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YouTube Music Unveils New Scholarship Opportunities for Black Artists

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

An initiative aimed to empower Black artists and enable them to commercialise their work has been introduced by YouTube Music.

The new campaign, #YouTubeBlack Music Future Insiders Scholarship, is in partnership with a renowned music education institution, 1500 Sound Academy, founded by GRAMMY-award winning songwriters and producers, James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson.

Through this scheme, YouTube will fund 10 full-ride scholarships to the Academy’s Live Online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals programme.

Future Insiders aims to equip at-risk and underserved youth, who aspire to enter the music and creative industries, with skills in content development and following its early success, the programme will be expanded globally with more details to be shared later this year.

Moreover, 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.

Also, YouTube said it will begin to receive entries for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 from June 21, 2021.

This campaign will be open to songwriters, producers, amongst others living in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada and the United Kingdom, in addition to the United States, Brazil and Australia.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 is part of the commitments of YouTube Music to deepen its investments in Black communities.

This initiative started with the Class of 2021 and it provided resources including dedicated one-on-one support, seed funding, training and networking programs enabling the 21 grantees to achieve incredible growth, not only on YouTube but in their careers.

The beneficiaries received 1.4 billion views on their official channels on YouTube from January 2021 through April 2021.

In addition, six entertainers saw over 50 per cent growth in their channel subscribers (Joy Oladokun, Miiesha, BRS Kash, Jensen McRae, serpentwithfeet, and Yung Baby Tate), while four witnessed 200 per cent growth on their official channel views (serpentwithfeet, Jensen McRae, Yung Baby Tate, and Joy Oladokun).

Also, as part of YouTube Music’s Africa Month celebration, Sho Madjozi, Sauti Sol, and Fireboy DML, hosted exclusive live stream virtual concerts on each of their official artist channels, while Rexx Life Raj, Joy Oladokun, and Tkay Maidza performed at YouTube’s annual Brandcast event, with Mariah The Scientist performing an exclusive live set for YouTube Music Nights from Centre Stage in Atlanta, in support of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

“The YouTube Music team is excited to expand the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and create new opportunities while also reflecting on the progress made to date,” says Alex Okosi, YouTube’s EMEA managing director for emerging markets.

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

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