Black creators have played an important role in shaping the culture on YouTube. From fashion and comedy to politics, learning and wellness, Black creators have raised the bar for how creators engage with their audience, build community, and propel our platform forward. The #YouTubeBlack community is filled with so many talented, brilliant, passionate, and driven creatives, and we’re honored to equip these awesome creators with additional resources to match their drive.
We’re excited to spotlight Black creatives and to continue to center both their voices and perspectives. As part of that mission, we developed the #YouTubeBlack Voices grant program -- an initiative dedicated to investing in Black creators and artists, and equipping them with the resources to succeed on our platform. This grant program is part of our larger #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a global, multi-year commitment to empower Black creators and artists on our platform, as well as to produce and acquire new YouTube Original programs, focusing on racial justice and Black experiences.
In 2016 some of the largest and most-influential Black creators on YouTube came together for the first-ever #YouTubeBlack Summit. That moment was the start of a movement — both on our platform and off — that became the #YouTube Black community. Over the years we’ve continued to partner and build specific programming for the #YouTube Black community — summits, workshops and events like #YouTubeBlack FanFest.
We’re building on that momentum, and today, after many months of collaboration, we’re excited to introduce you to our inaugural class of #YouTubeBlack Voices creator grantees from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, who are part of our 132 creators from across the world who are participating in the Class of 2021.
In the coming months, we will work closely with the Class of 2021. This will include dedicated partner support, seed funding invested into the development of their channels, and participation in an intensive development program that will focus on training in production, community engagement and wellbeing, followed by ongoing workshops and networking programs.
The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is only part of the comprehensive work currently underway to make YouTube a place where Black artists, creators, and users can share their stories and feel protected. We continue to invest in product and policy changes to meet that goal. We recently provided an update on our work to make YouTube a more inclusive platform, including how we handle harmful and hateful comments.
Today, we’re also proud to announce that Fireboy DML, Sauti Sol and Sho Madjozi will be amongst the artists joining the #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021. These artists join 18 other artists from the United States, Brazil, and Australia whose music spans generations, and locations. Whether drawing inspiration from R&B, reggaeton, emo, afrobeats, rap, punk, country, funk, or spaces beyond, their work expresses the power of their vision and their passion for pushing their communities and music forward.
The Artist Class of 2021 will receive dedicated partner support from YouTube, seed funding invested into the development of their channels, and participate in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement, and wellbeing.
This is the first round of investments we are making in creators and artists from the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund. Over the next few years, we will directly invest in 500+ creators and artists from across the world to support, grow, and fund their channels and content development.
Please meet the #YouTubeBlack Voices Creator Class of 2021!*
Akah Bants | Lagos, NigeriaAkah Bants: Akah Nnani is a critically acclaimed Nigerian-born actor, YouTube creator, producer and TV host. He started his YouTube channel in 2015 from a desire to share his opinions without the barriers of traditional media. His channel features comedy, personal stories, political commentary, and vlogs — and has resonated with Black viewers across several countries. Akah is passionate about the mental and social emancipation of Nigerians, and lends his voice to challenging leaders in his country to uphold excellence in governance.
Dimma Umeh | Lagos, NigeriaDimma Umeh: Dimma Umeh is an award-winning blogger and vlogger. Regularly featured on Nigerian websites, her YouTube videos have garnered over 25 million views since she started her channel in 2015. She's been featured on CNN's innovate Africa and in local and international publications, including Essence, Genevieve magazine and Guardian Life.
Eric Okafor | Lagos, NigeriaEric Okafor: Eric Okafor, also known as Knewkeed, is a YouTuber and content creator. He is best known for his technology-focused videos, and is one of the top tech creators in Nigeria and West Africa. After starting his career as an on-air media personality and a digital marketer, Eric decided in 2016 to focus full-time on growing his career as a YouTube creator. He gained international recognition in 2018 for his Y9 Huawei unboxing video and has continued to grow his reach and influence.
Financial Bunny | Johannesburg, South AfricaFinancial Bunny: Nicolette Mashile is a champion of personal-finance education across the African continent. She has been a content creator since 2017 and is the best-selling author of the recent financial literacy book, “What’s Your Move.” She is also a television personality, property investor, and MBA candidate.
Fireboy DML | Lagos, NigeriaFireboy DML: “I make Afrobeats, but with a bit more soul and lyricism. That’s the spice I bring that makes me different. I’m inspired by human emotions and how they affect our decisions. And I’m on a mission to further cement my sound in other parts of the world, pushing afrobeats to the global scene.”
Kaluhis Kitchen | Nairobi, KenyaKaluhi’s Kitchen: Content creator and author Kaluhi Adagala started Kaluhi’s Kitchen in 2016 as a food channel for the everyday person looking to elevate Kenyan classics to a more fun and modern version. Kaluhi uses local, sustainable, affordable, and easy to find ingredients, along with visual step-by-step guides for her unique recipes. Kaluhi loves telling stories through food and has been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Food Network, and CNN.
Kay Yarms | Johannesburg, South AfricaKay Yarms: Kay Ngonyama, known as Kay Yarms, started her YouTube channel in 2017. She has quickly grown her fanbase through a variety of lifestyle videos, including make-up tutorials, vlogs, and product reviews.
