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YouTube's Black Voices Fund announces its first five original works

Andrew Tarantola
·Senior Editor
·3-min read

Back in July (roughly 6 eons ago in 2020 parlance), YouTube announced the formation of a $100 million fund tasked with “amplifying” Black voices dubbed, “#YouTubeBlack Voices Fund.” Today, the streaming video site revealed the first five creative endeavors it is funding.

“Building on our work over the past several years, we’re taking this moment to examine how our policies and products are working for everyone ⁠— but specifically for the Black community ⁠— and close any gaps,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in at the time. “And more broadly, we will work to ensure Black users, artists, and creators can share their stories and be protected from hateful, white supremacist, and bullying content.”

The fund will invest in Black artists and storytellers over the next three years with the intent to “present fresh narratives that emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice,” Malik Ducard, VP of Content Partnerships wrote in a Wednesday blog post.

The first will be Resist, a 12-part documentary series which examines the fight agains Los Angeles county’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan in 2018 as well as “examines the issues of cash bail, unlawful arrest, over-policing of Black and brown neighborhoods, and mass incarceration.” It debuts on October 20th.

HBCU Homecoming 2020: Meet Me On The Yard will be a 2 hour livestream celebrating the homecoming traditions of Historic Black Colleges and Universities, since many school’s events have been canceled this year on account of the Covid pandemic. The event will also raise funds to be split evenly between the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund when it debuts October 24th.

The sequel to Bear Witness, Take Action — the Fund’s very first invested project — is slated for release come December designed to “inspire the platform’s global community to take action for racial justice uniting YouTube creators, public figures, and influential voices,” Ducard wrote. In addition to the livestream, this iteration will also include short-form content from the Black community describing their perspectives and experiences with racial inequality in America.

Once/if early 2021 ever rolls around, Onyx Family Dinner will feature the multi-generational Onyx family discussing the state of the world over, you guessed it, dinner. A weekly dinner guest will be invited to provide unique insights and subject matter expertise on the family’s wide-ranging topics of conversation. Later next year, Barbershop Medicine will have musicians, physicians, creators and the community sit down in a famous barbershop to discuss the health topics that most often impact regular folks — diabetes, cancer, mental health issues and more.

Additionally, the company is investing “in product and policy changes that will continue to advance YouTube’s mission of giving everyone a voice and showing them the world,” Ducard continued. That includes banning accounts that leave multiple hateful comments, streamlining creator moderation tools and generally beefing up enforcement on the rules already in place.