June is Black Music Appreciation Month in America. YouTube Music decided to reflect on the African-American experience through sound as part of the celebration.
Tuma Basa, Director of Black Music and Culture at YouTube, wrote a blog post titled “Black Music Is A Movement, Not a Moment.” The article highlights the platform’s music playlists and Roots Picnic live stream.
“Black Music Month may as well be renamed to ‘Range and Depth Month.’ That’s because it’s the time of the year where we get to really celebrate the range of genres and subgenres that originate from Black culture as well as how deep they’ve penetrated popular music. We’re going in!” states Tuma Basa.
YouTube also announced a second-year partnership with 1500 Sound Academy for the #YouTubeBlack Music Future Insiders Scholarship program. Aspiring students can participate in 1500 Sound Academy’s Music & Industry Fundamentals Live Online Program. The course offers lessons in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business, and more.
Additionally, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will continue. Over 300 grantees have received support from YouTube. Seed funding was invested into the development of their channels as well as bespoke training, workshops, and networking programs. An external program called YouTube Avenues is coming soon too.
“It’s not a coincidence that Black artists have made such an impact on YouTube. From my early years at Def Jam to my current work with YouTube, I’ve had a chance to see and work with the immeasurable genius of Black artistry. Black music is a heartbeat of culture and that’s why YouTube celebrates Black creativity today and everyday,” says Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music.
Throughout his career in the music industry, Lyor Cohen served as an executive for Def Jam Recordings and Warner Music Group. He was also one of the co-founders of 300 Entertainment. YouTube named Cohen as Global Head of Music in 2016.