Behind the scenes, Tuma Basa has been at the forefront of genres officially grouped under “Urban Music” for most of the past two decades. Today, as Director of Black Music & Culture on YouTube, he helps artists, songwriters and producers carve out their share in the industry with content created by themselves, amplifying their voices. thanks to the video.
We speak with him just hours after Mary J. Blige and Jazmine Sullivan nearly blew up the roof of Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater. Joined by DJ D-Nice and up-and-coming artists YEИDRY and Yung Baby Tate, the ladies performed to celebrate YouTube’s latest initiatives to prioritize inclusivity.
“I had a meeting with (Lyor Cohen, YouTube Global Head of Music) this morning. And I was telling him last night that this was an example of passion on the part of the people who were in the room,” Basa said. about the concert. “Everyone in the room wanted to be in the room, right? No one was there because they felt they had to.
He noted that while each performer had relatively short sets, they each gave 100% to the crowd. It’s this drive and drive to create the best possible experience that turns Basa on.
“The thing is, sometimes people do things [just] to do it. Last night, people did things to take drugs, ”he added. “And that’s what I feel all night long. Everyone has just done a hundred.
Tuesday’s concert was a real loop moment for Basa, as he lived in the backyard of the Apollo Theater until just before the pandemic started. Entering through the artist’s entrance at the back, he had a vivid memory of entering the Apollo through the main entrance right after Aaliyah’s tragic death while working in the department of music programming from BET. He says he was just as impressed with the magic of the place back then as he was on Tuesday night.
Now, as the leader of black music – not “urban” (“No matter the industry jargon, [Black music] is what it is, ”he pointed out) on the do-it-yourself entertainment platform, Basa, just like the Apollo, gives artists and music makers a chance to advance their careers at the upper level.
“Just like the Apollo, people come to YouTube to show the world what they have, to show off, to explode,” Basa told the audience Tuesday night. “YouTube brings music to all corners of the world. We’ve seen emerging artists upload their first videos from their bedroom, then climb to the top of the charts and tour the world. That’s the power of YouTube.
Thanks to the just announced #YouTubeBlack Voices music class of 2022, Basa plans to keep doing things right, amplifying black voices in front of and behind the microphone via the YouTube platform.
“So what we did last year with the Black Voices Fund, everyone was happy and everyone learned so much, whether it’s through Future Insiders, which is the community program, or the artist grants.” , he said of the program. But this year promises to be even bigger and better.
The new class will not only include artists from around the world, but in a new expansion will include songwriters and producers. To top it off, classes will have the opportunity to come together to co-write and collaborate for the first time. Class members will benefit from support from dedicated YouTube partners, seed funding invested in the development of their channels, and the opportunity to participate in training and networking programs focused on production, employee engagement. fans and welfare.
In addition, the program added a first “mentor member” to the class; none other than the Hip Hop icon and the genre’s most notable storyteller, Slick Rick the Ruler.
“It’s an honor to partner with YouTube through the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund initiative to use my platform and my art to share as an example of what endurance, the power of the imagination and the power of the imagination look like. ‘pure authenticity,’ Slick Rick said of the partnership.
With Inaugural Class 2021 having achieved incredible feats on the YouTube platform far exceeding expectations, expectations are high for the new generation of artists.