YouTube Announces Inaugural Class of 'Black Voices'

With $100 million USD in funding.

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Entertainment
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YouTube has announced its selection of global innovators for its first YouTube Black Voices class. YouTube has chosen 132 artists and creatives from around the world to receive the multiyear initiative funding and support from the media giant.

In the midst of the racial-justice protests that occurred in the United States last summer, the video company pledged a $100 million USD fund specifically dedicated to Black creators and investing in fresh narratives “that emphasizes the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity, and joy of Black voices.”

The chosen group was selected from the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. The broad range of artists includes, but is not limited to activists, beauty entrepreneurs, comedians, musicians, teachers, personal trainers, poets, and photographers. These creators had previously participated in YouTube Black events and were invited to apply for the program. A global panel of YouTube staffers with relevant experience regarding Black culture and music evaluated their channel’s performance, as well as engagement metrics prior to making their decisions. Through the program, YouTube will offer creators seed money from the $100 million USD Black Voices Fund. The fund will also be utilized to assist channel development, partner support, workshops and networking programs.

YouTube plans to begin new partnerships with at least 500 creatives and artists by 2023. As the company continues to seek inclusivity and diversity, YouTube hopes the program will help establish long-term collaborations. YouTube’s VP of Content Partnerships, Malik Ducard said, “We wanted to dial up and show our commitment to this community in a new way, and a much bigger way.” He added, “These are meaningful partnerships and investments for these creators. There are no strings attached to funding. The creators can invest in their content and themselves as they see fit. Our hope is these artists will become the biggest and most influential Black voices on our platform.”

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