In June of last year during the height of Black Lives Matter protests and social unrest, global video-streaming platform YouTube announced its $100 million #BlackVoices Fund dedicated to amplifying Black perspectives.
According to an announcement, the fund was used to “invest with an intention: to present fresh narratives that emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice.”
As part of this global fund, this week YouTube revealed its #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021, consisting of 132 Black creators and artists selected to receive grants to assist them in their creative endeavors.
“We believe that Black stories matter. That is why we created the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a global, multi-year commitment to center and grow Black creators and artists on our platform, as well as to produce and acquire new YouTube Original programs, focusing on racial justice and Black experiences,” YouTube shared in its announcement. “As part of this Fund, we developed the #YouTubeBlack Voices grant program — an initiative dedicated to equipping and amplifying Black creators and artists with the resources to succeed on our platform.”
Black creators for this initiative have been selected from the U.S., United Kingdom, Brazil, and Africa [Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa], all consisting of musicians, beauty entrepreneurs, comedians, activists, poets, personal trainers, teachers, parents, photographers, and more.
The idea behind the cohort grant program is to provide these creators with additional resources to help grow their voices and YouTube channels through training workshops, partner support, and of course, funding.
Jabril Ashe — a YouTuber who makes educational videos about gaming, technology and AI — shared his excitement about being chosen for YouTube’s 2021 grant class.
“I was pretty excited about it. Having done YouTube for around 10 years now, I know first hand how difficult it is trying to maintain being a full time YouTube Creator,” he said. “YouTube came to me not only offering a financial investment in what I am doing, but willing to help with equipment, workshops, & publicity, which is something I think would excite anyone, YouTube creator or not.”
Jabrils — his formal nickname on YouTube — shared that his plans to use his grant funding include hiring a team to expand his operation, investing in bigger projects, and supporting underserved communities by inspiring them to envision more avenues for their future.
Overall, this powerful initiative is not only supporting 132 Black creators from around the world, it’s also amplifying the power of Black influence and creativity that’s leading the biggest trends in pop culture.
“The creators that benefit from this initiative will be able to make investments on and off the platform, hire employees, put money back into their communities, or even on the simplest level, take more risks with trying to grow their channel,” Jabrils concluded. “This all allows Black creators to maintain a seat at the table and be a part of the discourse.”
Other creators joining the grant cohort shared their excitement via social media.
— The Grapevine (@TheGrapevineTV) January 13, 2021
So humbled, Excited and Grateful to be chosen as one of the creators for the inaugural #YoutubeBlack Black Voices Fund class of 2021. 🙏🏾 @YouTube but most importantly thank you fam for supporting Channel. 🥂 Upskilling and Strategic Partner management support#YoutubeBlack pic.twitter.com/AMMAXQL93F
— Nicolette Mashile (@ImcocoMash) January 12, 2021
— Tarek Ali (@itstarekali) January 12, 2021
Now that its inaugural class has been announced, YouTube has pledged to continue this momentum by working closely with the unveiled creators to help them grow even more on their platform.
YouTube’s long-term goal for this program is to ultimately invest in the content development of over 500 Black creators and artists worldwide in the future.
For the full list of creators in the #YouTubeBlackVoices Artist Class of 2021, click here.