YouTube has released a roaster of 54 black artists, songwriters and producers that will participate in the 2022 music class of its annual #YouTubeBlack Voices and eight African music talents made the list. Two fast-growing Nigerian musicians Omah Lay and CKay, whose music continue to dominate the global airwaves, make the cut. Azawi from Uganda and South Africa’s Elaine are the other two African artists on the list.

Four African producers were also selected: P.Priime and Telz from Nigeria, and South Africa’s Major League DJz and DJ Lag joined other black songwriters/producers from across the world.

The programme is created to support black creatives across the world with funds and mentorship that will help them grow their craft. Before now, the programme only focused on recording artistes, but the company said it’s adding songwriters and producers to this year’s cohort to demonstrate its continual efforts to support black artists on the platform.

The six-month programmes will be grouped into two sub-classes: one for artists and one for songwriters and producers. Participants will each receive dedicated support like seed funding to invest in the development of their channels and opportunities to participate in training and networking programs focused on the production, develop their catalogues, fan engagement and well being.

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“African music is taking the entire world by storm and the YouTube Black Voices Fund is an opportunity to both celebrate and nurture African artistry and help songwriters, producers and artists share their craft with global audiences.” YouTube’s Sub-Saharan Head of Music, Addy Awofisayo, said. “Black culture is expansive and ever-changing and YouTube Music is committed to celebrating that experience through music.”

African music, especially Nigerian Afrobeat, continues to dominate globally and the 2022 cohort is evidence of that fact. For instance, the 2021 cohort only had three African acts: Fireboy DML from Nigeria, Sauti Sol from Kenya, and South Africa’s Sho Madjozi. That’s five more persons when compared to this recent announcement. 

Speaking on making the list, Omah Lay said, “I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund having an impact on my career in different ways. It would allow me to provide content about my musical journey to my fans, and in marketing them to a greater audience.” 

Damilare Dosunmu Author

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