The 40 black artists, songwriters, and producers who were accepted for the 2023 cohort of YouTube's Black Voices Fund have been announced, and out of these 40 voices, six are from Africa. Notably, the list includes artists from Nigeria such as Asake and BNXN, Ghana's Gyakie, Kenya's Ukweli, South Africa's Kamo Mphela and MashBeatz, and British-Ghanaian DJ and producer Juls.
The YouTube Black Voices Fund, which was launched in 2020, is a multi-year, global commitment by the corporation to prioritize and support Black producers and artists on its platform as well as to create and acquire new YouTube Original programs that are focused on racial justice and Black experiences. It also forms part of a vision to present fresh narratives that emphasise the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice.
Over the programme, YouTube has directly empowered more than 500 creators and artists from across the world to support, grow and fund their channels and content development. In response to the newly announced Black Voices, YouTube will work closely with the class of 2023 in the coming months to help them develop their channels on the platform. These musicians will also have the opportunity to participate in bespoke training, workshops, and networking programs.
At the launch of the Fund, Malik Ducard, YouTube's Vice President of Content Partnerships disclosed that "over the next three years (2021-2023), this global fund will be used to acquire and produce YouTube Originals programming, focused on Black experiences around the world, and to directly support Black creators and artists so that they can thrive on YouTube."
YouTube will provide grantees with seed funding of $20,000 and $50,000. They will also have dedicated partner support for six months and the opportunity to participate in year-long programs such as bespoke training, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Carla Marie, Hitkidd, Jozzy, Karen Francis, MIKE, Tempest, and TOBi are among the other artists on the list. The complete list can be found here.