Pinkwashing: A term used to describe the action of using gay-related issues in positive ways in order to distract attention from negative actions by an organization, country, or government. [ Sarah Schulman, The New York Times, November 23, 2011
SuperRare, one of the Largest invite-only NFT marketplaces is quite respected in the metaverse. Unsurprisingly, earlier this Pride Month, like almost all other companies in the space, SuperRare announced their virtual pride programing. What came as a surprise to myself, and fellow LGBTQ+ folks in the community was that after what most assumed to be their “initial” post, their “pride programming” simply stopped…
Their Instagram post on June 14th, halfway through pride month, mentioned that they would “be donating 100% of [their] commissions earned between June 14-16 to @outintech 🌈.”
Now before getting too deep into analyzing this, I want to mention that I have nothing but respect for Out in Tech and similar international organizations that champion LGBTQ+ working professionals. However, given that this event was and is the only LGBTQ+ fundraising effort made by SuperRare this month, it feels like a quota made to be filled.
First of all, SuperRare processes millions of dollars in trades annually. Even though they only take a 3% fee on transactions, they recently raised over 9million USD in their series A round alone. While it is “nice” of them to offer a portion of their profits to a queer-centric organization during pride month, it doesn’t feel like enough. Especially considering that it was only for two days out of the month and that this was one of their only pride activations. And the only one with a direct monetary donation or incentive.
This is extra unfortunate for me, as I previously quite liked SuperRare as a platform despite the exclusive nature of their marketplace. However, as a decentralized organization in the DeFi space, I believe that companies have an obligation to do better. We need to move past the “old boys club” of the traditional art market and put in the work to truly champion diverse artists from around the world. Any platform that hasn’t gone out of its way this month to highlight and champion LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, in lieu of Pride Month and Juneteenth, is simply out of touch. And I don’t believe that they have a place in this ecosystem.
I should mention that this wasn’t the only thing that SuperRare did. The same day they put out a tweet with a blog post highlighting a few LGBTQ+ artists on their platform and also released a poster celebrating 50 years of pride. However, it all stopped there – and it’s simply not enough! These efforts, even in aggregation, are super lacklustre — and seem to be a sheepish attempt to compensate for primarily promoting white cis male artists on their platform. All one needs to do is go to their Instagram profile to see their one single pride-related post followed by going back to regular programming. They even went so far as to “balance out” their rainbow post with a rainbow piece of art (with no mention of pride month of course).
Now am I trying to vilify SuperRare? Not at all. I would just like to issue this as a public statement to SuperRare and all other major players in this space to DO BETTER! We are a decentralized community. We exist internationally and represent a rainbow of races, creeds, gender expressions, sexualities, belief systems, and so much more. This shouldn’t be perceived by big companies as a burden, but an opportunity! And we have already seen it starting. Companies like Decentraland have gone out of their way to create Pride parades, and entire pride month calendars in partial replacement of physical events still closed due to covid restrictions.
These kinds of large organizations going out of their way to champion marginalized communities is exactly what we need in order to make the decentralized art world a better place to be a part of. I really hope that SuperRare and other organizations take this article to heart and reflect on how they can be better allies to the members of their workforces and communities at large.
I would love to follow this article up with a conversation with any representative from SuperRare that might be so brave as to hop on a recorded zoom interview with me-
If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Pride! 🏳️🌈