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Here's YouTube's Black Voices Creator Class of 2021

YouTube Announces Black Voices Creator Class of 2021

South Africa and Nigeria dominate YouTube's 2021 Black Voices Creator class. Nicollette Mashile, Lasizwe Dambuza, Kay Ngonyama, Lade Owolabi, Akah Bants and more have made it onto the list.

YouTube has released the full list of Africa's most creative YouTube content creators for the #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021. The highly contested annual list recognises Africa's original YouTube content creators from various genres including art, finance, business, comedy, education, health and wellness. Twenty of Africa's most popular and consistent content creators were selected. South Africa and Nigeria both have eight representatives while Kenya has four.


Read: YouTube Announces 'Black Voices Fund' for African Creators

Representing South Africa is Nicollette Mashile who is known by her social media name, Financial Bunny. She has been creating content on financial advise since 2017. Lasizwe Dambuza, on the other hand, is known for his comedic sketches which have often gone viral and secured him a reality show on MTV Africa. Ofentse Mwase Films is the married duo who create original short films, series and music videos.

Lifestyle vloggers Kay Yarms and Owamie Hlongwane have made the list and have been in the game since 2017. Thato Rampedi is also a part of the class for his conversational channel and MacG, for his podcasts which boast the appearance of trailblazing celebrity guests. Toast With Naledi, which is a reality entertainment channel centred on Naledi Monamodi's real life experiences, has scored her a seat in this year's class.

Akah Bants represents for Nigeria and has been running his socially conscious channel since 2015. Dimma Umeh joins Bants with her YouTube channel which centres on life in Nigeria and has over 25 million views. Oscarmini and Eric Okafor come through for all the tech geeks. Lade Owolabi, Winnie Emmanuel, Tomike Adeoye and Dodos Uvieghara are also part of this year's class.

Kenya's list is short but potent. Singer Patricia Kihoro has been selected for her channel which celebrates African brands, innovators, art, culture and music. Mumo, a photographer and videographer has been selected for his channel which teaches entrepreneurial mindsets. Mitchelle Adagala and Kaluhi Adagala are also on the list.

The 20 #YouTubeBlack Voices of 2021 will receive mentoring and funding as part of YouTube's campaign to spotlight Black voices. The video streaming platform anticipates to fund over 500 Black YouTube content creators from across the world over the coming years. YouTube stated that this is a first step for Black voices on YouTube to feel protected. The YouTube Black Voices Fund was announced last year in October.

The class of 2021 have evidently raised the bar and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, have managed to keep the Black community thoroughly engaged.

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6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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