At the peak of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, Facebook stepped up to pledge $200 million toward Black-owned businesses, creators, and communities in an effort to offer substantial support that’s lacked in recent years.
Now they’re taking it a step further to cultivate a wide-reaching creative community/accelerator program called “We the Culture” — supported by a $25 million investment. The program aims to amplify the voices of Black content creators and their work to celebrate our influential culture.
The new community was created by a passionate team of Black employees at Facebook who are helping Black visionaries share their creations with the world, while also serving as a launching pad for their professional careers.
“We The Culture celebrates Black creativity,” co-founder Michelle Mitchell shared with AfroTech. “I’m a Black creative myself — I’m convinced that a part of my desire to create and express is driven by a need to render myself less invisible in a society that does not always value Black people or credit Black culture for its massive impact on the world we live in.”
“As someone working amongst an amazing group of Black employees and allies that daily contribute their ideas, labor, love and support, I wanted to help build the kind of program worthy of our community. This program provides financial support to give folks room to see what truly happens when they can to focus solely on their creative endeavors and invest in their businesses, alongside a kindred community of folks who have the same desires,” she added.
Unlike other dedicated accelerator programs, Facebook’s We the Culture “was designed by Black creatives for Black creators and is robust and comprehensive,” according to Mitchell, as it adds to an “intentional focus to lift Black voices.”
The process behind jumpstarting this accelerator program was motivated by a desire to show up for the Black creative community and create a creator-driven platform that leveraged the best of what Facebook has to offer.
“Working with an all Black design and social team, we had so much fun exploring the brand essence — working with creators for feedback and truly developing an “if you build it, they will come”-type program,” Mitchell concluded. “It was a massive, cross-functional team that was intentional with every aspect of the program from start to finish.”
The open application process that sourced thousands of these creators — from aspiring to well-established — for the authentically-developed platform offered a life-changing opportunity to give these creatives the tools they need to succeed without the worry of financial burdens.
We the Culture’s creator program includes all sorts of Black creatives — including athletes, entertainers, musicians, photographers, singer-songwriters, social justice warriors, visual artists, journalists, Black-owned digital publishers, comedians, filmmakers, health and wellness gurus, and so many more.
So far, We the Culture has made room for featured esteemed creators like Angela Yee, Storm Reid, Vanessa Simmons, and Danielle Young — host and producer of Facebook’s “The Danielle Young Show” — to be among the first to grace the platform with creative content and flourish respectively.
“Here’s the thing, this program does not just offer a silver spoon and say ‘here create at a higher level.’ This program gives you the tools, then it’s up to you how you use them,” Young shared with AfroTech. “My entire intention in being a part of this program is to elevate and invest in my content.”
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“Having the access to funds and tools provided by Facebook, whether through webinars or gift cards allows me to have an actual toolkit as I create,” she concluded. “It’s created a standard and a level that I hope to always one-up.
Young’s partnership with Facebook has allowed her to not only find a home for her successful interview series, but also expand it into a hub to hone in on all of her talents.
Facebook being able to show up for these creators at a time where the world is holding a microscope up to the Black community is what it truly means to be allies of the growing movement that’s always been within the essence of Black culture.
For more information on We the Culture, visit its Facebook page.