Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
10 Jun 2021
9:39 am

YouTube Music scholarship gets boost from Black Voices fund

Kaunda Selisho

Funds from the Black Voices YouTube Music scholarship will go towards enabling Black artists commercialise their work and grow their careers.

Thanks to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, YouTube Music has expanded its commitment to Black music through its YouTube Music scholarship.

The new scholarship opportunities, launched to help Black artists thrive, will go towards enabling Black artists in YoutTube’s Class of 2022 to commercialise their work.

Grant applications for the YouTube Music scholarship powered by the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 open on 21 June 2021.

According to YouTube, eligibility has been expanded to include songwriters and producers, allowing Black artists in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, UK, US, Brazil and Australia to apply.

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The platform also announced the launch of a new partnership with renowned music education institution 1500 Sound Academy, founded by Grammy-award winning songwriters and producers James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson.

“Through the inaugural #YouTubeBlack Music Future Insiders Scholarship, YouTube will fund 10 full-ride YouTube Music scholarships to the Academy’s Live Online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals programme,” it said,

YouTube EMEA MD for emerging markets Alex Okosi (formerly of Viacom CBS Africa) expressed his excitement about the programme.

“The six-month scholarship term will see recipients undertake courses in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business and much more,” Okosi said in a statement.

#YouTubeBlack Voices Fund achievements thus far

The 21 grant recipients in the inaugural Class of 2021 achieved incredible growth, not only on YouTube but also in their careers.

This is thanks to resources such as one-on-one support, seed funding, training and networking programmes that helped recipients achieve:

  • A collective 1.4 billion views on their official artist channels in four months (January through April 2021).
  • Over 50% growth in official artist channel subscribers for six hard working artists.
  • 200% growth on their official artist channel views for four artists.
  • Sho Madjozi, Sauti Sol and Fireboy DML hosted exclusive live stream virtual concerts on each of their official artist channels for Africa Month.
  • Rexx Life Raj, Joy Oladokun and Tkay Maidza performed at YouTube’s annual Brandcast event.
  • Mariah The Scientist performed an exclusive live set for YouTube Music Nights from Centre Stage in Atlanta, US in support of the National Independent Venue Association.

What’s next for YouTube Music?

Another programme called Future Insiders, which aims to equip at risk and underserved youths who aspire to enter the music and creative industries with skills in content development, will be expanded globally later this year.

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In a further effort to celebrate Black culture, YouTube Music has activated #YouTubeMusic Moments – a collection of content series, live streams and events whose primary goal is to celebrate Black culture, identity and experiences from the perspective of Black artists and thought leaders in music.

YouTube concluded its statement by adding that it remains committed to being an advocate and ally of the diverse communities that call the platform home. This is despite not publicly commenting on the conduct of one of its early Black Voices grant funding recipients, Macgyver MacG Mukwevho, when he repeatedly offended the LGBTIQ+ community in the past few months.

YouTube has promised to continue to expand its efforts to support other marginalised and underrepresented communities.