Why an Atlanta-based Black Influencer Collective Swapped Its Collab House for a Studio – Meczyki.Net

From Los Angeles to Silicon Valley, a trend emerged among social media influencers and startup founders alike: move into a mansion with ten or so colleagues, work together day and night to build fame and wealth, and hope. Make sure your new roommates will do their dishes. But across the country in Atlanta, a booming tech hub, a group of Black creators redefined that idea. What if an influential collective could actually be allies instead of fodder for a disappointing Netflix reality show?

a well known influential groupThe Kolab Crew (formerly known as the Kolab Cradle) has had a turbulent few months since meeting Meczyki.Net at VidCon. Founder Keith Dorsey stepped down to focus on his mental health while appointing Robert Dean III (@robiiiworld) to lead. Why do names change? Unfortunately, they’re no longer a “crib”—their Atlanta area home was sold, so they couldn’t renew their lease.

Now, Collab Crew is trying to make the most of the situation. Instead of living together in Fayetteville, Khamyra Sykes outside Atlanta (@queenkhamyra), Chad Apps (@chadio), Kellyanne Castle (@kaelyncastle), Tracy Billingsley (@traybills) and other partners are launching Collab Studio ATL, Minutes from downtown Atlanta, Collab Studio ATL describes itself as “a tech-based one-stop shop for content creators, HBCU students, and young entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals.”

At just sixteen years old, Sykes has already been honored Forbes 30 Under 30 List with Fellow Collab Crew Members theo viseho and Castle. But since she is very young, she did not live in the house of the collective. Now, she’s excited to work out of the studio, which is more dedicated to business than a home that doubles as living space.

“my company Putta Crown on Ita “There’s an opportunity to have a place to do classes, promotional shoots and more,” Sykes told Meczyki.Net via email. “I think the studio has the potential to be a great place for creators like me to thrive. Productivity in the studio is much better than it is at home for business and content.”

Moving away from the “influencer house” model, Collab Crew could also expand to include more BIPOC creators and entrepreneurs in the Georgia capital.

Currently, the studio is funded by a partnership with Monster Energy and Snap’s 523 Program, which supports smaller content companies and creators from underrepresented groups. There is an application process and fee for members to join Collab Studio ATL, but the group expects these costs to be subsidized by partners in the future – they say, depending on the application process and what services needs More about assessing. They are needed from space. Membership pricing depends on what resources the applicant is looking for, whether it’s marketing, help connecting with potential brand partners, or the use of studio space.

At launch, members estimate that one-day access to the workspace will cost $25, while studio access will cost between $150 and $250 per hour. Monthly subscriptions will range from $85 to $250, depending on how often a member wishes to book the studio.

Collab Studio ATL says the goal of its application process is not to turn people away, but to ensure that new members fit well within the community. They also plan to build a professional music studio and sound stage. At launch, core collab crew members have welcomed in partners such as filmmakers jiron griffincreative director eliza brown and evangelist Brandi Merryweather,

The group says they drew inspiration from similar community-oriented tech incubators in Atlanta Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, propel center And meeting placeBut Collab Studio will focus more specifically on the entertainment industry.

image credit: Robiiiworld (Brandy Meriweather via BStarPR)

The new studio could help energize a group of creators who have found success despite serious obstacles.

Black influencers and startup founders alike face systemic barriers to their growth. Just as black founders are unfairly overlooked in venture capital, so are black content creators work theft And earn less brand deals Compared to white creators, studies have shown.

one in document Regarding the collab crew, Kastle even said that she dyed half of her hair pink because she thought she was more likely to come across when the TikTok algorithm viewed her videos in brighter colors. . Since the TikTok algorithm is so obscure, it’s difficult to confirm this particular claim, but it’s understandable why Kastel worries about how it may be unfairly suppressed on the platform – as it has been before. .

For example, amid racial justice protests in the summer of 2020, posts on TikTok with hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd 0 views appeared, TikTok later apologized for calling it “it”.technical fault”, but Black creators continue to express concern that they are being suppressed on the platform. a year later, Ziggy Tyler showed up How TikTok’s creator Bazaar won’t let him call “Black lives matter” in a TikTok video, but it will let him call it “supporting white supremacy”. once again tiktok Apologised. (The platform alleged that an error occurred because Tyler’s post included the word “audience” which contained the letters “dye” — in combination with the word “black”, this triggered TikTok’s automatic content moderation).

,We have to work five times as hard to reach the minimum level on any platform,” said 31-year-old filmmaker Dean. He and his younger colleagues have experienced the disappointment of finding out that their white peers were earning more than they were for the same amount of work.

“I worked with a friend of mine who happens to be white, and we were talking because we were both part of the same campaign. […] And they were clearly getting paid more than me,” said Epps, a 23-year-old who has more than 7 million TikTok followers. “It’s so sad to me that Black creators and the Black community are being underrepresented and underpaid. But again, it adds fuel to my fire so I can push harder.”

Queen Khamyra

image credit: Rani Khamaira (Brandy Meriweather via BStarPR)

a Recent reports in The Washington Post Supports the claim that Black creators were underpaid. It was found that Triller, a TikTok competitor, had specifically recruited Black creators as partners, yet failed to comply with its commitments to pay them, the creators said. Because Triller withheld payments, some creators said they lost their homes and fell into debt — yet Triller still plans to go public via an IPO in the fall, the report said. As part of their deals, some of the creators – including members of the collab crew – were to receive a financial stake in the company. But for now, it is unclear whether it will be successful.

When asked about their reaction to the Triller investigation, the collab crew emailed Meczyki.Net Statement, but declined to disclose whether its members were affected. Collab Crew said that they hope creators who haven’t received the money they were promised can get paid.

“Executed collaboration, ethical integrity, genuinely ethical business practices and consistent investment in BIPOC creators and businesses can ultimately level the divide,” their Statement Told.

The idea of ​​”constant investment” is key to why the Kolab crew wants to run their studio, providing their members with long-term support to grow. Companies like TikTok, Meta, YouTube and Snapchat have launched programs that provide funding and resources to select Black creators, and that sharp capital is useful — but Dean believes inequality runs deep across these platforms. Is.

“Some of these programs are good, but that’s like, what’s after? Some of these white creators got to be right to the algorithm,” he told Meczyki.Net. “It’s also difficult for black creators to start YouTube , more than the average White creator.”

Whether living in the same house or working together in their new studio, Collab Crew maintains a single strategy to give Black creators the opportunities they deserve: collaboration and mutual support.

“We all teach each other” […] We have strong platforms and we have weak platforms, but with all of us together, everyone will be great,” Sikes explained.

“Like other groups, where it’s all for itself, it’s really like a team effort,” Dean said.