YouTube Expands Black Voices Fund, Opening New Grant Applications This Month

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YouTube Black Voices

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is opening applications for its 2022 class and expanding eligibility to include songwriters and producers, the company announced today (June 9), alongside a string of other new initiatives to amplify Black voices on and off the platform.

Announced last year, the fund amplifies Black creators on YouTube by equipping them with resources and support to thrive on the platform. The fund will open grant applications for its 2022 class on June 21, and for the first time, the program is now open to those based in the UK and Canada (in addition to the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria).

In a company blog post, YouTube director of Black music & culture Tuma Basa also announced YouTube’s partnership with music education institution 1500 Sound Academy to fund 10 full ride scholarships to its six-month live, online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals program, during which recipients take courses in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing and the music business. Alongside the scholarships, Basa says YouTube has been working with “community-based organizations” to launch a “Future Insiders” program of quarterly workshops targeting 180 at-risk and underserved youth aspiring to enter the music and creative industries, a program which will expand globally later this year.

Finally, Basa reflected on the fund’s success to date. In January, the fund welcomed 21 artists to its inaugural Class of 2021, and by April, the class collectively received 1.4 billion views on their official YouTube channels. Six artists in the program — Miiesha, BRS Kash, Joy Oladokun, Jensen McRae, serpentwithfeet and Yung Baby Tate — saw more than 50% subscriber growth during that period, while the latter four artists in that grouping also saw 200% growth in channel views.

Since its founding, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund has also launched a content series and events to celebrate Black culture. That has included 2 Chainz‘s “Money Maker Fund” series awarding a total of $55,000 to Black entrepreneurs who pitched business ideas on the show and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestream concert series celebrating the African diaspora.

“We’re incredibly proud of the progress made thus far, but like a marathon, we know we’ve got a long way to go,” Basa wrote. “Our music team at YouTube is grateful for the opportunity to provide a space for a community that is integral to the vitality of our platform and the world beyond. We will continue to amplify Black voices because Black voices, like Black lives, matter. Now let’s get back to work.”

On June 21, the grant application will be available at YouTube’s Creators page here.

 
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