As Grant for the Web enters 2021 we are building on our commitment to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to our program by making sure that we spark innovation, ideas and opportunities with people and communities too often used and then left behind. A key strategy in doing this is that we need to expand the voices and people feeding into our program and work with them to expand our knowledge, reach and connectivity to a globally diverse community.
So it is with great excitement that we introduce our newest GftW Ambassador, Kokayi Issa. Kokayi is a GRAMMY-nominated musician as an improvisational vocalist appearing on over 60 titles spanning: Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock and R&B. He is also a designer, artist and educator serving as a guest faculty at the School of Improvisational Music, a OneBeat mentor, a freelance music emissary with the U.S. State Department, and as a Music Supervisor - Untitled Interactive Games. Currently he is the Chief Ideator and co-curator of BeatsnBeans: a discussion series on creativity, coffee culture and the re-imagining of creative spaces.
Kokayi will bring his experience, network, and point of view to assist the Grant for the Web Program team at the Interledger Foundation to help build initiatives that connect to black creatives and technologists while ensuring that these voices help shape and benefit from the fund and the Web Monetization movement. In addition, serving as a facilitator of tangible resources for early adopters of web monetization tools and underwriter for mentorship opportunities providing equity, inclusion and access to undeserved communities.
Kokayi describes his motivation to work on Grant for the Web as,
As a career creative, many conversations that I have had regarding creativity and technology revolve around the ideas of access and equity. Far too often creatives are brought in to connect industries and leverage relationships, becoming early adopters and proliferators of those same industries, moving a brand, product, or concept into being a cultural mainstay and then are limited in both their pathways to maintain control of their art and the ability to become stakeholders. These disparities widen when we talk about black creatives that drive culture in severely underserved spaces in creative business spaces and technology, in those spaces those same liaisons are rarely given a substantive brick in the foundations of the industries they helped to build. I have witnessed black creatives have their voices muted or removed from projects and the conversations about those projects as soon as they have provided the needed cultural equity. Grant for the Web is seeking these very same voices, and is also at risk of perpetuating these very same trends if they are not intentional in the program design to provide opportunities for equity and access at the onset. The focal point of my involvement in this project is to lessen those gaps of access and equity for black innovators and creatives to position communities that have systematically been denied those opportunities to be able to become stakeholders and beneficiaries of the ideas they help to support
During his Ambassadorship, Kokayi will,
- Host overt community-based conversations about Web Monetization and grant opportunities
- Move conversations to grant applications to funded projects
- Identify a potential technology competitor for Web Monetization
- Identify potential mentors to aid in the expansion of the Web Monetization ecosystem
- Lead internal GftW conversations regarding equity and accessibility
About Kokayi Issa - Kokayi is a Multidisciplinary Artist and Grammy-nominated musician and connector of dots. Chief Ideator and co-curator of BeatsnBeans: a cultural design project that examines the intersections of creativity, coffee culture and the re-imagining of creative spaces. Kokayi also provides Creative DSGN for projects with Grammy-nominated artist Goldink and artist/musician Guillermo Brown. .