By Marc Alexander


I met Ian Glispy nineteen or twenty years ago at the legendary October Gallery in Philly. Ian was the host for the stores’ Panoramic Poetry series and I was a poet bouncing around the then hot Philly poetry scene. Ian was a great host – funny, insightful and even self-deprecating at times.

Artist and founder of Ian Glispy

When I moved to Los Angeles he went off to law school in the Caymans and I often wondered what type of law a creative guy like him would get into.

Once we reconnected on Facebook, I found that Ian had not only completed law school but he had become a renaissance man determined to make a mark in the arts by helping under exposed and undiscovered artists get some shine.

Ian’s concept and creation – – is a portal for talent to get exposure and support from the grassroots level. Here’s more info and insight he shared during our recent conversation.

MA: What is Mighty Hip and what is the immediate goal?

IG: Mighty Hip is a launching platform for artists, be they singers, rappers, poets or musicians.  We help artists with their business by providing a democratic stage for them to perform online, or on mobile devices, gather essential data, and advice with legal and accounting support.

We have created an app that allows artists to record one minute of their work to be shared on mobile devices easily.  Once you record [the content], you ask friends to listen and vote. Once all the votes are in you are ranked that data and now music industry professionals can discover the artist or you can manage yourself.

MA: What was an early and unexpected obstacle and how did you overcome it?

IG: Early obstacles were many and we still have a few.  One obstacle for anyone in tech is coding costs.  Another is funding. Companies will always need more money because the market forces you to change constantly.  So once we get more users we will be guaranteed more money. Now we need to get more users. Every site is searching for more users. So readers download our free app and vote on the artists.  Another initial problem was mistakes in the code – better known as “bugs.” We have them all fixed now, thank goodness.

MA: What has the reaction and support been for mighty hip?

IG: People like my concept. No one has been negative.  Many [people], I notice, don’t get how I can be in this space – as if tech at this level is only for white male nerds. I’m Jamaican-American and cooler than a mofo. Investors do not give a lot of bread to African-American ideas. The statistics show this. No one has been mean to me. Hopefully more and more will see why this idea of a collective approach, while still allowing individuality and creative expression, will be better for an artist’s work, as well as his or her bottom line.

MA: What have you been surprised about most – both good and or bad?

IG: I notice also that a certain generation of African-Americans just don’t get social media or don’t have computers at home.  So when I talk to them they are unable to follow up with me.  Younger people live on their phones and get the importance of “shares”, “likes” and having space in your phone for new concepts and not just sticking to one or two apps. Poets aged 45 to 35 are always like , “this is cool!”  But they tend not to follow through as robustly as 30 and under people. Musicians love it. Singers  love it. Rappers love it.

So I am surprised then, by the amount of people who would rather give their livelihood away to a company that does not invest in them, yet makes billions. People need to put two and two together.

MA: What has been the biggest success story from Mighty Hip and where do you see it going?

IG: The biggest success was getting the initial investment of $50,000 with no strings attached. That was not a loan, mind you. Money is out there for your business idea. That helped a lot.  We have access to another $300,000 if we can hit a certain benchmark number of users. However that will require granting some shares to the investor.   There are other successes but that was the biggest one thus far.

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  Marc Alexander is a Los Angeles-based writer, photographer and purveyor of urban culture.



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