July 25, 2023

Isaac Hayes III’s Fanbase App: A New Social Media Space Advocating For Black Creators

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes III has launched Fanbase, a social media platform designed to enable Black creators to cultivate their audiences and monetize their contributions effectively.

An often-observed reality in the social media world is the lack of acknowledgment and monetary reward for Black creators, even when they are the originators of significant trends. A notable instance is when the viral TikTok renegade dance was mistakenly attributed to TikToker Charli D’Amelio, overlooking the actual creator, Jalaiah Harmon.

Unfortunately, this extends beyond viral dances. From fashion trends and online ideas to music, the contributions of Black creators are frequently overlooked, with credit and financial benefits unjustly funneled to white celebrities and creators.

“What happens is the little kid that makes the trend that lives in the “hood” in Atlanta doesn’t wind up getting the brand deal that Charli D’Amelio does,” said Hayes, the CEO of Fanbase.

The “Fanbase” App

Fanbase is a social media app that allows users to monetize the content they produce, from photos to long-form videos, with the Fanbase+ feature.

It differentiates from other platforms that need brand partnerships or ad placements to make money.

The app allows users to “like” other people’s content and “Love” it, which users can then turn into money.

Every Love given is worth one cent, with 50% going to the creator and 50% going to Fanbase.

The more Love a user gets, the more money that is made. Users can monetize all platforms except live streams and Flickz, a short-video tool.

“We have all these different verticals of what other apps have, except I’m looking out for every single person on the platform,” said Hayes.

An Opportunity for Black Creators

According to a 2021 study by The Influencer League involving US-based creators, the pay gap between white influencers and influencers of color is 29%.

When narrowed further between white and Black influencers, the margin rises to 35%.

59% of Black influencers also reported that they felt negatively impacted financially when they posted on issues of race, compared to 14% of White influencers.

Full-time tech creator C.M. Williams joined Fanbase in 2021 and confirmed that although the monetization is appealing, the connections and predominantly Black user base are what attracted him the most.

“I feel very close to the audience I have on there,” he told FastCompany.

Another user, Tafair Young, confirmed that as a Black content creator, he got a lot of shadow bans, but since opening an account on Fanbase a year ago, he hasn’t encountered any issues with shadow bans.

So far, The app has received $1.7 million over three crowdfunding rounds since October 2020, including contributions from celebrities such as Snoop Dogg.

It also offers a paid subscription feature from $4.99 a month and is now in beta-testing for eight new paid subscription tiers from $2.99 up to $99.99 per month.

Fanbase does have some teething issues with building its user base, which makes it hard for creators to build up a following. However, Williams believes the future is bright.

“There’s going to come a time where everything will be a paywall subscription model,” he said.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.