Lade Owolabi | Abeokuta, NigeriaLade Owolabi: Lade Owolabi is on her life’s mission is to help others become the best version of themselves. She is a personal brand strategist and content creator. Lade makes videos on faith, family, and lifestyle topics.
Iamdodos90 | Lagos, NigeriaIamdodos90: Dodos Uvieghara is a beauty and lifestyle creator who started on YouTube in 2015. She ispassionate about empowering women to feel beautiful and confident through sharing her love for beauty, fashion, and lifestyle topics on her channel.
Lasizwe Dambuza | Johannesburg, South AfricaLasizwe Dambuza: Born and raised in Pimville, Soweto, Lasizwe Dambuza began his video creation journey in 2014. His videos have gone on to achieve viral success, and he now has a reality show on MTV Africa that is currently in its third season. He has won numerous awards and recognition for his work.
MacG | Midrand, South AfricaMacG: MacG’s channel features weekly episodes of conversations between long time friends Macgyver Mukwevho and Lenn Moleko and Ghost Lady. These discussions cover everything—as MacG says, nothing is off limits.
Mitchelle Adagala | Nairobi, KenyaMitchelle Adagala: Mitchelle Adagala is a Certified Personal Trainer and the owner & founder of THRIVE FITNESS. She started her YouTube channel in 2017 and focuses on all things health, wellness and fitness.
Mumo | Nairobi, KenyaMumo: Mumo is a photographer and videographer whose channel focuses on helping entrepreneurs. He provides business ideas, tips on how to get started as an entrepreneur, and step-by-step tutorials. Mumo is looking to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and help people all over the world get answers to their business questions.
Ofentse Mwase Films | Johannesburg, South AfricaOfentse Mwase Films: Ofentse and Nelisiwe Mwase are filmmakers who started on YouTube in 2007. They specialize in making comedy and music videos, as well as commercials, short films and corporate video projects. They love storytelling and creating great visuals.
Oscarmini | Abuja, NigeriaOscarmini: Oscar Frank has been in love with tech for as long as he can remember. He started a tech blog in 2010 when he was still a teenager, and evolved the content into his current YouTube channel in 2018. His goals are to help his audience better understand and use their tech, as well as to make the right purchasing decision after watching his videos.
Owamie Hlongwane Entertainment | Free State, South AfricaOwamie Hlongwane Entertainment: Owamie Hlongwane is a 30-year-old YouTuber from the village of Gaba in Venda. Content creation is her passion—she focuses on beauty, lifestyle, and entertainment. Owamie started uploading videos in 2017.
Patricia Kihoro | Nairobi, KenyaPatricia Kihoro: Patricia Kihoro is a Kenyan-based singer, actress, radio presenter, digital content curator, improv comedian, and entrepreneur who loves potatoes, travel, music, performance, working out, riding around Nairobi on boda bodas, and most of all, laughter. She started her channel in 2009, and returned to YouTube in 2017 to showcase her city, her singing (sometimes to her food), her friends and family, travel, and festivals. Patricia loves to celebrate African brands, innovators, art, and culture with a strong bias towards music. She aims to have her audience leave in good spirits and with positive energy, having learnt something new.
Sauti Sol | Nairobi, Kenya
Sauti Sol: “Our identity informs our sonics, our storytelling, and our fashion. Much like our country, Kenya, our music is multi-layered, with an East Africa groove. Our passion is for the craft and artistry of music, and our music is a soundtrack to people’s lives.”
Sho Madjozi | Limpopo, South AfricaSho Madjozi: “My music is loud. It sounds current, it sounds urgent. Ultimately, it’s a screenshot of life as a young African woman. Whether it’s asserting my independence, whether it’s talking about love, or lost love. I want to be remembered as someone who made it cool to be African and cool to be yourself, someone that presented new ways or different ways of being at this time. More than anything, I want a more equal future, where the color of your skin or the village you happen to be born in does not have a significant impact on how far you can go.”
Thato Rampedi | Pretoria, South AfricaThato Rampedi: Thato Rampedi is a digital entrepreneur who has been creating for the past three years. He produces content that varies in style and spans multiple genres, His series #MoTee explores relationships, and his series #TheSitDownZA brings his friends into conversations about their upbringing and current lives. Thato also creates comedy videos with his brother and incorporates his friends and family into his vlogs.
Toast with Naledi | Johannesburg, South AfricaToast with Naledi: Naledi Monamodi’s channel is centered around storytelling and sharing her past experiences to entertain, heal, and motivate others. Naledi looks to warm her way into people’s hearts with her content—and hope all viewers find a friend or sister in her.
Tomike Adeoye | Lagos, NigeriaTomike Adeoye: Tomike Adeoye is a YouTube creator, TV presenter, entrepreneur, and actress. She began vlogging in 2018, capturing moments and events so that her audience can experience her life along with her. She focuses on authenticity and bringing joy to her audience.
Zeelicious Foods | Lagos, NigeriaZeelicious Foods: Winnie Emmanuel is a food content creator, food consultant, and recipe consultant who started on YouTube in 2017. She teaches people how to make a variety of African and Nigerian-inspired recipes to help them expand their repertoire of dishes.