YouTube Music launched the #YouTubeBlack Voices in 2020 with an aim of equipping black artists with the resources and support they need to thrive and invest in amplifying the voices, perspectives and stories of black artists across the globe.
The video-sharing platform has since increased and expanded the funding to accommodate songwriters and producers. YouTube is providing scholarships in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing and music business to a selected group of musicians for a period of six months.
Africans who made the cut include:
Ugandan female artist Awazi
Her style is a fusion of African rhythms and sounds, heavily influenced by her own life experiences through traditional music. Awazi is passionate about writing songs.
“I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund availing my work and brand to a bigger audience and platform, which means more exposure and opportunities for my career.” Awazi says.
Omah Lay from Nigeria
He has a strong background that influences his music. Born in Port Harcourt, the Nigerian culture and environment have played a big role in how he creates music.
“My music speaks to the people that love me, the people I love, and the people who have been through what I have been through. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund impacting my career in different ways. It will ease the financial burden of production for my music and some lifestyle-related content that I am embarking on, as well as in marketing them to a greater audience,” he says.
Elaine from South Africa
His music stems from her deep love for RnB and iconic black women such as Whitney Houston, Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa. Her music is warm, honest and a representation of her hopeless romantic character.
“I’m constantly inspired by my experiences and my deep love for turning my feelings into art. The Fund will give me — a Black South African girl — the platform to be heard, seen, and celebrated on a global stage.” she says.
Ckay from Nigeria
He started out in music by writing his songs and playing the piano and guitar. He was inspired by his father who conducted a choir in church.
Since then, the knowledge of his instruments and digital production have formed an important part throughout his music-making progress.
“My traditional South-Eastern origin explains my use of Igbo language in my music as well as my extensive knowledge of highlife music,” he says.
Other black artists who made it for #YouTubeBlack’s 2022 class are artists from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Cuba and Australia.