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Meet The New #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022

We have an exciting announcement in the YouTube community. The platform is kicking off their second music cohort, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022, which includes 53 artists, songwriters, and producers from around the world who will get a chance to advance their careers, learn valuable advice, network with industry experts, and connect with their peers. Featured in this class is inaugural “mentor member,” legendary rapper and producer Slick Rick, who will play an additional role, sharing his wisdom and experience with fellow grant recipients within educational and networking programs.

In the coming months, YouTube will work closely with the Class of 2022 to provide dedicated  partner support, seed funding to help develop their channels, bespoke training, workshops and networking programs. The program will also help visionaries expand their horizons as they continue to grow as artists and build their audience.

We spoke with YouTube Artist Relations Manager Brittany Lewis and Jacksonville rapper, singer, and songwriter Cico P to discuss the Class of 2022.

ONE37pm: Okay Brittany let’s start with you. First of all we want to congratulate you guys on such a great project. How did this come together?

Lewis: Thank You! Last summer YouTube made a $100 million commitment dedicated to supporting artists and helping them thrive, train, and network. It was also very important to us that we prioritize artists’ mental health and wellbeing because that is critical as well. One thing I want to stress is that last summer we saw organizations making commitments in terms of supporting and hiring Black people, but this is something that we are doing long term. We are in it to win it with a multi-year commitment!

ONE37pm: What was the process like in terms of selecting the participants?

Lewis: It was very important for us to highlight Black voices and artists, and to capture the essence of Black artists from all over the globe. We looked at how an artist was able to create moments regardless of class, and the cool thing is that we have creators with small channels as well to go along with those that are well known like Cico P who had a lot of buzz with his song “Tampa” earlier this year. Our diverse programming for our members include different sessions such as writer camps, production programs, and even courses on growing finances.

ONE37pm: You guys have been working with Slick Rick who is a legend. How has it been having him as a mentor?

Lewis: It’s been amazing! Slick Rick is a legend and he comes from a different generation. He can give these artists veteran insights and wisdom, but at the same time he is learning from them as well. He’s really been phenomenal!

ONE37pm: Okay Cico now it’s your turn. Walk us through that moment where you found out you had been selected.

Cico P: My team brought it to my attention, and from my first interview they were drilling me to really prepare and know everything. They kept mentioning Brittany and how much I needed to be ready. I felt like I was prepping for a chemistry exam! The experience has been great so far! We’ve been chillin and this feels like home. Everybody is on the same page and it was cool to interact with my peers and meet Slick Rick.

ONE37pm: How do you hope to grow as an artist?

Cico P: You know one of my homeboys just had a mixtape release party and he brought the whole community together. I would love to be able to continue to do that and build the community too. I would like to give people a platform. For me, I want to lead by example. I want to show the younger/newer Class of 2022 that you can make moves in different ways. I’m still young, growing and learning myself, and I want to take it day by day and show that there is more than just being “flashy,” and that you can move differently.

ONE37pm: Are you working on any new music?

Cico P: I’m always in the studio! I was in the studio over the weekend and knocked out a bunch of songs. I’m probably going to walk out of here with over 40 so stay tuned!

Be sure to check out YouTube’s official website for the class 2022 to keep up with all of their latest updates. 

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