Our platform is dedicated to empowering creators to present their innovative ideas to the community and gather support from backers to bring those ideas to life. Kickstarter has been instrumental in helping many notable creators like Issa Rae, Nia DaCosta, and Matthew A. Cherry to successfully crowdfund their projects and establish themselves in the creative industry. It serves as a catalyst for emerging talent to showcase their work and make their mark.
In this blog post, in honor of Black History Month and the 15th Anniversary of Kickstarter, we present a new series called “Kickstarter 15”, where we'll showcase 15 Kickstarter creators who are making waves in their respective fields and pushing the boundaries of creativity in unique and innovative ways. Get ready to be inspired by their amazing work!
#1: Nicole Cardoza
Nicole Cardoza is a magician and storyteller. Over the past two years, she’s toured the country and performed at universities, exclusive venues, and for corporations and private events, and has been featured in the NYTimes and other publications. As a performer, Nicole shares her perspective on stage magic as a Black queer woman, the history and future of Black magicians, and encourages us to find the magic inherent in us all.
She brings over a decade of experience working with children in classroom settings, building a curriculum that caters to marginalized students’ needs, and teaching students on key SEL skills. She’s also bridged partnerships with schools, brands, and other community organizations to ensure that students are equipped with the tools to grow and thrive.
#2 & #3: Maya Cryor & Joel Boyd
Maya Cryor is a multi-talented artist who strives to create stories that inspire and provoke thought. She has collaborated with prominent figures in the entertainment industry, such as Stan Lathan on Dave Chappelle's comedy Netflix specials, "Sticks & Stones" and "The Closer," and was awarded an Emmy Television Academy honorary award for her outstanding work.
Joel Boyd is an accomplished comedy writer, actor, and creator whose audience describes him as "visceral, witty, and authentic." He has gained recognition as a writer and guest star for various successful TV shows like "Drop The Mic" (TBS), "History of Swear Words" (Netflix), "Earth To Ned" (Disney+), "Arsenio! Live From Netflix Is A Joke Fest" (Netflix), and "The Chi" (Showtime).
Maya and Joel joined forces to crowdfund their series, "The Hype," a dramedy about a young Black couple navigating the treacherous waters of L.A.'s materialistic culture.
#4: Krystal Banner
Seven-time Kickstarter Creator and Community Advisory Council member, Krystal Banner is a multi-hyphenate creative who is passionate about using color and culture to create art/products that are approachable, accessible, and relatable. After spending over ten years as an engineer and consultant, she decided to leave her career and follow her passion for art. She saw an opportunity to use her creativity to make art more inclusive, inviting a broader audience to connect and feel seen. Krystal founded Kaleidadope in 2017, which has been recognized in multiple publications. In addition to her unique greeting cards and gifts, she is also a published author and illustrator of a range of original card decks. She is a Certified Card Reader expert and a professional intuitive who explores the duality of spiritual and secular themes. She is also passionate about positivity, mental health, and wellness.
#5 & #6 : Adetokunbo "T" Oyelola & YolanDa Brown OBE DL
Soul Mama is a project that was launched by YolanDa Brown OBE DL, an award-winning saxophonist and broadcaster, and Adetokunbo "T" Oyelola, a versatile creative entrepreneur. They have experience in the music industry, leisure, and hospitality. YolanDa is a highly acclaimed artist who has won double MOBO Awards. She has toured with renowned artists and collaborated with musicians such as Dave Stewart from Eurythmics. Adetokunbo has successfully organized and promoted concerts, festivals, and tours worldwide. He is a member of the BRIT Award Voting Panel, the Music Managers Forum, and the British Arts Festivals Association. Adetokunbo is also a member of our Kickstarter Creator Advisory Council.
#7: Terrance Daye
Terrance Daye is an award-winning poet and filmmaker from Long Island, New York. His creative work reimagines traditional representations of black masculinity and male identity and invests strongly in destigmatizing mental illness within the black community.
Terrance is a two-time Spike Lee Production Fund recipient, a 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellow, the recipient of the 2020 NewFest Film Festival Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Filmmaker Award and the 2020 Outfest Film Festival Programming Award for Emerging Talent. His most recent film project -Ship: A Visual Poem was awarded a Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Terrance is currently developing his original hour-long drama, Mandingo, with the 2020 Sundance Episodic Labs.
