for all artists, particularly women and people of color.”
In a video statement posted in January, Taylor detailed some of her goals for the tech company.
“If you’re a woman, if you’re a person of color, if you come from a diverse group anywhere in the world and the financial system has not benefited you, you need to come here, and we can all learn together,” Taylor said.