Black art matters. And longtime ESSENCE Festival of Color partner, AT&T, knows this. With ESSENCE’s new Tech Summit, AT&T was able to connect with the ESSENCE Fest audience through art, NFTs, and collaboration with Black artists. One way AT&T supports Black artists is with their Dream in Black initiative, which highlights those making waves in their respective industries. One of the creatives that works closely with AT&T Dream In Black is Jade Meyers, an artist out of New Orleans aka the home of ESSENCE Fest. Jade has created countless activations throughout her hometown and most recently with AT&T as their resident artist during the ESSENCE Fest Tech Summit. ESSENCE got a chance to speak with Jade and get her thoughts on the intersection between NFTs and art, as well as how she believes Black artists can ensure they don’t get left behind in this new wave of technology.
Before we jump in, let’s give you a quick explanation of what an NFT is. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, but maybe you never really grasped what it is and why it’s important for Black artists to utilize them. An NFT, or ‘non-fungible token’, is defined as a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art and music. They can only be bought and sold online, typically with cryptocurrency and feature specific coding to ensure that the person who bought the NFT can be confident it is the original. If you’re still confused, a quick Google search would be your best friend. Now let’s get into the interview with Jade Meyers.
ESSENCE: What influences your art?
Jade Meyers: Life and everyday people, nature, my childhood of growing up in New Orleans, and African Heritage influence my artwork.
ESSENCE: How has growing up in New Orleans impacted the type of art you create?
JM: Growing up in New Orleans has a great impact on the artwork I create. My foundation and knowledge of art started there as a little kid. My lively and diverse environment inspired my imagination on an unexplainable level. From early morning walks to the corner store, Tap Dance lessons in Treme, Track & Field meets all summer and everything else in between. Those roots prepared me for a life long journey of artistic expression.
ESSENCE: What has it been like working so closely with AT&T as a Dream in Black artist?
JM: Working with AT&T as a Dream in Black Artist has been an incredible learning experience. The level of detail and effectiveness from their team and counterparts set a standard of excellence.
ESSENCE: How did you first learn about NFTs?
JM: I first learned about NFTs on the internet and through friends.
ESSENCE: What made you decide to join other artists in this new wave of
JM: I decided to join this new wave of technology because it is a challenge that forced me to go beyond my comfort zone and it’s also lucrative.
ESSENCE: How can other Black artists participate in the NFT community? And why is that important?
JM: It’s important for other Black Artists to participate in the NFT community because as artists we are apart of the foundation of how things are seen. If we continue to learn and connect on this new level of art technology, our creations will pave the way for the next generation artistically and financially.
ESSENCE: What was your inspiration behind the 2022 AT&T Dream in Black NFT?
JM: My inspiration behind the 2022 AT&T Dream in Black NFT was the freedom to create and dream, peace -despite trials, and gratitude for life.
ESSENCE: What advice can you give other young, Black creatives who are
looking to make a career out of being an artist?
JM: The advice I can give to Artists who are looking to make a career out of art is to believe in its limitless possibilities. There are so many career paths in art that you have to discover through research, networking, and travel. The only artists who starve are artists who don’t work purposefully and effectively.
Jade Meyers showcased her amazing artwork during the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Color, bringing a custom NFT and mural background to the Tech Summit space presented by AT&T Dream In Black. This is just one way AT&T Dream In Black looks to celebrate the culture and the creators who shape it. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a Dream in Black Future Maker? Learn more here.