In January of 2021, YouTube Music introduced the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and the inaugural #YouTubeBlackVoices Artist Class, a program created to amplify Black voices on YouTube. According to YouTube, the artist class receives dedicated partner support from YouTube, seed funding invested into the development of their channels, and participates in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement, and wellbeing.
With 2021 beginning to wrap (crazy, right!?), YouTube has just announced the #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2022! We’re proud to see a number of our distributed artists included in the upcoming Artist Class. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class is an eclectic group of artists that speak to the expansive range of Black talent – spanning location, genre, identity, and more. Congratulations to our distributed artists Monaleo (Stomp Down Records), Cimafunk (Terapia Productions/Thirty Tigers), NSG (NSG Entertainment), and Tai Verdes* (Arista Records) on being selected.
Find the official #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022 playlist here and read more on the selected The Orchard distributed artists below.
Monaleo (Stomp Down Records)
Houston, Texas, United States
Monaleo: “I would describe my music as unapologetic, vulgar, raunchy, and just free-spirited. I feel like Black culture in general inspires my sound and my lyrics. Also certain experiences inspire my lyrics, too. Most of the time my lyrics are based on situations that I am actually going through. I feel like that is what really influences my music. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will impact my career because as an independent artist, the majority of the time the things we have to worry about are how we are going to get the funds to really bring our vision and creativity to life? It will help me really show my true creativity and have the resources I need for a successful career.”
Cimafunk (Terapia Productions/Thirty Tigers)
Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Cimafunk: “My lyrics have a lot of the Cuban sayings, the slang, the flavor, and reflect the way we as Cubans communicate in a relaxed, care-free way. You can see my identity reflected not only in my sound, but in the way I present myself and my work visually. The clothes, the looks, everything is connected to my roots. The flared pants, the platform shoes, the African print shirt, and also when I wear a more modern take on a guayabera — a shirt that is the Cuban national garment. I believe that the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will also give visibility to and push the message of Black pride and Black awareness to more people: this feeling of being proud of who you are, feeling good about yourself, of embracing oneself and accepting how you are, accepting and being happy about being Black.”
NSG (NSG Entertainment)
London, England, United Kingdom
NSG: “We would describe our music as world music, a sort of vibe and feeling that can’t be located or reconstructed anywhere else. Our passion for music started from school and always recording ourselves, which grew into a hobby that we knew we were destined for greatness. The funding and opportunity with YouTube helps spread the message of NSG to a wider audience allowing us to infect more people with the vibe we bring to the music scene.”
Tai Verdes* (Arista Records)
Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, CA
Tai Verdes: “My music is my thoughts. I try to keep things super authentic and never sing about things that don’t feel real to me. Being vulnerable is just something that you can’t really compare to anything else. It’s like a superpower. My identity is just a combination of my past experiences and situations. I make the music for myself. I don’t really make it for anyone else. The best part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is that it lets me be even more creative. I can try things, make mistakes, and get better, which is the whole point of being an artist. This whole project is adding fuel to the fire, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
*Distributed by The Orchard excluding the U.S.