In light of Black Music Month, we are spotlighting pioneers in the entertainment industry making waves. First up is Clark University alumna Rachel Jackson, who now serves on YouTube Music’s Artist Partnerships Team. 

Jackson’s journey started at an early age while dancing in the performance arts as a ballerina. The Atlanta native later developed a greater appreciation for music and continued to blossom while living in the Black Mecca. Jackson became immersed in its entertainment landscape, making her first splash while working as an intern at Ludacris’ Disturbing The Peace Records. Her resume only evolved after working as the director of A&R at Roc Nation Label before obtaining her current position as artist relations manager on YouTube Music’s Artist Partnerships Team. 

Jackson And Her Team Were Behind The First Shoppable Film

Jackson takes pride in her work alongside the team, which includes a hybrid television and web campaign with Saweetie and Google’s #BlackOwnedFriday campaign featuring T-Pain joined by Normani. As AfroTech previously told you, the musical project featured 50 Black-owned brands and over 100 products for users to shop and connect with businesses in one click.

“The Black Friday campaign was the first shoppable music video and film ever. So we were able to ideate and trailblaze what our shopping capabilities are on the platform and frankly put on for Black creatives, Black artists, and Black-owned businesses,” Jackson told AfroTech in an exclusive interview.

Jackson Is Leading #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund

While serving under her current title, Jackson is ensuring equitable resources are being distributed to Black communities and to artists at various stages in their careers. Jackson’s efforts are aligned with the  #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a $100 million global commitment to empower and advance Black creators and artists on the platform, according to information provided to AfroTech. In addition, the fund is used to acquire and produce new YouTube Originals programs. Already the fund has supported nearly 300 creators, artists, songwriters, and producers.

Jackson is currently leading the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund as the Music Community Pillar Lead for YouTube Music, which also has a focus on paving the way for the youth to find their footing in the industry.

“We’re able to connect with youth that want to explore the intersection between tech, entertainment, and music and from there creating programs that show them other opportunities for not only growth on the platform, but also their career,” Jackson told AfroTech.

Unsigned And Indie Artists Supported Through Foundry, Alumni Cohort Includes Tems

As aforementioned, YouTube Music’s Artist Partnerships Team caters to artists from all levels. Through Foundry — a global artist development program — unsigned and indie artists have an opportunity to receive a monetary grant, placing them in a cohort with access to partner managers and the best practices to elevate their musical career. Foundry has helped over 150 artists across 15 countries including familiar names such as Gunna, Tems, Dua Lipa, and Rosalía.

 “At YouTube and YouTube Music, we want to be the number one revenue driver for the music industry and we are well on our way to being notarized for that. We are artist-focused and we provide high-touch support to all of our artists and managers in every part of their journey when looking to succeed with us,” Jackson said.