Kenya: YouTube Increase 'Black Voices' Fund

Last year, YouTube announced it will invest about Sh10 billion ($100,000,000) to promote African content.

This year, the video-sharing platform is expanding and increasing the funding in order to include songwriters and producers.

In the first year of the funding, 133 grantees hailing from the United States, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, and Nigeria benefited from grants.

This group included musicians, beauty entrepreneurs, comedians, activists, poets, personal trainers, teachers, parents, photographers, and more.

This year, the fund will be expanding, seeing even more recipients undertake a six-month scholarship in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business, and much more.

Applications for #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022, will open on June 21.

"On June 21, 2021 we will open grant applications for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 with expanded eligibility to include songwriters and producers. We're also opening up applications for those based in the UK and Canada, in addition to the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria," said YouTube in a statement.

The company has provided periodic updates on aspects of the program, and on Wednesday, unveiled a report on the progress its music efforts have made over the past year in multiple cities and countries, which are recapped below.

"It's been a company-wide effort to make a change and raise voices and profiles of Black artists on the platform," Vivien Lewit, YouTube Music global head of artist relations said.

"We broke off as a music team and asked, how can we have impact, raise the profiles not just of artists but also songwriters and producers, and how can we celebrate communities and give voice to youth culture?"

Patricia Kihoro, Kaluhi's Kitchen, Mitchelle Adagala and Mumo were in January unveiled as part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund from Africa.

Each Class of 2021 creator will receive an undisclosed amount of seed funding to use as they see fit to develop their channels, whether that means hiring a video editor or purchasing new lighting equipment, for example, as well as additional support from YouTube in the form of training, workshops, and networking opportunities.

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