#8: Chanel Dupree
Executive Producer & Director of “You Think You Grown?”, 3-time Kickstarter creator Chanel Dupree is an award-winning screenwriter and director based in NYC. Her second film “Next Stop” earned her “Best Female Director” and screened at over ten festivals, both locally and internationally. “Next Stop” is currently streaming on NoBudge. Her comedy pilot “Black Retail” has screened at the Toronto International Women's Film Festival, and Black Web Fest and won Best Series. A winner of Spec that Scene, a finalist for Women Write Now, a finalist of BLACK BOY/GIRL WRITES MEDIA, and A fellow of BRIC’s Screenwriters Lab, Chanel’s work can be found on Shadow & Act, HuffPost, and African Voices. Currently, Channel is currently working on her first feature film.
#9: Tatiana White
Tatiana White grew up surrounded by comics, poetry, movies, essays, and books, all of which sparked her creative side. She's passionate about promoting diversity and uses her studies in film mechanics, creative writing, and journalism to challenge the negative narratives and imagery imposed on black youths and adults. Last year, White launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Gifted Society, a young adult dark academia fantasy about a girl set with the task of saving her best friend from becoming a secret society's sacrifice.
After earning her degree in Mass Media Communications, Tatiana worked for some big Bay Area media companies before returning to her first love - storytelling.
#10: Rāsheeda Purdie
Meet Rāsheeda Purdie, the founder and chef of RAMEN BY RĀ, who offers exclusive ramen experiences for you to indulge in. Rāsheeda is a former NYC stylist turned chef who made a huge career change from fashion to the hospitality industry and never looked back. After completing her culinary education at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City in 2015, she continued to refine and elevate her cooking techniques under notable chefs and restaurateurs like Melba Wilson, Chef “JJ” Johnson, and Chef Marcus Samuelsson.
#11: Alteronce Gumby
Alteronce Gumby is a talented artist hailing from the bustling city of New York. His unique and diverse artistic practice spans across various mediums, including painting, ceramics, installation, and performance. Gumby's exceptional work has been exhibited at prestigious galleries such as Hauser & Wirth, Gladstone Gallery, and Camden Arts Center. His recent exhibition, Cross Colours, held at Bode Projects in Berlin, showcased the power of complementary colors in his works, which were inspired by Joseph Albert's Interaction of Color. Gumby's use of fluorescent and chromatic spectrum of iridescent colors captivates the viewers and expands their notions of how we perceive form and color, subjectivity on identity, materiality on earth, and cosmic space.
#12: Tariku Shiferaw
Tariku Shiferaw is a New York-based artist who explores mark-making through painting and installation art, addressing issues around space-making within art and societal structures. Select museum exhibitions include The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century at Baltimore Museum of Art (2023); You’d Think By Now at Smack Mellon (2022); Men of Change, organized by The Smithsonian Institution, and held at the California African American Museum (CAAM), (2021); Unbound at the Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA), (2020); What’s Love Got to Do with It? at The Drawing Center (2019); A Poet*hical Wager at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2017-2018); and the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Last year, Tariku launched his first Kickstarter campaign, One of These Black Boys, a book of his most-known series of artworks. One of These Black Boys comes from a place of not belonging in the canon of Western art history. Growing up in Los Angeles, he was often made to feel that he did not belong as an American. Tariku was ‘othered’, often because of his name, which sounded more foreign than he wanted it to. This initially caused him to figure out what it means to be Black and simultaneously a first-generation immigrant in America.
13: Lex Brown
Lex Brown is an artist who uses poetry and science-fiction to create an index for our psychological and emotional experiences in the Information Age. She has performed and exhibited work at the New Museum, the High Line, the International Center of Photography, Recess, and The Kitchen in New York; REDCAT Theater and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore; and at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. She is a 2021 recipient of the USA Fellowship. Brown holds degrees from Yale University (MFA) and Princeton University (BA). She is the author of My Wet Hot Drone Summer, a sci-fi erotic novella, and Consciousness, a survey of Brown's work from 2011-2019. Brown teaches Drawing I at Princeton University and was a 2020-2022 Media Fellow at Harvard University.
#14: Brandee "B" Wilder
Brandee "B" Wilder is an expert in the field of credit and is passionate about helping individuals understand the importance of financial education, especially within communities of color. After traveling across the globe and meeting people from all walks of life, she recognized the impact that credit education has on personal growth and development. As she began sharing her knowledge about credit with family and friends, she realized how overwhelming it can be to learn new concepts all at once, and how difficult it is to talk openly about credit scores, especially when the score is on the lower end. This realization led to the creation of her successful Kickstarter Campaign, The Black Credit Conversation Game, which aims to remove the stigma around financial discussions and make credit education more accessible and engaging for everyone.
#15: Brandon Hightower
Meet Brandon Hightower, a former Stanford engineer who turned out to be a singer! He's famous for his music, which will take you on a spiritual journey. Right now, he's working day and night on his debut EP after his successful campaign to take his music career to the next level. His music is a fusion of "Rock & Soul" that is truly unique and original.