Welcome class of 2023: YouTube’s Black Voices Fund is open for business

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YouTube’s Black Voices Fund is finally open for business and has amplified voices of unique talent such as Sho Madjozi. Photo: shomadjozi / Instagram
YouTube’s Black Voices Fund is finally open for business and has amplified voices of unique talent such as Sho Madjozi. Photo: shomadjozi / Instagram


Over the years, we have watched countless black people make strides in the media and create content that delves into the experiences and hardships they face amid a long history of black media suppression.

It seems social networks are quickly catching onto the buzz, and are creating new and engaging avenues for black people to continue to redefine what media looks like for them.

YouTube has just announced that applications for its Black Voices Fund are open.

The Black Voices Fund was started in 2020 to bring new and innovative narratives about black experiences to the forefront of the streaming platform, which has over 2.6 billion users as of 2022.

Since its creation, 300 grantees have been afforded the opportunity to further their creative ventures. Previous cohorts were from countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Kenya and the US.

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YouTube’s lead for Southern Africa Zeph Masote said, “The African creator community is filled with so many talented, brilliant, passionate, and driven creatives, and we’re honoured to equip these talented creators and artists with additional resources to match their drive.

At YouTube, we’ve always tried to facilitate the rise of diverse voices, all-inclusive of gender and race.

Through the Black Voices Fund, in the past two years, we’ve been able to amplify the perspectives and experiences of these diverse creators.”

Some of the country’s previous grantees include talents we have come to adore in South African pop culture today, such as Lasizwe Dambuza, who you may know for his outlandish videos and quote-worthy punchlines, and John Cena hitmaker Sho Madjozi.

 Lasizwe Dambuz
BVF alumni Lasizwe Dambuza. Photo: Instagram

The class of 2023 has been allocated a whopping $100 million (R1.6 billion), as well as prestigious partnerships with a community-based group Future Insiders Programme, which recently expanded to Africa.

This will also help over 180 at-risk youth who are interested in pursuing a career in the creative industry.

Recipients of the grant will be afforded funding for the development of their channels, partner support, training, workshops and networking programmes.

Participants will take part in quarterly sessions that cover YouTube success (a complete how-to), career routes, access to exclusive talent and access to thought leaders.

Applicants can include musicians, beauty entrepreneurs, health and fitness businesspersons, activists, poets, photographers, gamers, performers and dancers.

Masote said: 

Africa is a melting pot of incredible talent. We are so excited to find more amazing creatives with this next round of applications.

For more information on the Black Voices Fund or to apply, visit


Janice Phiri  

Culture Writer

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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