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YouTube greenlights original slate geared towards Black voices, culture

Global video streaming platform YouTube has bolstered its programming with a slate of new and returning non-fiction projects, dedicated to amplifying Black voices. The titles include projects greenlit as a direct result ...
October 7, 2020

Global video streaming platform YouTube has bolstered its programming with a slate of new and returning non-fiction projects, dedicated to amplifying Black voices.

The titles include projects greenlit as a direct result of the recently announced #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, which is granting US$100 million to feature the voices of Black creators on its platform by developing talent and funding content.

“YouTube is committed to spotlighting community-driven storytelling and the important issues that people of color and other marginalized communities face everyday,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube Originals, in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s essential that we develop, support, and elevate content that is created by and for the Black community.”

The global fund will be used over the next three years to acquire and produce YouTube Originals programming, while also directly supporting Black creators and artists to help them thrive on YouTube.

Among the non-fiction YouTube Originals stemming from the fund is the 12-part docuseries Resist, which follows the grassroots work of the organizations fighting the Los Angeles county’s US$3.5 billion jail expansion plan in 2018.

The project, from Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, will additionally examine the issues of cash bail, unlawful arrest, over-policing of Black and brown neighborhoods, and mass incarceration.

Resist is produced by Blackpills and Pulse Films and is slated to premiere later this month. Executive producers are Patrisse Cullors, dream hampton, Mervyn Marcano, Thomas Benski, Marisa Clifford, Robin Frank, Tani Ikeda, Kai Bowe, Davey Spens, Clara Levy and Philipe Haim.

Garrett Hubbard’s one-off documentary Trapped: Cash Bail in America will explore the ways in which activists are working to reform America’s criminal justice system and its inherent economic and racial inequalities. Chris L. Jenkins produces.

Trapped: Cash Bail in America premieres Oct. 12.

Elsewhere, The Outsiders is a four-part series that will explore the Black visionaries who have been succeeded despite being excluded and marginalized by society because of their race. The series will feature writers, artists, performers, athletes, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Directed by Simon Frederick (Black is the New Black, They Gotta Have Us) and produced by Atelier Frederick’s AFL Films, The Outsiders is slated to premiere in February 2021.

Finally, the tentatively titled one-off film Barbershop Medicine, slated for 2021, will look to examine the impact that race and socioeconomic status have on healthcare. Set in a barbershop, the special will bring together renowned physicians, musicians, creators and community leaders to discuss health concerns and raise awareness on such topics as vaccines, diabetes, cancer and mental health. Produced by Macro Television Studios, the special is executive produced by Charles D. King, Marta Fernandez, Jelani Johnson and Alisha Corpas Wynn.

“Race has never been an easy issue to confront but the events over the last few months have opened up doors of dialogue and action that had once seemed closed,” added Malik Ducard, YouTube’s VP of content partnerships. “Across YouTube, we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to contribute to these conversations about racial justice in a meaningful way. Through our $100 million content fund and other initiatives, we are continuing the important work of amplifying Black voices, making YouTube a better place for Black creators, educating people on the diversity of the Black experience, and centering Black people as the messengers of their own stories.”

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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