YouTube Creates $100 Million Fund for Black Creators and Artists, Sets Fundraiser Special Hosted by Common and Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer Common - YouTube Bear Witness, Take Action
MediaPunch/Shutterstock (Palmer); James Warren/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (Common)

YouTube announced a multiyear, $100 million fund dedicated to “amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories,” according to CEO Susan Wojcicki.

“At YouTube, we believe Black lives matter and we all need to do more to dismantle systemic racism,” Wojcicki wrote in a blog post. “We’re committed to doing better as a platform to center and amplify Black voices and perspectives.

As an example of content being funded under the new initiative, Wojcicki announced that this Saturday, June 13, YouTube will host a livestream fundraising event produced by YouTube Originals called “Bear Witness, Take Action.”

Hosted by Common and Keke Palmer, “Bear Witness, Take Action” will be structured with roundtable discussions and panels, live moments, musical tributes — including performances from John Legend and Trey Songz — and more. The event kicks off Saturday, June 13, at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT. The special will aim to inspire and unite key and meaningful voices (YouTube creators, influential public figures, prominent activist voices) to create change, heighten awareness and raise funding for racial justice, according to YouTube.

In addition, throughout the month of June, YouTube’s Spotlight channel will highlight racial justice issues, including the latest perspectives from the Black community on YouTube alongside historical content, educational videos, and protest coverage. “This content showcases incredibly important stories about the centuries-long fight for equity,” Wojcicki said.

“I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I think it’s imperative that we help amplify Black voices and continue the conversation about meaningful change and racial justice,” said Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content. “YouTube has a unique ability to unite creators, artists and powerful voices within the Black community to encourage the world to stand up and speak out for racial justice.”

“Bear Witness, Take Action” viewers will be encouraged to donate to support the Equal Justice Initiative directly on the YouTube livestream.

Moderators include Jemele Hill, Roland S. Martin and Soledad O’Brien. Panelists include Ambers Closet, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Patrisse Cullors, Kimberly N. Foster, Alicia Garza, Roxane Gay, Eddie Glaude, Kimberly Jones, Jouelzy, MN FATS, Prince EA, Rashad Robinson, Bakari Sellers, Michael Skolnik, Chaz Smith and Baratunde Thurston.

Special guests are set to include Tremayne Anchrum, Carmelo Anthony, AyChristeneGames, Danielle Bainbridge, Essang Bassey, Shalom Blac, Asante Blackk, Sterling K. Brown, Hakeem Butler, Duke Dawson, De’arra & Ken, Khadi Don, Rasul Douglas, Teala Dunn, Bryce Hall, Skai Jackson, Jamilla & Que, Jarvis Landry, Alonzo Lerone, Indya Moore, Jeff Okudah, Laviska Shenault Jr., Bryan Stevenson, sWooZie and Wilmer Valderrama.

“Bear Witness, Take Action” is produced by LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment, Fly on the Wall and Byron Phillps. Reginald Hudlin serves as executive producer and showrunner.