In a world where representation matters, YouTube is taking a stand to amplify Black voices. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, created in 2020, is an initiative that invests in talent and presents fresh narratives that emphasize the intellectual power and authenticity of Black voices. The program has already helped over 500 creators and artists grow their channels and their audiences.
The fund has been an opportunity to both celebrate and cultivate Black artistry around the world. It is part of the platform’s commitment to supporting Africa’s creative ecosystem. YouTube plays an essential role in the discovery and development of African culture, and the fund takes this a step further by equipping up-and-coming Black creators, artists, songwriters, and producers with the resources to succeed on its platform.
In 2023, YouTube reaffirmed its commitment to amplify Black voices in Africa with a two-day event in Nairobi, Kenya. The event celebrated the 2023 #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund grantees and allowed them to connect, network, and collaborate with other creators.
“When we announced the $100 million fund to amplify Black and African voices and perspectives on our platform, we wanted to create a space where Black people can share their own stories, in their own voices, with the world. The fund has, in many ways, created opportunities to amplify, celebrate, and cultivate Black artistry for a global audience,” says YouTube Managing Director of Emerging Markets, EMEA, Alex Okosi.
The growth of these creator channels has been tangible on the continent. Nigerian creator Osereme Egbor of Styleby Reme says, “Being a part of the BVF programme Class of 2023 has literally changed my life. I moved from creating content in a room that I used to share with my sister, to getting my own space. I was also able to get better filming equipment, like ring lights and tripods, that I needed to increase the quality of my videos.”
The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is making a difference in the lives of creators and artists around the world. It’s an exciting time for Black artistry as YouTube continues to support and amplify their voices.