The 45-year-old CEO of Team Henry Enterprises, the contracting firm hired by the states and cities of Richmond and Charlottesville to demolish Confederate memorials, asked what to do next after attending the historic event. After contemplating Kika, he said that he had created a new company. effort.
“The statue is falling. But what next?” Henry said in an interview. “It’s about maintaining the momentum and staying aware of what those statues stand for, and turning negative stories into positive ones.”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam order removal of Confederate memorial in former Confederate capital in 2020 amid nationwide protests following police killing of George Floyd The order follows the murder of nine black parishioners by white supremacists in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, five years ago, after which several other states and localities across the country began paying tribute to the Confederacy. It was served after making a similar move to withdraw.
Henry said he was concerned when the governor’s chief of staff first approached him about removing the Lee memorial. I thought about the deadly white supremacist rally that happened in New Orleans and how a contractor’s car was bombed in New Orleans.
Henry, who is black, consulted his wife and children. We discussed the risks involved.
“We came to the conclusion that we have to do this,” he said. “We must take these matters into our own hands and do so with courage.”
Henry said CryptoFederacy’s goal is to use the rise of new technologies such as Web3 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to raise money for social justice.
Launched earlier this year, the organization’s first project is The Shirteen Stars, a collection of digital art. This includes his 3D model of a Confederate monument overlaid with newspaper headlines and an illustration of a statue with graffiti around it.
Anthony Bathory, known by his artist name Fading Royalty, created most of the artwork for the collection.
After curating a photobook of the 2020 protests, Bartley, 24, based in St. Louis and now attending the University of Washington, said she was thrilled to be part of the project. Proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to her NAACP defense fund.
By creating artwork, he says, “I’m back in the middle of doing something bigger than myself. And especially knowing that the proceeds will be donated to charity, it feels good to be a part of it.” Was good.
The collection’s name refers to each of the 13 stars of the Confederate “Southern Cross” battle flag and the 13 causes for which CryptoFederacy intends to allocate $1 million in proceeds from the sale of the artwork.
Economist and artist Michael Garvey, who was involved in the project, created three pieces for the collection. One of them depicts an alien aircraft “kidnapping” a statue of Robert E. Lee, another piece shows the arcade claw his machine all scattered in his game shows the monuments of
Garvey, 33, said his work was intended to symbolize a progression into the “future” and how the project is intended to make a monumental statement.
“It could be like taking some of the culture-induced oppression around statues and taking money from this NFT project to relieve some of that pressure on us,” he said. Told.
CryptoFederacy is still involved with potential nonprofits and charities in the project, Henry said, but is working with the Richmond-based Better Housing Coalition to help fund scholarships for historically black colleges. and an agreement has been reached with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Other artists have also recently tried to raise money from NFT sales. For example, according to media reports, Russian feminist art collective and punk rock group Pussy Riot this year raised more than $7 million in her funding to aid Ukraine during its invasion of the country. did.
Patrons can bid on the 13 star artwork using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. According to the artwork auction website, the minimum bid for each piece is 105 Wrap Ether, which equates to about $182,000.
In addition to taking ownership of the artwork through blockchain, a type of public digital ledger underlying ownership of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the purchaser receives a small physical artifact from one of the monuments. increase.
Henry said he chose to embrace new cryptocurrency markets and new art platforms as a way to encourage black entrepreneurship in emerging markets.
“I feel like at some point it’s going to be part of our lives,” he said. I thought it could be something more meaningful and historical that could be pushed and understood.”
Henry said he expects the artwork auction to be held online until the end of August. He said CryptoFederacy will also release a second collection of NFT artwork later this summer. .