Ladies and gentlemen, we present the first winners of the YouTube Black Voices Class of 2021! This is an initiative by YouTube Black to invest in fresh narratives on the platform that “emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity, and joy of Black voices.” And some of our faves have been listed.
Dimma Umeh, Tomike Adeoye, Dodos Uvieghara (IAMDodos), Shalom Blac, Akah Nnani, Lade Owolabi, Eric Okafor, Aysha Harun, Nyma Tang and more were announced a few hours ago and we’re super excited for them.
So, what are they getting?
This opportunity comprises of a few amazing things. Winners will be offered seed funding for channel development, partner support, training, workshops and networking programs. The seed money will be sourced from the $100 Million YouTube Black Voices Fund which was announced in June of 2020.
More on The List
The 132-member list cuts across the United Kingdom, United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africana and Nigeria with a list of musicians, comedians, beauty entrepreneurs, poets, personal trainers, photographers, teachers and activists. These winners have all taken part in past YouTube Black events and were invited to apply. After evaluations on channel performance and engagement metrics YouTube Black had their list.
Speaking on the initiative and where it goes from here, YouTube explained that it will be opening the grants application process to a broader range of applicants over the next few months.
Shedding some more light on the fund and its objective, the company stated that the program is “part of the comprehensive work currently underway to make YouTube a place where Black artists, creators, and users can share their stories and be protected” as it seeks to become more inclusive.”
Malik Ducard (YouTube’s VP, Content Partnerships), said the fund and the initiative grew out of the YouTube Black Summit in Los Angeles 4 years ago that featured influential black creators on the platform. He said – “We wanted to dial up and show our commitment to this community in a new way, and a much bigger way”. Adding to that, Lyor Cohen (Music Chief, YouTube) said “This is not a flash in the pan…this is about keeping the drumbeat of change alive.”
YouTube Black plans to partner with more than 500 creators and artists globally through 2023.