Black content creator fund initiatives
Black creators have played an important role in contributing to the success and creativity of social media platforms. In 2020, several social media platforms launched initiatives to recognize and support Black creators.
Black creators have been critical in social media platforms generating the momentum that they have in recent years. Whether that be by creating new trends, posting content that creates movements, or simply thinking of new ways to entertain. Social media sites have finally recognized the need to use their resources to give back to the underrepresented Black content creator community.
Several social media sites have introduced unique funds to drive further representation of the Black community and in this article we'll learn about each one.
TikTok announced in 2021 that it will be supporting Black content creators and music artists through the program “TikTok for Black Creatives.” The mission of the program is to support and amplify Black voices, and recognize the importance of diversity on the platform.
The program will consist of a three-month incubation with 100 Black creators and music artists, with the goal of opening new doors for them to reach their potential. The program will feature things such as town halls with successful Black entrepreneurs and celebrities, as well as educational events with TikTok executives.
TikTok also partnered with a multi-platform media company, MARCO, which represents the voices of people of colour. This partnership will provide a grant for the selected group of creators and musicians, which can be applied toward educational resources, production equipment, and other development tools. In addition to simply providing money to the participants, they will also advise on who should be the speakers, which content should be shown, and the professional networking opportunities offered.
The finalists for this fund will be released sometime in the coming months. Stay updated on the progress here: https://winners.teamdigital.com/tiktok.
Facebook has long been trying to find ways to promote diversity and inclusion on its platform. On August 6th, 2020, Facebook made the next step by introducing a $25 million funding program to assist Black creators, as well as $75 million in grants and ad credits for Black owned businesses.
Facebook summarizes this fund by saying:
“We want to empower the next generation of Black storytellers to become successful. By participating in this initiative, creators will receive the support they need to help them propel their careers to the next level, grow their community of followers, and build a business across Facebook Inc’s family of apps.”
In terms of the specifics, the program is only open to creators aged 18+ with a minimum of 10,000 followers on either Facebook or Instagram.
If you're selected to the program, you will be granted access to content funding, as well as educational and professional development programs, along with product support and community building resources.
YouTube announced in June 2020 that they will be launching a $100 million fund to amplify voices of Black creators on YouTube, by developing talent and funding new shows. The fund will be primarily used to support the creation of new YouTube Original programming and additionally support the development of Black content creators.
The program starts with a group of 132 creators from across six countries, which includes 21 music artists alongside photographers, lifestyle vloggers, personal trainers, and more. Through the program, YouTube plans to invest in a total of 500 creators by the end of 2023, with the goal to equip Black creators with the resources to succeed on the platform. These creators were selected based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, which was the campaign and event series promoting Black creators that was originally launched by Youtube in 2016.
Each creator that is involved in the class of 2021 will receive an unknown amount of funding to use as they see fit to develop their channels. This could be used to hire a video editor or purchasing equipment, for example. In addition to this, YouTube will provide training, workshops and networking opportunities.
For future cohorts, creators will have the opportunity to apply for this grant program through an application process, details of which YouTube has yet to disclose.
Halsey's Black creators funding initiative
Musician, Halsey, launched the Black Creators Funding Initiative (BCFI) in June 2020. The initiative is aimed “to give funds, resources, and a platform to black creators.” The fund will help Black creators of all practices and creative areas by amplifying their art and providing a platform for their voices and perspectives to be heard. Halsey and her team will be entirely funding the initiative. Halsey stated:
“If you’re an artist, poet, graphic designer, writer, filmmaker, music producer, journalist, makeup artist, or creator of any kind, we want to see your work and want to help achieve your goals.”
In order to be noticed, she encouraged her followers to tag their favourite Black creators in her posts, while using the #BLACKCREATORSFUND hashtag.
So what's next?
There's no doubt these funds came as a result from the global push in 2020 for racial justice, highlighting the ongoing systematic racism in our society. Social media platforms finally started giving recognition to Black creators for the impact they have on their sites, and showing accountability through dedicated Black initiatives.
More and more big tech companies are coming forward with similar commitments to the ones listed above. Apple launched a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. YouTube’s parent company, Google promised to fund $12 million to various organizations fighting systemic racism, while Amazon and Facebook both pledged to donate $10 million each to groups working on racial and social justice.
These initiatives aimed at empowering Black creators and artists are a great start, as they continue the conversation around racial injustices and help Black creators feel recognized and supported when entering into the creative space.
But we can't let this be a one time band-aid solution. We need to continue to support Black creators and businesses. You can support monetarily, through social engagement, and sharing with your friends. As we see a future filled with more and more creators, we hope to see more BIPOC initiatives lead the charge.