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.
Reigny, Abraham Exit Nigerian Idol as Live Show Heats up
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The duo of Reigny and Abraham have been evicted from the Nigerian Idol Season 8 after garnering the least number of votes from the viewers last week, which was the second week of the live show, leaving contestants vying for the top prize.
The remaining contestants performed last Sunday to the delight of the viewers, who are expected to vote further to keep them on the show.
Over the weekend, the host of the music talent hunt, IK Osakioduwa, announced to the audience that a contestant would be sent packing before any performance for scoring the least votes.
After dimming the light, he announced Abraham, who was devastated that it was the end of the road for him on the programme. A week earlier, he performed Michael Bolton’s Go The Distance, and some described this as the best performance of the week, but the viewers thought otherwise.
After taking five performances from the other contestants, the anchor returned to announce the exit of Reigny as the voters were not too impressed with her rendition of Heaven Sent by Keyshia Cole a week earlier.
The eight contestants remaining on the programme performed for the theme of the week, Billboard songs. They rendered some top-of-the-chart tracks.
Being the first to hit the stage immediately after the eviction was not easy. Commendably, Quest showed no emotional lapses as she set the ball rolling with an elegant performance of Damages by Tems, and was followed by Savy Henry, who performed It’s Plenty by Burnaboy.
Precious Mac had the first standing ovation of the season after another splendid vocal performance of Overload by Mavin Records All-stars, while Chisom got everyone on their feet with his rendition of Peace Be Unto You by Asake.
Another contestant, Goodness, did not fail to impress with Ladipoe’s Feelings, as Constance showed that she could cope with the pressure by delivering Alone by Burnaboy, while Ose Daniel, in his usual calm manner, delivered Bandana by Fireboy, as Victory capped another splendid Nigerian Idol Season 8 week with his smooth performance of As it Was by Harry Styles.
Viewers can still vote to keep their favourite contestants on the show through the different voting channels. They can access 100 votes on the Africa Magic website and another 100 votes on the mobile site, and 2500 votes on MyDStv or MyGOtv app. Voting closes on Thursday, June 8, at 9 pm.
Forces of Change in the Creative Industries – Going Beyond Tech
By Amine Djouahra
As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2023, we have all become more comfortable with change and disruption. Whether it is the pandemic, environmental factors, unstable global economic conditions, or tech evolution, we have learned to bounce back quickly. One industry that has had to be particularly agile during the past few years is the filmmaking industry.
Canon’s new report (written in conjunction with The Future Laboratory) – The Future of Filmmaking, reveals the industry’s efforts to be a catalyst of change that inspires the creative industry to transform its narrative and to shine its spotlight on topics that will be significant in shaping the future of our world, and that of the African continent.
Interestingly, the report sheds light on the human landscape and its power to create, cultivate, and drive change. The power of people ultimately makes things happen and pushes us toward progress and advancement in any industry. The report highlights four crucial aspects that may be driven by tech but not necessarily led by tech. In my view, these are significant factors directly proportional to the content creation and filmmaking industries and will undoubtedly shape the future of these industries.
Rise of the Creative Class
According to the UNESCO report, global cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are estimated to generate about $2.25 trillion annually, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP and employment of around 30 million people worldwide. It is fascinating to see the rise of this creator economy, which the report identifies as the “New Creative Class”. As we witnessed an unprecedented boom in digitalisation over the last 10 years, this creative class sprang into action using technologies to deliver a fresh and novel take on content creation.
If we lens in on the African continent, which is closer to home and more interesting to me, we see some remarkable trends in the creative economy. In Nigeria, as this report shows, the sector employs 4.2 million people and is expected to employ a further 2.7 million by 2025, an increase of more than 50% in the next two years.
Despite the significant contribution made by the new creative class toward societal and economic progress, there still seems to be a gap in recognition compared to other industries. The emerging community of content creators is striving to achieve fair working conditions, equitable payment models, and new standards in the industry that reflect their value and contributions. This is a positive development for the creative sector in its rightful plea to be recognised and treated fairly compared to other industries.
The explosion of digital technologies may have given us the power to do anything from anywhere, but like all things, too much of anything is not always good and has its consequences. An interesting trend emerged with the plethora of content choices that suddenly became available for audiences to consume worldwide. People slowly started taking their eyes off the global stage and shifted their gaze towards local and homemade content that told stories of their land and their people.
