Tag: Black creators

How YouTube is Supporting Black Creators and Artists

Last summer admist the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests in support of George Floyd, YouTube announced the launch of a multi-year $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. More specifically, the fund has supported programs such as 2 Chainz’ “Money Maker Fund” series highlighting HBCU entrepreneurs and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestreamed concert series.

Today, the platform is using capital for that effort to create a global grant program for Black creators.

“The painful events of this year have reminded us of the importance of human connection and the need to continue to strengthen human rights around the world. In the midst of uncertainty, creators continue to share stories that might not otherwise be heard while also building online communities,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post detailing the decision and reflecting on 2020.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021

Per Billboard, the program is kicking off with an inaugural class of 132 individuals spanning musicians and lifestyle vloggers including Kelly Stamps and Jabril Ashe, also known as Jabrils, who share educational videos centered around the emerging gaming, technology, and AI spaces.

The musicians named to the group include Brent Faiyaz, BRS Kash, Fireboy DML, Jean Dawson, Jensen McRae, Jerome Farah, Joy Oladokun, KennyHoopla, Mariah the Scientist, MC Carol, Miiesha, Myke Towers, Péricles, Rael, Rexx Life Raj, Sauti Sol, serpentwithfeet, Sho Madjozi, Tkay Maidza, Urias and Yung Baby Tate.

Each grant recipient will be provided an undisclosed funding amount to be used in support of their channels, and can encompass needs such as editing, lighting or other equipment to amplify and enhance the quality of their content. YouTube will also offer additional resources such as workshops, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and fuel meaning collaborations. “We are not only supporting them in the moment, but this is seed funding that will help them to thrive on the platform long-term,” he added.

Hailing from across the United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, the cohort was selected in part based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, a campaign and event series promoting Black creators launched in 2016.

Paving a future for change

“These creators and artists have been doing this work already and are known by their communities, but we’re really excited to invest in them, and we believe that they can and will become household names with this support, shared Malik Ducard, YouTube Vice President of Partners on the #YouTubeBlack community.

In today’s landscape, influencers are themselves a media channel. The budgets put against them shouldn’t just be production-driven but rather emphasize a broader commitment to diverse and authentic stories driven by co-communication and co-creation. For YouTube, this effort is not only beneficial in ensuring these creators have their voices heard, but in allowing the platform to stay true to its goals and values and its commitment to its community.

“This is not a flash-in-the pan Instagram moment. This is about keeping the drum beat of change alive, and in the DNA of our organization,” added Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, reiterating the confidence in the ability of this group to lead and find long-term success through raw passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Our expectation is that these artists are going to be significant and important voices and make music even more enjoyable.”

The future of brand-artist collaborations

For brands partnering with music artists – the takeaway here is that social listening requires responsiveness, flexibility, and mindfulness when it comes to integrating culture. People want to be heard, not sold to, and efforts should extend offline. This is only achieved through a full understanding of a new age of partnerships – one where brands have a bigger role to play in artist’s lives and artists are crossing the threshold to become true digital marketers monetizing the whole self.

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How Facebook is Empowering Black Creators and Businesses

Over the span of the last few months, COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head, but most heavily hit were small businesses — particularly those owned by minority entrepreneurs. Even prior to the COVID19 outbreak, this group, which comprises 37 percent of all US businesses, faced greater challenges in starting, running, and growing their companies according to new data. Despite progress being made in terms of vaccine development and parts of the country continuing to re-open, these hurdles still remain.

Here’s a few ways Facebook is lending its support in offering the resources and tools needed for these businesses to thrive.

Black Business August 

Facebook is looking to celebrate and promote the work of Black business owners and their adversity with “Black Business August,” a month-long series of education and business growth content featuring training, programming, and business spotlights.

“We invite you to join us throughout August as we host virtual events, dive into topics like finance, health and fashion, and share inspiring stories of Black-owned businesses from all over the country,” the company said in an official blog announcement.

Experts to be featured in upcoming sessions include Simileoluwa Adebajo, Head Chef and Owner of San Francisco’s Eko Kitchen, and Omar Kinnebrew, Founder and CEO of Atlanta’s Bespokuture. Key topics include ‘building a thriving community,’ ‘adapting in uncertain times,’ and ‘bridging the opportunity gap.’ Access to capital, networks, and the loyal support of a community are simple but critical elements for business success today as we continue to navigate uncertainty.

Facebook Elevate  

Outside of these webinars, additional programming will be hosted on Facebook Elevate, ‘a community and learning platform for Black businesses and creators,’ centered on themes of ‘health and wellness,’ ‘finance and wealth,’ ‘food and beverage,’ and ‘beauty and fashion.’ Each week various Black business owners and creators will come together to share their journeys and lead activities that put the practices to action. A workout by Ariel Harris Belgrave of Gym Hooky and a cooking session from The Spice Suite are just two examples.

The first two themes are especially top of mind for many. Now more than ever it’s easy to lose sight of work-life balance and the important truth that financial well-being directly impacts our mental and physical health. Mindfulness can deliver the necessary productivity and clarity in responding to financial obstacles and avoid paralyses when it comes to business decisions amidst the unknown.

Empowering the next generation of Black storytellers 

Beyond businesses themselves, Facebook is also looking inward at its own community and the voices being represented. Specifically, the platform is introducing a new $25 million funding program to support black creators. The main objective of the initiative is to improve diversity and conclusion from within by elevating a significant community of storytellers who want to celebrate their communities, amplify their unique narratives, and have a positive impact.

With the heightened consumption of content during quarantine, speed is critical for earning and maintaining attention. Brands are quickly learning that in order to stay ahead and pivot their strategies, they must be open to learning from creators versus simply mimicking the advertising space. In this vein, Facebook is looking to help these storytellers build a diverse and innovative business across its entire family of apps.

“We’re asking up-and-coming Black creators to put their creative talents to the test with our program for Black creators. Our program is intended to amplify Black voices, and is geared towards Black creators aged 18+ with a minimum of 10,000 followers on Facebook or 10,000 followers on Instagram. Creators must reside in the U.S.,” the platform shared.

Through these collective efforts Facebook hopes to make strides in addressing concerns raised by the recent results of a civil rights audit conducted over the last few years with the goal of helping the company improve its overall policies and “strength and advance civil rights” within its community. We can’t only rely on the platforms, however. As marketers it is our responsibility to help ensure these stories cut through the noise and to invest time in order to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and opportunities at play.

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