In June 2020, YouTube announced they would be launching a $100 million fund to support Black creativity and Black voices. In her “mid-year update to the YouTube community”, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki stated, “At YouTube, we believe Black lives matter and we all need to do more to dismantle systemic racism. We join in protest against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others before them”.
Fast forward to October and the global fund has been officially named the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund. In a company blog post, content partnerships vice-president Malik Ducard wrote, “This global fund will be used to acquire and produce YouTube Originals programming, focused on Black experiences around the world, and to directly support Black creators and artists so that they can thrive on YouTube”.
Here are the five new and returning YouTube Originals from the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund:
The 12 episode documentary series premieres on October 20. The series follows the grassroots work of Los Angeles organisations fighting the county’s proposed $3.5 billion jail expansion. The docu-series is co-produced by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
HBCU Homecoming 2020: Meet Me On The Yard
With HCBUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) across America cancelling their annual Homecoming events due to the pandemic, YouTube will broadcast Homecoming celebrations virtually on October 24. The livestream will be filled with Homecoming traditions to raise money for the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Bear Witness, Take Action Part Two
This is the working title of a livestream that follows on from the original ‘Bear Witness, Take Action’ teleconference. The broadcast, which will premiere in December, will feature stories from Black creators and well-known figures while raising funds for organisations fighting racial injustice.
Onyx Family Dinner
The new series will star the multi-generational Onyx Family as they engage in open conversations over dinner about what is happening in the world. The series will be made for kids and families and is slated for early 2021.
This working title production is set to premiere during 2021 and will explore the impact of race and socioeconomic status on healthcare and longevity. The special will bring together physicians, creators, musicians and community members to discuss today’s most crucial health concerns, all while in a barbershop.
Additionally, there are several YouTube Originals that were developed before the launch of the #YouTubeBalck Voices Fund that also centre on global Black experiences and address racial justice. These Originals include Together We Rise (streaming now on GRM Daily’s YouTube Channel), Trapped: Cash Bail in America (October 12), a special episode of BookTube featuring Jason Reynolds (October 22), new episodes of Lockdown (November 19), The Outsiders (February 2021), and Glad You Asked Season 2 (February 2021).