Nairobi News


YouTube celebrates Black Voices in Africa with Nairobi event

YouTube has reaffirmed its dedication to amplifying Black voices in Africa through a two-day event held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The event celebrated the 2023 #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund grantees and provided them with an opportunity to connect, network, and collaborate with other creators.

More than 100 Black creators from around the world participated in the celebrations, showcasing the impact that the YouTube Black Voices Fund has had since its inception.

Launched in 2020, the YouTube Black Voices Fund aims to invest in talent and present fresh narratives that highlight the intellectual power and authenticity of Black voices.

The programme has supported over 500 creators and artists, enabling them to grow their channels and expand their audiences.

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund not only celebrates but also nurtures Black artistry on a global scale. It forms an integral part of YouTube’s commitment to supporting Africa’s creative ecosystem.

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The platform plays a vital role in the discovery and development of African culture, and the fund takes it a step further by equipping emerging Black creators, artists, songwriters, and producers with the resources they need to thrive on the platform.

“When we announced the $100 million fund to amplify Black and African voices and perspectives on our platform, we wanted to create a space where Black people can share their own stories, in their own voices, with the world. The fund has, in many ways, created opportunities to amplify, celebrate, and cultivate Black artistry for a global audience,” said Alex Okosi, YouTube’s Managing Director of Emerging Markets, EMEA.

President William Ruto when he hosted YouTube content creators at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Participating in the BVF program has had a life-changing impact on creators. Nigerian content creator Osereme Egbor of Styleby Reme expressed how being part of the Class of 2023 transformed her life, allowing her to move from sharing a room with her sister to having her own space.

She was also able to upgrade her filming equipment, enhancing the quality of her videos.

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In addition to financial support, creators received one-on-one mentorship and attended classes focused on revenue growth strategies.

Kenyan creator Wongel Zelalem praised the classes, saying: “I was given a strategic manager who was dedicated to helping me and providing solutions to my problems. That was something that I didn’t know I needed in my life.”

South African creator Thato Rampedi also shared positive feedback, saying, “YouTube Black has taught me a whole lot of things about how to be a really good creator.”

The growth of these creator channels has been tangible across the continent. YouTube data from December 2022 reveals significant increases in revenue-generating channels.

In South Africa, the number of channels making 100k or more in revenue (ZAR) rose by over 30 per cent year-on-year.

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Nigeria saw an increase of over 15 per cent, while Kenya experienced a growth rate of over 25 per cent.

Furthermore, in Nigeria, more than 45 channels have surpassed 1 million subscribers, marking a 50 per cent increase year-on-year.

South Africa had 25 channels reach the 1 million subscriber milestone, an increase of over 30 per cent, while Kenya saw more than a 110 percent increase with over 14 channels surpassing 1 million subscribers.

Beyond the Black Voices Fund, YouTube remains committed to prioritizing and centering Black creators, artists, and content through various programs, initiatives, and platform improvements.

The platform continues to invest in strategic partnerships with culturally relevant organizations to reach and support even more creators and artists.

“We’re committed to ensuring that Black creators from Africa and around the world find a home on YouTube, and we are investing in strategic partnerships with culturally relevant organizations to ensure that we can reach and help even more creators and artists,” Okosi concluded.

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