YouTube has announced the expansion of efforts to support creators and the creative economy in Africa through the 2023 #YouTubeBlack Voices creators and artist cohorts.
Now in its third year, the initiative from the video service is a follow up to a global, multi-year commitment made in 2020, to uplift and grow Black creators, artists, songwriters and producers on the platform.
Forty creators from Sub-Saharan Africa will be part of the 135 #YouTubeBlack Voices Creators selected globally who are enrolled into the cohort.
Among the 23 #YouTubeBlack Voices Artists selected for the programme are African fast-rising musical artists including South Africans Kamo Mphela, Gyakie from Ghana, Asake from Nigeria, and BNXN from Nigeria.
The cohort will also include Hip Hop producer MashBeatz from South Africa and Nairobi-based producer Ukweli, who will be joining 17 #YouTubeBlack Voices songwriters and producers globally.
As support from YouTube, grantees will receive $20 000 and $50 000 as seed funding, dedicated partner support for six months and have the opportunity to participate in programmes including bespoke training, workshops and networking programmes spread out across the year.
Alex Okosi, MD – Emerging Markets – YouTube EMEA said the initiative is dedicated to equipping up-and-coming Black creators and artists with the resources to succeed on the platform
“We are seriously interested in the growth of the creative community in Africa. For the creators, artists, songwriters and producers that will be joining this third cohort, we will go beyond the initial training to measure our success with them over a long-term period, thereby ensuring that they achieve sustained success.”
The artists, songwriters and producers joining the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2023 will be required to set goals, develop content strategy and engage with their fans on YouTube, with the assistance of a YouTube partner manager.
YouTube said over the next few years, it will be directly investing in more than 500 creators and artists from across the world to support, grow, and fund their channels and content development through the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund.