YouTube is dedicating $100 million to amplifying black voices online, starting with Bear Witness, Take Action, a feature-length special premiering Saturday, June 13, at 6 p.m. ET.
Led by Keke Palmer (Hustlers) and Common (The Hate U Give), the YouTube Original program includes roundtable discussions and panels with journalists, artists, writers, lawyers, activists, athletes, and YouTubers, plus special guests Carmelo Anthony, Asante Blackk, Sterling K. Brown, Skai Jackson, India Moore, Bryan Stevenson, and Wilmer Valderrama, among others. John Legend and Trey Songz will also perform.
“The execution of George Floyd—and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery—has led to unprecedented protests for racial justice in every part of our nation—and globally,” civil and human rights lawyer Malika Saada Saar, Social Impact Human Rights Lead at YouTube, said in a statement. “And it started in part because 17-year-old Darnella Frazier defiantly and courageously recorded the video that has forced us all to confront what we were seeing and name it.
“Video can be a powerful human rights tool for bearing witness to injustice, and Bear Witness, Take Action will be part of that hope and urgent call for change,” Saada Saar continued. Viewers are encouraged to donate to the Equal Justice Initiative directly via Saturday’s livestream.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced the event in a blog post highlighting initiatives to support the black community—starting with a multi-year $100 million fund “dedicated to amplifying and developing” the stories of black creators and artists. Keep an eye on the Spotlight channel this month to learn more about racial justice issues.
The social network is also cracking down on hate speech and harassment. In the last quarter alone, Wojcicki said, YouTube removed more than 100,000 videos and 100 million comments. “That said, we know there’s more work to do,” she added. “I’m committed to listening—to black employees at YouTube, to black creators, to black artists, to leaders in the black community, and to black users who tune in to YouTube every day.”
YouTube isn’t the only company reaching into its pocket to address racial inequality: PayPal this week pledged $530 million to support black- and minority-owned businesses in the US. A majority of the money, according to Reuters, is earmarked for an economic opportunity fund, disbursed through community banks, credit unions, or direct investments. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Nike are also allocating funds (from $10 million to $1 billion) to help underserved communities.