Last month, Angela Simmons turned to Kickstarter to raise $25,000 to fund AngelaIAM TV
, a visual platform for fashion, music, art, and entertainment.
As a creative, I truly believe in Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms, that make it possible for the average Joe to bring a brilliant idea to life. I am very, very selective in how I spend my money (largely because as a recent college grad I don’t have any), but when I see a project I truly believe in, I can’t help but support.
Of course, with the good comes the bad. Like everything else, I hate that these platforms have attracted more than a few projects that have caused me to raise an eyebrow (most notably Spike Lee’s “Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” campaign).
On one hand, it seems like a no-brainer for celebs and prominent artists to turn to crowdfunding — seemingly, they have the soapbox and fan base to do a little promotion and easily get their projects funding. On the other hand, it feels as if they are intruding on a space not meant for established figures, but for those without access to big-name sponsors and prominent backers.
Although AngelaIAM TV is meant to promote aspiring international artists, which I appreciate, it was unclear how the whopping $25,000 would be used to drastically improve upon the videos she had already begun to create, and why she couldn’t use her resources and contacts to fund it herself. There were many others who felt the same; her comments on Instagram where spattered with negative reactions.
Despite my skepticism I never doubted it would raise the necessary funds, especially with the success of several other celebrity-endorsed projects.
Although Angela heavily promoted the campaign on Instagram, which is connected to her Twitter, both with over 1 million followers, had promotional videos, featured rewards, and a press release sent out to media outlets, she only received 11% of her goal — $2,766 of $25,000.
What went wrong?
Emmanuel Mensah, the producer of AngelaIAM TV, addressed the pitfalls of the campaign in an interview with Soo Detroit:
When we first launched our Kickstarter we got a lot of backlash for it. What people don’t know is that we’ve been funding AngelaIAM TV on our own long before we launched the Kickstarter. This is something we’ve been funding but we’re trying to take it on a wider scale and what better way to try to take it on a wider scale than to have people that want to see something like this happen, help us do it. This is all about the people, but it has been hard and difficult because people automatically assume: ‘Why is a celebrity asking for money?’ That’s not the case at all. We want it to be about the people and not have one investor be responsible. We want the people to be responsible as a unit for making something like this happen. (soodetroit.com)
Did the proverbial “people” take a stand? Was the project description not strong enough to gain support? Is it possible she didn’t have enough promotion?
It makes an interesting case study.