Given our natural desire as humans to find meaning, connectivity, and relatability, the narrative of authentic stories led independent storytellers, documentary-makers, content creators, and filmmakers to explore topics that local people resonate with. So, it’s no surprise that global streaming giants like Netflix and Disney are investing in Africa to tap the unexplored potential and talent. The report encapsulates the essence of the ‘Stay global, go local’ movement and asserts that media organisations and creative firms will progressively be compelled to shift sight closer to home when it comes to entertainment and content production.
The current climate crisis affects us all, no matter which industry or walk of life we come from. The severity of climate change needs to be taken seriously globally, and genuine efforts must be made for scaled initiatives to reduce our carbon footprints. The streaming industry is no exception to this; the carbon impact of the industry drastically needs to be reduced by adopting a more sustainable approach towards this issue.
The report underpins the significance of consumer demand as a key driver toward adopting sustainable practices and better industry standards. With people gaining more awareness about the environmental impact of their consumption choices, they are likely to demand pro-environmental practices, thus compelling the industry to adopt a pro-active approach towards sustainability.
The Future of Filmmaking report highlights the positive development of inclusivity and diversity. It emphasises that the new creative class is at the forefront of inclusivity and is not afraid to challenge the already-established broadcasters. This new generation of creators identifies technology to harness change and propel social progress. Decentralisation will be a key trend touching every area of the industry, from financing to licensing and distribution and more, creating new opportunities for the underrepresented creators and bringing them closer to their fans.
Continuing the Legacy of Storytelling
These trends are a wake-up call to many in the industry to pay attention to the changing needs of people and to evolve with them. However, we must always return to the basics and remember the importance of telling stories. While these trends affect the industry by and large, the shifts create more freedom for storytellers to come forth and tell their stories in unique and inspiring ways, enabling them to create content that is responsive to the tastes, locations, and ethics of their audiences in a way that has never been possible before.
All in all, the report tells me that this is an exciting time to be a creator, with the industry opening its doors to new opportunities that reflect change, growth, development, and progress.
Amine Djouahra is the B2C BU Director for Canon Central & North Africa
Africa Day: YouTube Honours Nollywood, African Storytelling
Nollywood stars, creators, and creative community members gathered together at a YouTube event titled Celebration of Nollywood on Africa Day.
This event celebrated the enchanting world of Nollywood and marked the significant contributions of African storytelling through cinema, paying tribute to the creators who bring these narratives to life.
The event welcomed 150 attendees and assembled prominent celebrities and influential personalities from the Nollywood industry.
Notable guests included veteran actress Sola Sobowale, AMVCA comedian of the year Bimbo Ademoye, Adeyemi Okanlawon, Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni, and Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman.
Top Nigerian YouTube content creators such as Apaokagi-Greene Maryam aka Taaooma, AMVCA award winner Samuel Animashaun Perry aka Broda Shaggi, and Chukwuebuka Emmanuel Amuzie aka Brainjotter, also graced the event.
Among the sessions at the event was a panel discussion addressing Nollywood’s growth and the potential of digital technology in the industry. The panellists, including Murphy Ben, CEO of Murphy Ben International and Aforevo, YouTube content creator Taaooma, and Nollywood actress and movie producer Rahama Sadau, shared invaluable insights on leveraging digital technology for industry growth and scalability.
Alex Okosi, YouTube EMEA Managing Director for Emerging Markets, acknowledged the significant impact of Nollywood and the transformative power of storytelling.
He emphasized YouTube’s dedication to partnering with Nollywood and serving as a platform where meaningful stories are shared and celebrated globally.
Okosi stated, “Your work is reshaping global narratives about Africa and Nigeria. It’s not merely entertainment – it’s powerful, transformative, and making a real difference. The stories you tell and the emotions you evoke resonate with audiences worldwide. YouTube is privileged to partner with you and provide a platform to share and celebrate these impactful narratives globally.”
Olumide Balogun, Interim Country Lead at Google Nigeria, shed light on YouTube’s commitment to supporting and promoting the Nollywood industry by promoting movies, actors, producers, and other industry members. He outlined a two-month-long program designed to spur the growth of Nollywood on YouTube.
Acclaimed actors, talented producers, and influential film community members enlivened the event, contributing to the celebratory ambience. The event showcased Africa’s dynamic culture and creativity, emphasising Nollywood’s significant role in shaping global perceptions and narratives.
In a world full of diverse stories, YouTube has remained committed to supporting black creatives across the globe, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the platform and beyond.
This commitment is exemplified by initiatives such as the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a global fund aimed at amplifying Black voices and perspectives and facilitating the creation of fresh narratives that educate audiences about racial justice. With a deep gratitude for the creative community, YouTube fosters an environment where diverse voices are heard, respected, and empowered.
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